The area that once was a runway for Meigs Field is in the final stages of becoming a park.
Tucked behind the old McCormick Place at the far south end of Northerly Island, the project is described by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office as an "urban oasis in the heart of Chicago."
Emanuel received a tour of the construction Tuesday, which includes topography changes, natural plantings and a large pond. Large, rolling hills and camping areas are also part of the planned renovation.
“Previously the site of a variety of attractions, including Chicago’s second World’s Fair, a small airport and even a parking lot," Emanuel said, "this restoration project will finally realize Daniel Burnham’s vision for Northerly Island as a sprawling green space and world-class urban oasis for all of Chicago’s residents to enjoy.”
Emanuel said the current phase of construction is scheduled to be completed this fall, with more "in-depth plantings" expected to be finished next spring.
More than 20,000 trees and shrubs will be added, along with about 100,000 plantings.
"Chicago's lakefront is one of our city's great treasures,” Congressman Danny K. Davis said. “Chicago has rightfully taken great pride in preserving the lakefront as public commons, available to all without charge, and preserved for future generations."
The space will be used for children across the city to camp and learn about nature through programs with the Chicago Park District and city museums.