LOGAN SQUARE — Plans to convert a city-owned lot along The 606 at Kimball Avenue into a park are finally coming into focus, but there’s cleanup to be done.
The city aims to apply for a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the lot at 1807-1815 N. Kimball Ave.
The park project has been in the works since 2004 when the Logan Square open space plan was released, according to Benjamin Helphand, president of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail.
Helphand said the project was stalled because environmental cleanup costs were more than expected.
Aaron Koch, spokesman for the Trust for Public Land, the group that oversees The 606, confirmed as much, saying the land is contaminated and requires extra cleanup.
“Funds have not been flowing freely from the state. So it’s great that the city is applying for these funds,” Helphand said.
Neighbors can learn more from city officials and provide feedback at an upcoming public meeting, set for 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at Opera-Matic, 1757 N. Kimball Ave.
The meeting will be hosted by Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and Opera-Matic.
Helphand said the park will serve both as an access point to the trail and a neighborhood park.
When the architects of The 606 set out to build the trail, they also set out to open six trail access parks alongside it. The park at Kimball Avenue is the fifth project of its kind, according to Koch.
Existing trail access parks include Walsh Park at 1722 N. Ashland Ave., Churchill Park at 1825 N. Damen Ave., Park No. 567 at 1801-11 N. Milwaukee Ave. and Julia de Burgos Park at 1805 N. Albany Ave.
After the Kimball Avenue park, which has not yet been named, officials only have one trail access park left to be completed. That one will be located at the western end of the trail at Ridgeway Avenue.
“We’re so excited to have some forward movement on this important access point to the Bloomingdale Trail,” Helphand said.
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