Chicago to Build Biggest Urban Park in the Lower 48 States

millenium reserve nations largest urban parkMillenium Reserve/Public Domain

The most famous urban park in America is easily New York City's notorious Central Park. SF's Golden Gate Park and a few others might come close, but few match the grandeur of one of the nation's major urban landmarks. And it's just 843 acres. Sure, it seems massive, when the towering high rises that surround it disappear from view as you venture deeper in.But by way of comparison, the latest park scheduled for construction, on the outskirts of Chicago, will be in another league entirely.

The 140,000 acre behemoth will be built on underused land and revitalized industrial wasteland--and it will help give a kick to Chicago's economy in the process.

Atlantic Cities has the details:
A new project, backed by at least $17 million from the state, aims to turn 140,000 acres of under-used and post-industrial land along the Second City's southern rim into a public recreation hub called the Millennium Reserve.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn hopes to add private funding to the project, figuring the reserve will boost the economy and create hundreds of jobs. Environmental groups have been calling for a makeover for the Calumet region for years. "The Millennium Reserve Plan represents the first viable, large-scale attempt to protect and enhance the Lake Calumet area through an integrated, cooperative approach to land and resource management," the Sierra Club of Illinois said in a statement.

It will be the biggest park in the lower 48 states, and, as Grist notes, roughly 10 times the size of all of Manhattan. Here's how much bigger it will be:

new york urban manhattanMillenium Reserve/Public Domain

As you likely know, I'm a huge proponent of robust, well-developed public spaces, and this project is no different. It will be a boon not just to Chicago's nature lovers, but to the social fabric of the city in general. I, for one, look forward to taking a lengthy stroll in the lower 48's largest park when it's completed.

Chicago to Build Biggest Urban Park in the Lower 48 States
The Millenium Reserve park will span a whopping 140,000 acres; it will be 10 times the size of Manhattan.