2030 Goal: A clear path forward for the Port District


Chicago is a shipping hub for barges (from the Mississippi River and other inland waterways) and deep water vessels from the Great Lakes and around the world.

Through the transfer of hundreds of acres of Illinois International Port District property on Lake Calumet into active management for open space, habitat and recreation, the Port’s facilities will be consolidated and focused on serving tenants that provide sustainable industry, jobs and positive community impact.

Securing a qualified private manager for the Port is one route to unlocking a new infusion of capital to manage facilities, make infrastructure investments, promote and market the Port and bolster its contributions to Chicagoland’s economy. A more robust and committed public management structure is another.

Though the Port is a regional amenity, its immediate proximity to residential neighborhoods and sensitive ecological areas necessitates a higher degree of local coordination. A new Local Advisory Committee will ensure that new investment in facilities and infrastructure, as well as new tenants of the Port, provide an array of positive benefits for nearby residents and the environment.

Alternatively, if a long-term private management firm with the ability to reinvest in the Port is not found, then a thoughtful process should be conducted to consider dissolving the Port and future ownership and management of its assets.

Making it happen

  • Make a prompt decision (by 2017) on future of the Illinois International Port District, vetting both a private management firm or dissolution of the Port District as options.
  • Establish a Local Advisory Committee, facilitated by the local aldermanic office, to advise the Port Board, private manager, Mayor’s Office and other parties.
  • Transfer ownership and stewardship of ecologically-sensitive land and water assets to an established open space manager.

Key players

Illinois International Port District, City of Chicago, State of Illinois, Chicago Park District, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources, neighboring community and community organizations

Our rivers, our role

Visit the Port area by land or water to see what kind of operations and opportunities for redevelopment exist. In addition to getting a sense of the industrial activity and legacy along the water and major corridors such as Torrence Avenue, 106th Street, or Avenue O, you can also visit places like Big Marsh, Hegewisch Marsh, Calumet Fisheries, the Burnham Greenway and William W. Powers State Recreation Area to understand how industry, community and nature can co-exist.

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