Three more reasons why Chicago is the greenest city! The following eagerly anticipated, eco-inspired projects are coming to fruition in the next few months. Soon enough you will enjoy firsthand.

 

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The 606

Similar to NYC’s High Line, Chicago is about to unveil it’s lush new park and trail system that has been in the making for over a decade. The 606, an innovative park system on the northwest side has been referred to as a charm bracelet – with the 2.7 mile Bloomingdale Trail along an elevated, unused rail line connected to six ground-level neighborhood parks, a wheel-friendly event plaza, an observatory, art installations, educational programming, and other amenities. Bikers, runners and walkers will enjoy this multi-use recreational trail and park system that serves as an alternative transportation corridor for the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods. 20 new acres of spectacular green space have been added in one of the city’s most park-poor neighborhoods for all Chicagoans and visitors to enjoy. This transformational project broke ground in August 2013 thanks to public-private funding spearheaded by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, The Trust for Public Land and the Chicago Park District. Aptly, the 606 opens on 6-06-15 with a weekend of festivities. Join me for a sneak peak the night before at the Above the Rails Inaugural Gala, which promises to be magical evening.

 

 

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Local Foods

Great news for Chicago’s top chefs and everyday consumers searching for the best Midwest grown food. Local Foods will soon open its new massive state-of-the-art retail and wholesale distribution facility in Bucktown at 1427 W. Willow. Founded in 2013 with a passion to make good food more accessible, Chicago’s premier food local hub is the first to strictly supply products from the finest Midwest farmers to consumers, grocers, institutions, and more than 150 of the city’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurants. The 27,000 square foot facility will include a bustling distribution center and 3,000 square foot public market and butcher shop, operated by the renowned The Butcher & Larder. An abundance of local farm fare will be available year round, including meat, dairy, eggs, produce (greenhouse and cold storage crops duirng the winter), and preserved and dry goods. Following their “know your source” motto, everything is carefully selected from producers who implement sustainable and environmental farming practices. Consumers will find more than top chef ingredients. Earlier this year during a tour, founder Andrew Lutsey highlighted the cafe and event space, and stressed that guest chefs, classes and demonstrations will further connect people to good food. Like-minded partners will also occupy the facility, such as Hand-Cut Foods, a premium food service provider. The Grand Opening is anticipated this July.

 

 

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Method Factory

While most people are fond of Method for their natural, non-toxic cleaners, Chicagoans will have an even deeper appreciation thanks to their new ultra-green $30 million factory in Pullman. Not only does it represent the company’s eco-ethic, it models mindful manufacturing for the 21 century. The “South Side Soapbox” sits on a rehabilitated brownfield and features a 230-foot wind turbine, solar tracking trees and energy efficiency innovations to cut the factory’s energy use by more than 50%. A 75,000-square-foot, pesticide-free rooftop garden operated by Gotham Greens will provide an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh produce each year for the local community, and the surrounding retail and restaurant market. In addition, recycled and locally sourced building materials, zero-landfill factory protocols, water conservation and other measures aim to make this the first LEED Platinum manufacturing facility in its industry. Method strategically chose the historic Pullman community famously founded on principles to improve the quality of life for working families in the late 19th century, and recently designated as a National Monument by President Obama. The factory will create good manufacturing job to positively benefit the community. Learn more in William McDonough & Partners’ project review. I’m looking forward to attending the grand opening on April 28. Soon public tours will be available.