Editorial: Save Space for Parks in Chicago's Next Big Mega-Development

The 760-acre North Branch Industrial Corridor could be a game changer for the North Side, but the Chicago Tribune wants to make sure that quality of life is considered along visions of economic development.
September 18, 2018, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune puzzles over the proposed 760-acre North Branch Industrial Corridor, "which City Hall and developers envision as home to canyons of high-rises" and the catalyst for "$4.2 billion in economic output each year, along with 23,000 jobs and up to 5,000 new residences."

The concern is what kind of impact the 50,000 people who would live and work in the North Branch Industrial Corridor would have on quality of life in this corner of the North Side.

The Editorial Board's purpose is to tout one idea for ensuring the development is a benefit to quality of life:

But a makeover of that scale cannot be all girders and plate glass. It has to include added traffic and transit capacity, and enough green space to make the revamp livable. On the former, traffic studies are in the works. On the latter, we’ve argued for an excellent option — a new park larger than most cities have the room to build.

The Editorial Board is referring specifically to an idea proposed in March, when "Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, and Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, urged the city to consider turning a 24-acre plot of largely dormant industrial land into a sprawling riverfront park — the North Branch Park and Nature Preserve."

Despite growing political support, the Editorial Board warns that the parcel could just as easily be bought and turned into another "become yet another cluster of high-rises."

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Published on Monday, September 17, 2018 in The Chicago Tribune
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