A Preview of the Long Awaited 606 Trail, Opening This Weekend

The Bloomingdale Trail, or 606, has spent over ten years in the making, and the long awaited rails-to-trails project that stretches from Humboldt Park to Bucktown will finally open to the public this weekend. On both Saturday (6/06) and Sunday, organizers and volunteers will come together to offer a weekend full of events along the 2.7 mile stretch, including ribbon cutting ceremonies at each of the trail’s access points, art activities and even a pancake breakfast (Sunday only). Thanks largely in part to a $50 million federal grant, the nearly $100 million adaptive reuse project will no doubt become one of Chicago’s greatest park spaces—one that Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes will connect the neighborhoods it runs through. The ambitious undertaking witnessed many partnerships from community organizers, transportation advocates, city agencies and nonprofit groups. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a firm that has worked on other high profile park projects, was tapped to lead the landscape design effort.

Yesterday, the 606 team hosted a media preview of the not-quite-completed trail, and held a press conference with Mayor Emanuel and Beth White of the Trust for Public Land. Similar to the recently unveiled stretches of the Chicago Riverwalk extension, construction crews are working down to the wire, installing handrails, fencing and completing the landscaping work ahead of Saturday’s big debut. And while the park and recreation trail may not be in full bloom just yet, it is exciting to see the nearly completed project. Here’s a look at just a short stretch of Chicago’s newest public park space.