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About Us

Who We Are

Though neighbors had been exploring the Bloomingdale embankment for decades, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail (FBT) was officially formed in 2003. Decades later, our core mission remains the same: to be the community-driven advocacy group for the Bloomingdale Trail.

Our early years were spent in neighbors’ basements, school cafeterias and the occasional bar, coming together for a combination of grassroots organizing and long-term infrastructure planning. Examples of our collective work included gathering input from neighbors and stakeholders, working with community partners Palenque LSNA and Bickerdike, engaging local youth with a coloring contest, creating trail posters, hosting guided tours and community celebrations while working with the city to push along official plans.

To help develop the vision, FBT conducted surveys, hosted open houses and design charrettes and ultimately created a Community Vision Plan in 2008. Years later this Vision would become an official part of the City’s Request For Proposals for the project.

When not busy advocating for the trail, we were exploring the embankment like so many neighbors; to enjoy its wildness and appreciate the view from above all while being reminded of the possibilities.

Momentum slowed during the Great Recession, but FBT kept celebrating successes where we could. In the summer of 2011, the Chicago Park District opened what would later become Julia de Burgos Park, between Albany Ave. and Whipple Ave. FBT along with the Trust for Public Land activated the new open space and galvanized community support for the next phase of development of the Bloomingdale Trail itself.

After years of more planning, more community engagement, more public meetings and a three-day design charrette, the Bloomingdale Trail Park, the centerpiece of The 606, opened to the public in the Summer of 2015. That same year, FBT applied to the Chicago Park District to be the official Park Advisory Council (PAC) for the Bloomingdale Trail.

Today, we are an active Park Advisory Council. Our key projects include facilitating art on the Bloomingdale Trail; providing on-going advocacy for everything from public programs, ongoing maintenance to the trail’s future expansion; holding space for resident engagement through public meetings and community science work; maintaining public information and communication about the Bloomingdale Trail and hosting our annual fundraiser to support all of these projects.

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