A couple of years ago, when a friend convinced me to hike along the Bloomingdale Trail, it wasn’t much to look at. Aficionados of weeds and urban decay might have found beauty in it, but it was hard to look past the schmutz and detritus along the 2.7-mile elevated track.
Fast-forward to the present and this former ugly duckling is about to take flight as a swan. The 606 will be open and ready to take its place among the great city parks in the U.S., beginning Saturday, June 6.
Planners look at The 606 as a new way to explore Chicago, with a unique trail for biking, hiking and running. The former Canadian Pacific Railway line has been renovated as a trail that meanders through the city, from the east trailhead at Ashland Avenue to the west trailhead at Ridgeway. There are various access points along the trail.
The 606 is the brainchild of The Trust for Public Land. It’s definitely a great example of adaptive re-use and development of a park in an unusual setting. Some observers liken it to The High Line in New York City. Both had their origins as elevated railroad tracks.
After final construction, The 606 will connect six ground level neighborhood parks along its route. Meanwhile, on Saturday, June 6, the official opening will commence with a ribbon cutting and other festivities.
The 606 organizers are accepting volunteers to help out on opening day, as greeters, rovers, check-in volunteers, and at information booths and activity stations. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact The 606 team at their Volunteer Site.