Matthew Kaplan Photography

100th Street Calumet River Project Activation Event - October 22nd, 2022

It's difficult to gain access to the banks along the industrial main branch of the Calumet River, which I consider one of the area's most scenic waterways. The Great Cities Institute at University of Illinois Chicago is seeking to address this situation by creating a public space on the west side of the river, just north of 100th Street, in an area of gas and electrical utility facilities traversed by the Chicago Skyway Bridge. Late Saturday afternoon, a normally inaccessible grassy field just east of the dormant Southeast Chicago peaker plant, was activated and enjoyed for a few hours by environmental and community activists, urban planners and explorers, and some ultimate frisbee advocates.

This lonely green space is a portion of an underused area on the Calumet River that the Great Cities Institute has identified as suitable for public use. Search for "100th Street Calumet River Project" to view their current proposal for reconnecting the visually stunning site to the local neighborhood and the city as a whole.

As someone who spends a lot of time looking for ways to access the Calumet River, and who enjoys both watching and photographing the activity of tow boats, barges and great lakes freighters working the waterway, I think this project would be a valuable addition to the Southeast Side and to the greater Calumet Region. I applaud UIC Great Cities, and community development planner Jack Rocha specifically, for conceiving the idea, studying the site, and putting energy and expertise into moving the project forward.

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