The City of Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago Park District and the Army Corps, has completed the long-awaited overhaul of Fullerton Ave Beach.
The renovations include the creation of 5.8 acres of new park space and a split lakefront trail that consists of separate paths for biking, running, and walking.
Despite its popularity among both residents and visitors, the revamped area had previously consisted of a failed beach cell. The lakefront trail has run through this area for quite some time, but the new changes have effectively relocated and split the path into three different sections. The City of Chicago believes these modifications will ease path traffic and improve safety. This portion of the project is relatively complete though additional landscaping is in the books for this spring.
“Chicago’s shoreline and its lakefront paths are some of the most unique and enjoyable assets the city offers to residents and visitors. Today’s opening is the latest example of the federal and local government working together to build the infrastructure needed to keep the lakefront trail protected and accessible,” said Senator Richard Durbin. “More pedestrians, runners, and cyclists will now be able to use the lakefront in a safer way than ever before. I commend the Army Corps, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District for their hard work and look forward to continuing this important collaboration.”
To defend against erosion, the shoreline restoration project included the replacement of an old failed revetment with a steel and concrete version. These changes were put in place as part of the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project. The Theater on the Lake facility will now be even more convenient and attractive to residents who want to engage in the venue and nearby lakefront.
“The recreational heart of our lakefront is the Lakefront Trail – an 18-mile pathway connecting lakefront communities from Edgewater to South Shore. Creating new green space and allowing for safer and easier access to our natural resources has been part of my work since I was first elected to Congress,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This ongoing partnership between the federal government and the City improves and protects Chicago’s shoreline, allowing for an expansion of Lincoln Park and the creation of split Lakefront paths on this busy shoreline park.”
The second phase of this project will focus on transforming the historic Theater on the Lake building at the intersection of Fullerton and Lake Shore. The popular theater will undergo a conversion to host year-round programming instead of its current summer-only setup.
The theater will also undergo a complete renovation of its interior, which will add a new performance space, additional lighting, and sound systems. New dressing rooms, green rooms, and event space will also be added. On the outside, concession space with public seating, and a vehicular drop-off area will be tacked on.
This new opening is a portion of the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project, which began in 2000. 21 of the 23 segments along the 9.5-mile area have been completed thus far. The Fullerton protection project cost $32 million and was paid for by the Chicago Park District and City of Chicago.
You can learn more by viewing the City’s official press release.