Over a decade of dreaming, public and private fundraising, bake sales, two years of heavy lifting and $95 million later, the Bloomingdale Trail or The 606 is a reality.
The concept, to turn a littered unused rail line into an elevated trail, was first proposed at the City’s Logan Square Open Space Plan meeting in 2004. Ground was finally broken in August 2013 with installations including new bridges, hardscaping and landscaping along the 2.7 mile stretch moving full speed ahead in chorus with its targeted opening date of 6/06.
Stretching between Ashland Ave (1600W) and Ridgeway (3750W) at Bloomingdale Avenue (1800N), it is the hope that the 606 will serve as a community connector for the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park communities.
The grand opening for The 606, Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, is cause for celebration. The weekend festivities will kick off at 8:15 a.m. Saturday with simultaneous ribbon cuttings at all access points (see map).
The celebration continues throughout the weekend with party central festivities taking place Saturday on Humboldt Boulevard (between Wabansia and Cortland). The free festival will feature two music stages, beer, food vendors, SummerDance lessons and more from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Other activities on Saturday include: processions, hands-on nature projects, sports, and arts activities along the trail and at Walsh, Churchill, Milwaukee/Leavitt and Julia de Burgos parks.
An illuminated procession at 8:30 p.m. will close out Saturday’s celebration.
On Sunday, June 7, a pancake breakfast will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ridgeway Trailhead/YMCA lawn, 1834 N. Lawndale Ave.
The 606 will connect to six ground-level neighborhood parks, four of which open on June 6th–with two more on the drawing board. The parks will feature a wheel-friendly event plaza, an observatory, art installations, educational programming, and other amenities.
The trail, itself, is 10 feet wide down the center with two-foot-wide shoulders on either side for joggers. There are benches for those who want to relax. The urban trail, showcases the real Chicago from its neighborhoods, residences, and shops with city skyscrapers and the CTA elevated train line as a backdrop.
The 606 offers something for everyone:
For Nature lovers:
Throughout the seasons the trail will offer a changing array of flora. This June, nature lovers will want to look for the following blooms: Fringe tree, Winter king hawthorn, Oak leaf hydrangea, and the Giant dogwood.
A changing series of art works will come and go along the trail. Current highlights include: A Graffiti Garden, created by multiple artists which promotes an alternative to street violence. Their works can be viewed on Bloomingdale, between Kimball and Central Park (south facing walls).
Another interesting art installation features a piece by Luftwerk. Known for their immersive light art installations at landmarks such as the AT&T Plaza in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois, the Luftwerk is responsible for the dynamic projected video inspired by flora and fauna along The 606. The installation, at the Humboldt Boulevard overpass, is coupled with original music by Owen Clayton Condon. Check out Luftwerk’s TransLIT projected video, which will illuminate the viaduct, from 8 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
Families and kids
Ongoing events and activities will be scheduled for families and kids on The 606 trail and in the parks, TBA. Check the website for more information.
Dogs and their people
Dogs on leashes are welcome on The 606 trail and in connecting parks–including the designated dog-friendly areas at Churchill and Walsh parks.
Visitors are sure to work up an appetite along the trail which meanders through an international buffet of nearby restaurants featuring ethnic choices along with some of Chicago’s traditional favorites. Here are a few of SMC’s nearby picks:
- Mindy’s Hot Chocolate,1747 N Damen Avenue
- The Map Room, 1949 N Hoyne Avenue
- Margie’s Candies, a Chicago favorite since 1921, 1960 North Western Avenue
- Belly Shack, 1912 N Western Avenue
- Parson’s Chicken & Fish, 2952 W Armitage Avenue
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