South Branch PAC Releases Plan for River, including Bubbly Creek Fixes

Published March 1, 2019
A graphic from the South Branch Framework Plan shows the "dis-connectivity" between the McKinley Park and Bridgeport sides of Bubbly Creek.

The foetid waters of Bubbly Creek on the eastern edge of the McKinley Park neighborhood may soon begin to receive more attention and improvements, thanks to the Framework Plan for the South Branch Parks published by the South Branch Park Advisory Council. In the plan, which spans multiple parks around the headwater where Bubbly Creek meets the Chicago River, the South Branch PAC recommended a new pedestrian bridge connecting the McKinley Park and Bridgeport neighborhoods.

A pedestrian bridge was the single most mentioned idea in the plan's public workshop, addressing an issue "identified as a primary problem," the framework document stated. The current route across Bubbly Creek involves a 20-minute hike on uneven, narrow sidewalks and under dark bridges; a pedestrian bridge would also improve the area's access to the Ashland stop on the Orange Line El, the plan said.

The Framework Plan's area extended south on Bubbly Creek until ending a short distance south of the Archer Avenue bridge. The plan's extended area overlapped into the northeast corner of the McKinley Park neighborhood, with most of the focus on nearby Park 571, Canal Origins Park and Canalport Riverwalk Park. The project was funded via a grant from Searle Funds and The Chicago Community Trust.

"As residents of Bridgeport, Pilsen, McKinley Park and Brighton Park on the Southwest Side of Chicago, we know first-hand what exciting opportunities await us along the Chicago River," the South Branch PAC said. They are committed to transforming the South Branch into an inviting space, they said, "just as we have seen Chicago’s downtown riverwalk become a recreational and economic development success."

The South Branch PAC has released both a PDF version of the Framework Plan and published an interactive online presentation.

The next meeting of the South Branch PAC is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at the Park 571 boat house, 2754 S. Eleanor St., Chicago.


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