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Empty Bucktown Lot Set To Become Access Point For Bloomingdale Trail

Bloomingdale Trail

(Credit: BloomingdaleTrail.org)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday took a step forward in the plan to convert an old and defunct elevated rail line into a linear park.

The mayor introduced an ordinance that would hand over a piece of city-owned vacant land at 1799-1805 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Bucktown neighborhood to the Chicago Park District.

The Park District would develop the land as a public access point to the Bloomingdale Trail, a planned linear park on the old Bloomingdale Line railroad. The park would run for three miles along the old railroad concrete structure, from Ashland Avenue to Ridgeway Avenue near the Milwaukee District West tracks.

One small park has already been created in the Bucktown and Logan Square neighborhoods to serve the Bloomingdale Trail, including Albany-Whipple Park at 1803 N. Albany Ave. Access to the trail is also planned at Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave., and at another proposed park at 1813 N. Kimball Ave.

No freight trains have run on the Bloomingdale Line since 2001, although as long ago as the early 1990s, trail organizers said the line only ran one train a week. Plans to turn the land into a park began shortly after the last train ran.

A similar linear park, the High Line, opened with much fanfare in New York City in 2009.

Preliminary design work on the Bloomingdale Trail began in June.