September 6, 2014
Mayor’s Press Office
MAYOR EMANUEL BREAKS GROUND ON WEST RIDGE NATURE PRESERVE
Preserve Totals 20.6-Acres of Natural Landscape in the West Ridge Community;
Also Cuts Ribbon on Ken-Well Park in Hermosa
Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke ground today on the development of the West Ridge Nature Preserve, a 20.6-acre wooded site that will become a new park and nature trail along the northwest edge of Rosehill Cemetery.
“Having been inaccessible for decades, this site, which forms a unique, natural landscape, will finally be opened for public appreciation,” Mayor Emanuel said. “For decades, the pond and surrounding woodland remained untouched. Soon the barricades soon will be torn and it will be a place for families to enjoy nature, a place for children to learn about nature, and a place for the fabric of this community to grow stronger every day.”
The wooded site in the 5900 block of North Western Avenue was never developed for cemetery purposes. Characterized by rolling topography, mixed woodlands with deciduous trees, its central feature is a 4.5-acre pond, which served as a stormwater retention facility for the cemetery.
“West Ridge Nature Reserve is a great example of creative ways to increase park space and recreational opportunities in the city of Chicago,” said Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent. “Repurposing this area gives residents the chance to experience the beauty of nature in their own community.”
The land was acquired by the City from Rosehill in 2011 for $7.8 million and transferred to the Chicago Park District in 2012. The Chicago Department of Transportation is managing the $5 million restoration project, which is expected to be completed next summer.
The West Ridge Nature Preserve will feature the following amenities:
Restoration of the degraded woodland
Planting of native trees and plants
Removal of invasive species
Multipurpose trail around the park
Elevated overlooks and boardwalks
Restoration of the existing pond
Educational and interpretive signage
Perimeter fence around the property with new entrances
Fishing stations and wildlife-viewing opportunities
Utility improvements, including water, sewers and electricity
Earlier today, Mayor Emanuel also participated in a ribbon cutting of a new playground at Ken-Well Park in the Hermosa neighborhood. This playground is one of 103 playgrounds that will be rebuilt or refurbished this year as part of Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Plays! program, designed to ensure that every child in Chicago is a 10 minute walk away from a park or playground.
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