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Chicago River Revamp: Groups Seek Public Feedback For Waterway

By Margaret Paulson in News on Apr 19, 2015 6:00PM

Chicago River at Dawn [stvmtal]

It seems like many Chicagoans don’t spend too much time thinking about the Chicago River and its branches, except to notice when it looks particularly beautiful or particularly gross.

But the Metropolitan Planning Council, Friends of the Chicago River and the City of Chicago want to change that, and they’re seeking feedback from the public via a survey at Great Rivers Chicago. According to the site, the trio—along with other partners—will spend the next 15 months gathering data from Chicago residents, businesses and community leaders “to create a coordinated vision for our rivers’ future” that ties together the current “promising but disparate efforts” aimed at improving the Chicago, Calumet and Des Plaines rivers and making them more accessible and engaging. It seems that another goal is to get people to realize there’s much, much more to the Chicago River than just the tiny stretch downtown. In fact, though Chicago only has about 28 miles of lakefront, we have about 156 miles of riverfront.

The survey, which takes about 10 minutes and is available in both Spanish and English, is focused on residents’ perceptions of and experiences with various sections of the Chicago River network. The most fun part of the survey is on word association: When you think of the river, what comes to mind? (Some of the options are “boring,” “odor,” “fun,” “fishing,” “dirty,” and “water taxi,” for example.)

What are your ideas for improving visibility, engagement and access to the Chicago River network?

Drunk river tubing parties? Party barge? A freshwater aquarium? Canoe races?

If you'd like to learn more about Chicago's rivers and get involved, consider volunteering for Chicago River Day on May 9.