Chicago Lakefront Plan Laid Out

June 9, 2009

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An advocacy group hopes to stitch together park space and bicycle paths to make Chicago's lakefront entirely accessible to the public. It'd cost hundreds of millions of dollars. For WBEZ, Shawn Allee reports even if the group finds the money, its work could be cut out for it.

The Friends of the Parks plan would seem a shoe-in. Chicago controls about 80 percent of its 30-mile lakefront, but transforming the last four miles into park or bike paths could become a political headache.

Some private property owners in the South Shore neighborhood want to keep exclusive access to the lake - and they overwhelmingly voted for a non-binding referendum that states so.

Friends of the Parks expects most South Side residents would support lakefront park expansion. Still, the idea could face hurdles on the far North Side, too.

The Chicago Park District would have to buy some private beach rights there, or it'd have to get them in court. The Chicago Park District says it welcomes more park space, but it has not endorsed the Friends of the Parks plan.