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Pass/Fail: Latest Ideas for Chicago River A Mixed Bag

When it comes to the Chicago River, parks yes, "ChiDisney" no.

A new 24-acre park on the east bank of the North Branch near the Lincoln Yards project is a bold plan that provides "everything urban open space should,” said Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. The Chicago Sun-Times agreed, calling the idea "a golden opportunity."

The other proposal is an aerial tram that would link the Riverwalk to Navy Pier. We predict pylons obstructing river views and crowding pedestrian traffic along the Riverwalk. A number of our Facebook friends agree.

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Friends Speaks Out Against Sky Ride

Today's coverage by the Chicago Tribune highlighted Friends' position again the proposed Skyline, a gondola ride that would pass over the Chicago River from Navy Pier and then the Chicago Riverwalk

"We appreciate the promoters desire to make Chicago an even better place to visit,"  said Margaret Frisbie, Friends' executive director. "But as a city and a region we spent too many years looking down on the Chicago River literally and figuratively and we don’t want that to happen again.”

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Friends, Coalition Partners Release Plan for North Branch Park & Preserve

This week Friends of the Chicago River and a diverse group of civic leaders and stakeholder groups released their vision for a concept park along the North Branch of the Chicago River within the footprint of the North Branch Framework Plan, the first rezoning leveraged by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Industrial Corridor Modernization Initiative.

Designed to complement the new plan and Sterling Bay’s massive Lincoln Yards development, the North Branch Park and Nature Preserve envisions a signature park located within the former Planned Manufacturing District footprint to illustrate how adjacent environmentally-challenged and underutilized parcels can be assembled and transitioned into an amenity that elevates value for Lincoln Yards, serves Chicago residents, and enhances the ecology of the Chicago River.

 

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Get Plastic and Other Trash Out

Last Wednesday Friends of the Chicago River held the Chicago River Summit, a semiannual event that brings together policy makers, advocates and interested citizens to discuss river-related issues that need to be resolved. Titled “Ending the Waste Stream: Pathways to a Garbage Free Chicago River,” this year’s theme was aquatic garbage pollution. Read this op-ed from the Chicago Sun-Times by Friends' Board President, Sally Fletcher. 

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Friends Calls for an End to Garbage in the River

CHICAGO— On Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Friends of the Chicago River hosted its annual Chicago River Summit at MillerCoors’ Chicago headquarters to discuss garbage in the river and how to get rid of it. Ending the Waste Stream: Pathways to a Garbage-Free Chicago River, brought together advocates and innovators from across the continent who are working on garbage issues and solutions in a discussion about how we can stamp out sources of garbage pollution and do a better job removing the garbage once it’s there.

Friends' new release has more details on the event.

 

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Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Announces 960K in Grants

Friends is thrilled to receive funding from the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund as one of five community-driven projects to help create a healthier river, habitat, and communities.  Green space, wildlife habitat and stormwater management are essential to the vitality of our river systems—and to the health and safety of the communities around them.

Friends of the Chicago River  will reconnect Mill Creek to the Cal-Sag Channel by removing two shelf structures which block fish passage from the Cal-Sag Channel, opening up 2.5 miles of high-quality stream habitat to benefit more than 17 species of fish.

Here's a snapshop of the collective impact of this funding:

 

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Not Looking Away Anymore

More and more people aren't looking away anymore when the Chicago River is a strange two-toned contrast of teal and brown. There's a shift in our mindset and they want to know "What's happening?" Read this editorial by the Chicago Sun-Times.

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River Discoloration

Friends of the Chicago River has been working to understand what happened over the weekend that resulted in the dramatic color difference between the North Branch and the Main Stem of the Chicago River between Lake Michigan and Wolf Point.  It appears that the heavy rain increased turbidity and the amount of stormwater pollution that ended up in the river.

See the 4:30 p.m. Monday update 

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