South Branch Corridor Project
The South Branch of the Chicago River’s industrial past left a blueprint for the river’s future. In 2012, the City of Chicago decommissioned two coal-fired power plants—Fisk and Crawford—in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, adjacent to the South Branch, Bubbly Creek, and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. This closure was brought about through grass-roots activism from local environmental groups that saw the opportunity to create a river corridor that emphasizes environmental protection and healthy neighborhoods long before the plants were closed.
After polling neighborhood residents to better understand their connections to the river, Friends teamed up with the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), and the Chicago Legal Clinic to write the Little Village/Pilsen River Corridor Project. Our goal is to not only improve the environmental quality of the corridor, but to elevate it to a cherished public amenity by linking the existing parks, boat launches, open space, and potential public sites to each other and the community.