After nearly 10 years of waiting, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin revamping Chicago's Northerly Island, re-tooling 40 acres to bring back native wildlife and implement long-planned recreational designs.
The Chicago Park District on Thursday announced a $2.8 million federal grant and $1.5 million in revenues from concerts at Charter One Pavilion to expand Northerly Island's camping, kayaking, and fishing outlets.
The family camping program will allow camping six times a year at 100 spaces, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Another 300 camping spaces will be reserved for kids in the Wilderness Camping Program.
The plans should sound familiar.
Seven years after then-Mayor Richard Daley used backhoes to carve giant Xs into the single north/south runway of what was once Meigs Field, the Park District unveiled a "framework plan" that included a chain of reef islands, lagoon haven for fish and wildlife, spots for recreational activities, and cafés and shops along a harbor walk.
"We are trying to preserve some of the wild spaces," architect Jeanne Gang said in 2010 when the plan was unveiled. "We want to make it really attractive for people coming to see wildlife."
The plan was supposed to serve as a blueprint for improvements over 20 years. The next phase of work, announced Thursday, is expected to start in November and be completed in the spring of 2014.