This past Saturday was a landmark day in the history of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and the Trail project, not just because the torch (or is it the spike?) of President of the Board was passed from Josh Deth to Ben Helphand; and not only because we welcomed three new members to the Board (expanding from 9 to 12); and not only because Rails-to-Trails Conservancy presented FBT with our biggest grant to date, a check for $20,000; and not only because Trust for Public Land was on hand to report the terrific news that they are going to convey the land of the future park and trail access at Whipple & Albany to the City of Chicago soon. It was a big day for all of those reasons, but also because we kicked off a process that will culminate in a community vision for the Trail that will flow into the City of Chicago’s official design process.
Over 70 community residents and activists, along with design and architecture experts and Alderman Manny Flores of Chicago’s 1st Ward were on hand to brainstorm, discuss and collaborate on their ideas for the Trail. They marked points and drew routes on maps of the area, came up with lists of interesting uses and features, and with the help of the experts, began to flesh out what the Trail might look through sketches.
This process will continue over the next 6 months or so, in smaller settings throughout the neighborhoods. A report will be drafted over this time and revised with the ideas incorporated from each session. Ultimately, the final report will be presented to the City of Chicago. If you or your organization would like to get involved, contact Ben Helphand, email or phone (773-677-7970).
Check out our photos of the event over at Flickr. Thanks to everyone who came out and gave a part of their Saturday to help bring the reality of the Trail a little bit closer.