Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 27th, 2016

Upcoming Great Rivers Chicago meetings


Great Rivers Chicago, an initiative to create a long-term vision for Chicago’s three rivers—Calumet, Chicago and Des Plaines—is gearing up for a release of the vision in early summer 2016.

Learn about the draft vision and provide feedback at these upcoming meetings:


All meetings will be held 6:00 – 7:30, with the main presentation at 6:15 and time for feedback to follow.

Note: Registration is free and, because of space constraints, is advised.

For more information and to register, visit the Great Rivers Chicago event page: http://greatriverschicago.com/Calendar/index.html

April 20th, 2016

Drone flight over Chicago brownfield sites

Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois

Chicago has many abandoned structures from its industrial past waiting for redevelopment.  These brownfield sites often sit vacant for many years before a developer finds an appropriate use for the site.  The EPA defines a brownfield as “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

Photo credit: Chicagoist

A drone video posted on YouTube explores two of Chicago’s better known brownfield sites: grain silos along the Chicago River (known as the ‘Damen silos’) and the Central Manufacturing District.

The State of Illinois has been marketing and attempting to sell the Damen silos for many years without success.  These grain silos were used in various forms from the mid-1800s through 1977 when an explosion caused significant damage and rendered the remaining silos inoperable. Most recently, the property is known as a setting for films such as Transformers: Age of Extinction.  In 2007, the State attempted to sell the property for $17 million.  By 2014, the price had been reduced to $3.8 million.  It still sits unsold and abandoned today.

In 2014, Landmarks Illinois named the Central Manufacturing District (CMD) as one of its top 10 endangered historic places. The district was founded in 1905 and was the first planned manufacturing district of its kind in the U.S.  By 1915, more than 200 firms had moved into the CMD.  As manufacturing has declined in Chicago, many of these buildings from a once-bustling industrial park are now abandoned.  A 2012 fire destroyed the Pullman Couch Factory, and the Wrigley gum factory was torn down in 2014.

Source: Chicagoist