The Chicago Community Trust recently announced eight Our Great Rivers funding recipients. Four of the grantees are implementing recommendations based on plans created through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP) technical assistance program.
Illinois International Port District master plan implementation
Delta Institute received funding to partner with CMAP and the Illinois International Port District to advance goals and recommendations from the port district master plan completed in 2022.
The Our Great Rivers grant will go toward a feasibility study on treatment wetlands and other stormwater projects to improve water quality in Lake Calumet. It also funds two years of the port residents’ advisory council: the Community Action Team. Both activities were identified in the master plan, and CMAP has been leading efforts to create the action team.
Artwork celebrates Albany Park’s diversity, something community members regularly identify as an asset that should be preserved.
Lawrence Avenue mixed-used development
Through our technical assistance program, we worked with the North River Commission to develop a neighborhood plan. The plan identifies the stretch of Lawrence Avenue near the North Branch of the Chicago River as a potential gateway location to welcome people to Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood.
Three years ago, the North River Commission received an Our Great Rivers grant for a project that supports this recommendation — called Confluence — to transform an underutilized area into a neighborhood gateway.
This spring, the commission received another Our Great Rivers grant to continue the Confluence project by creating a mixed-use development on Lawrence Avenue that includes affordable housing.
Chicago River South Branch planning in McKinley Park
The McKinley Park Development Council's grant will go toward creating a framework plan for properties along the South Branch of the Chicago River.
Our neighborhood planning project with McKinley Park found that its location along the South Branch of the river could be better used. The plan recommends activating the South Branch by, among other strategies, implementing recommendations from the Our Great Rivers vision and enhancing connections between the river and the neighborhood.
A person fishes from a pier in Hegewisch.
Hegewisch community-identified projects
CMAP currently is working with the Hegewisch Business Association to create a plan for the Chicago neighborhood. So far in the planning process, we've heard that many residents think Hegewisch's parks and recreational areas are its most underutilized asset. However, they also feel that missing and limited sidewalks make accessing those recreational spaces difficult.
The Southeast Environmental Task Force's Our Great Rivers grant will help with some of those challenges. Their project focuses on implementing a community-identified vision at two sites: They will create a public access site on the west bank of the Calumet River, and also make a gateway site at Schroud/Hyde Lake to connect the community to the river and Wolf Lake.
We look forward to seeing all the Our Great Rivers projects come to fruition.