With construction of The 606 (@The606Chicago) underway, Logan Square residents can’t help but notice the effect on traffic as well as street and sidewalk access. Other than inconveniencing folks at ground level, what is going on with The 606?
LoganSquarist attended two meetings recently to learn more about the ongoing development of The 606.
Goose Island Partnership
On April 30, Weegee’s Lounge (3659 W. Armitage Ave.) hosted the launch party for the partnership between Goose Island Brewery (@GooseIsland) and the Trust for Public Land (@tpl_org). The 606 is the Trust for Public Land’s flagship project in Chicago.
Ken Modzelewski, Campaign Director of The 606 for the Trust for Public Land, says the partnership was a natural one. Goose Island’s Green Line is sold only on tap and only in Chicago to lower the impact on the earth of bottling and shipping. Sustainability is the major aim of The 606, which will repurpose an unused elevated rail line and sustain the land with as little waste as possible.
According to Goose Island’s Management Systems Specialist Ian Hughes, the partnership “just makes sense.” Proceeds from Green Line have always gone to environmental causes, but this is the first time the cause is within the City of Chicago.
Brett Porter, Goose Island’s Brewmaster, agrees that the partnership with The 606 is a positive one for the city.
“We need green spaces. We need urban oases in Chicago. I’m so glad the company changed the focus of where this money’s going,” Porter says. “I can’t wait to get my bike and my kids and my wife on that trail when it’s done.”
On April 30, Goose Island turned over $15,000 to the Trust for Public Land. One dollar from each barrel of Goose Island’s Green Line Pale Ale benefits The 606.
Trail Mix Series Talks Plants
One of the partners on the $90 million project is Exelon, the Presenting Sponsor of The 606 Trail Mix Series. These monthly educational programs offer hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes discussions of the development of the trail. LoganSquarist attended the first Trail Mix series on May 13, “A Plant Palette for The 606.”
Landscape architect Matthew Urbanski of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates discussed some history of the Bloomingdale Trail but focused on the plants that will soon adorn the trail and access parks.
The fact that the trail’s concrete retaining walls were originally filled in with soil makes rich plantings for The 606 possible. The strength of those walls, which were poured in 1910, means The 606 can be developed in a sustainable fashion by utilizing much of the existing structure.
“Ultimately it’s what it feels like when you’re on the trail. That’s our main interest,” says Urbanski, who consulted with conceptual artist Frances Whitehead on The 606. There will be areas for public art, but the true art will be the plants.
A flowering plant that is sensitive to temperature change will be planted along the length from Ridgeway Trailhead (3750 W. Ridgeway Ave.) to Walsh Park (1722 N. Ashland Ave.). People walking along the trail will be able to see the changes in flowering patterns from west to east as the trail gets closer to Lake Michigan and cooler temperatures.
An Unnatural Experience
Visitors to The 606 will see common plants, including many grasses, the evergreen sentinels, and the sensitive flowering plant, but Urbanski says that the trail will not be “natural.”
“This is not ecological restoration, because first of all, what’s the ecology of an elevated rail line, right?” Urbanski says. “Second of all, it’s an artistic creation. Not art, an artistic creation. It’s an act of creation. So the idea is it’s not as ‘gardeny’ as the High Line, which is literally a garden in the air, but it has a beautiful horticultural specificity to it that is hopefully beautiful and varies along the length of it.”
According to sources, The 606 construction is on schedule to open this fall. However, the planting will be nowhere near complete at that time. Cover crops will be planted to endure the 2014-2015 winter and most of the major planting will be done spring of 2015.
In the mean time, upcoming events in The 606 Trail Mix series include bicycle-focused family fun day and potluck on June 7 at McCormick Tribune YMCA and a lecture on the history of The 606 on July 8.