The Park is Now

June 15, 2016

Dear Friends of Big Marsh,

I hope you saw the news in the Tribune that the Chicago Park District authorized $3.5 million for construction of Phase I to commence at Big Marsh.

This means that we will have a park! There is no definitive timeline for construction, but it is likely to be completed in calendar year 2016, with a park opening late this year.

An important question is: how much of the park that we all envision will open? Here's a map of the features included in the approved $3.5 million bid (click to get the PDF with great photos of the technical features of the single track):

  • Big Marsh Phase 1 Map

The bike park features included are:

  • Bike park plaza (rideable features, donor walls)
  • Jump lines
  • Large pump track & stair run-up
  • Sand pits
  • Multi-use crushed stone trail

These features are listed as alternates - if additional funding is identified, they can be included in the Phase 1 buildout:

  • .6 mile single track on the east side
  • North side single track with technical features
  • Small pump track
  • Chunk trail (on backside of the jump line feeder hill)
  • Paved parking lot & drop off area (instead of crushed stone)
  • Big Marsh Ground Breaking

We fought hard to get the bike park plazas included in the base bid—a state grant is locked up in Illinois' budget battle that could pay for them. We anticipate/hope for a resolution but if not, the bike plaza is too important to leave out so Friends has committed to helping raise the $690,000 difference.

So YES, we are getting a park! Also YES, the park we get still has a lot depending on us, Friends of Big Marsh! As you can see on the map, there are a lot of other features left for future construction—like the the 35' dual slalom hill. The time to bring it in for Big Marsh is now!

We're doubling down on our push for Chainring Donors to put their ring on Big Marsh. We want the park to open this fall with all of the Phase 1 single track ready to ride, and ready for cyclocross racing.

The amazing, rideable bike plaza that Hitchcock Design created, using steel shipping containers repurposed as donor walls, is included in the phase 1 bid, providing plenty of room for your custom chainring to display your name at the Chicago region's only eco-recreation park.

Please contact me if you'd like to talk more about your role in supporting the park at Big Marsh. And thank you for reading!

Jay Readey

Interim Executive Director
Friends of Big Marsh
(773) 818-0260