Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the project has moved into high gear. Key City of Chicago agencies (Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Department of Housing and Economic Development, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and the Chicago Police Department) have worked seamlessly with the Chicago Park District, The Trust for Public Land, and dozens of other groups to turn the vision for The 606 into a reality. It is the signature project of Mayor Emanuel’s push to create 800 new parks, recreation areas, and green spaces throughout Chicago.
When complete, The 606 will be managed as part of the Chicago Park District, adding another 20 acres of open green space to Chicago’s legacy of great parks. During the decade-long planning process, the Chicago Park District has worked alongside the City and The Trust for Public Land in the design, creation, and upgrades of the six ground-level parks that connect to The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail.
The Trust for Public Land is the nation’s leading organization focused on creating parks and preserving land, especially in cities. The non-profit serves as The 606’s lead private partner, managing community engagement and outreach, fundraising, long-term park planning, communications and other crucial aspects of the project. The Trust for Public Land also leads the coordination between the partners, ensuring that the trail and linked parks stayed on track during the construction phase.
Neighborhood partners came together behind the idea to transform the unused Bloomingdale Line into open space for Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Bucktown. Neighbors established the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and worked to keep the project moving forward during the economic downturn. They also approached The Trust for Public Land about building a park along the western end trail. On the site, The Trust for Public Land and Chicago Park District created Julia de Burgos Park, the first of five new ground-level parks that are part of The 606. Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail continued this advocacy to help ensure The 606 didn’t remain simply a dream.