Southeast Chicago and the Calumet Region

Illinois and Indiana
  • Over 150 community interviews
  • Allies with dozens of public and private agencies
  • Pragmatic solutions to intractable problems

For several years the Lakota Group has been deeply involved in planning in the Calumet region, a 900-acre area at the foot of Lake Michigan stretching from the Southeast side of Chicago to the Indiana Dunes. This region boasts important environmental areas, proud and diverse neighborhoods, and a powerful industrial heritage. In its Ford Calumet Environmental Center Feasibility Study, Lakota took a fresh look at a stalled project and, after listening to community residents, advocacy groups, non-profits, and governmental agencies, recommended a new gateway design that will serve residents and visitors alike. The Lakota Group studied and recommended improvements to William W. Powers State Recreation Area that will enhance active recreation at this key site on Wolf Lake along the Illinois -Indiana border. In the Millennium Reserve Wayfinding project Lakota analyzed hundreds of sites, attractions, and access routes in the 900 square miles of the Calumet region, worked with residents and representatives to craft an overall story of the region, and created a hub-and-spoke approach to draw in visitors and move them throughout the region.

I’ve had the opportunity to be part of several open space, wayfinding, and recreational area planning projects lead by the Lako ta Group for the Calumet region in recent years. In each instance, Lakota has taken a strategic and inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement – something of particular importance to my agency. I also found the Lakota team to be thoughtful and responsive tonumerous requests for rethinking/recalibrating project strategies and deliverables mid-course. As someone who has worked with dozens of consultants over the years, I especially appreciate Lakota’s flexibility and adaptability.Suellen Burns, Senior Advisor - Millennium Reserve, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Finally, Lakota is currently creating a strategic transportation and development plan to transform brownfield open spaces in Southeast Chicago into world-class public parks and recreation areas.