Ford Calumet Environmental Center Feasibility Study

Chicago, Illinois

In September 2013 the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee identified the Ford Calumet Environmental Center as one of fourteen priority initiatives for the Millennium Reserve. Priority projects were selected from more than 95 submissions as regionally-significant opportunities that would help to realize the full promise and potential of the region. The Chicago Park District (CPD) was asked to lead and manage the Feasibility Study process along with an 18-member Working Group representing 12 organizations. In summer 2014, CPD engaged the Lakota Group, Primera Engineers, and Baily Edward Architects to complete the study.

I worked closely with the Lakota Group for several years on planning studies in the Calumet Region. I was continuously and pleasantly surprised how through and comprehensive their work was. The staff was flexible, responsive and very knowledgeable.Zhanna Yermakov, Former Manager of Natural Resource Conservation, Chicago Park District

Over a period of 4 months, the project team spoke with over 100 different stakeholders, representing a broad range of Calumet-region interests. The process revealed that if money from Ford remains available, it will be feasible to build a new center on the southeast-side in the near term. Relying on these resources will require adhering to funder expectations, including the expectations of the grantor, Ford, and the expectations of the fund manager, Chicago’s Environmental Fund.