Priorities

Opportunities for Action


In 2014, the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee recommended 14 priority projects of regional significance, each considered pivotal in achieving the Reserve vision. These priorities are complemented by the objectives and on-the-ground work of dozens of partners, many of whom have been doing outstanding work in the region for decades.

Steering Committee Report:       Executive Summary    Complete Report    Addendum

Progress and results reports:       Fall 2014     Spring 2014    2015

Open Public Access to Lake Calumet

Transform unutilized Illinois International Port District property along Lake Calumet into a public amenity featuring open space, wildlife habitat, recreation, small business, and family programming. 

Lead agency: Millennium Reserve Steering Committee

For more information, contact MilResPriority+LakeCal@gmail.com

Build the Blue Island Intercollegiate Rowing Center & Marina

Develop underutilized marina on the Cal-Sag Channel at Fay’s Point in Blue Island into a host site for high-level rowing competitions. Establish revenue-generating operations including rowing center and housing.

Lead agency: City of Blue Island

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Rowing@gmail.com

Develop and Implement the Millennium Reserve Natural Areas Conservation Compact

Coordinate shared conservation outcomes and undertake site protection and restoration activities for the State of Illinois’ 23 most ecologically important sites – those of highest biodiversity value – in the Reserve.

Lead agency: Illinois Department of Natural Resources

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Compact@gmail.com

Implement a Millennium Reserve Industrial Jobs Work Plan

Create a competitive workforce while addressing a serious labor/skills mismatch in the manufacturing sector through an expansion of the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership. This partnership will increase employer investment and employment opportunities and spur regional economic development.

Lead agency: OAI

For more information, contact MilResPriority+IndustJobs@gmail.com

Catalyze the Redevelopment of Brownfields

Secure funding to finance acquisition and predevelopment work for cargo-oriented developments projects and key rail-serviced properties.  Address brownfield redevelopment challenges through strategic cooperation between the State of Illinois and other public agencies.

Lead agency: South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Brownfields@gmail.com

Propose and Fund a Millennium Reserve Land Development Program

Raise $1.5 Million for capital investment in the nonprofit Southland Community Development Loan Fund. 

Lead agency: Cook County Bureau of Administration

For more information, contact MilResPriority+LandDev@gmail.com

Communicate the Assets of the Region

Organize and catalog extensive GIS information about the Calumet’s natural, community, and economic assets. Use dynamic, web-based visualization tools to promote opportunities to live, work, and recreate.

Lead agency: South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Assets@gmail.com

Support National Heritage Designations for Distinctive Regional Landscapes

Support three distinctive and interlinked National Heritage Areas – the existing I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor along with the proposed Black Metropolis and Calumet national heritage areas. Leverage these designations to stimulate economic development, cultivate environmental and cultural preservation, and foster education and stewardship of natural and cultural resources.

Lead agency: Various

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Heritage@gmail.com

Support and Promote the Proposed Pullman National Historical Park

Secure national historic park designation in Pullman to further preserve the history of Chicago’s emergence as a transportation and commercial hub. Pullman has a unique place in US history as the first model industrial town and a birthplace of the labor movement – including the first African American labor union.

Lead agency: National Parks Conservation Association

For more information, contact MilResPriority+Pullman@gmail.com

Develop the Future Generation of Conservation Leaders

Identify funding needs and programming gaps for youth-oriented conservation education in the region.

Lead agency: The Field Museum

For more information, contact MilResPriority+ConservaLdrs@gmail.com

Acquire and Build the Strategic Connections Missing in the Calumet Area Trail System

Complete several key connections in what will become an impressive 100-mile regional bike and pedestrian trail system that includes the Burnham Greenway and the American Discovery, Cal-Sag, and Grand Illinois trails. Will benefit the environment and economy and offer new recreation, fitness, and transit choices.

Lead agency: Various

For more information, contact MilResPriority+TrailSystem@gmail.com

Review and Revive the Ford Calumet Environmental Center

Review and revive plans for the Ford Calumet Environmental Center. Reconsider location, funding, and design as well as management and operation options. Produce recommendations for the center’s future.

Lead agency: Chicago Park District

For more information, contact MilResPriority+FordCenter@gmail.com

Improve Stormwater Management through Investments in and Coordination of Green Infrastructure Solutions

Coordinate existing green infrastructure practices such as bioswales, rain gardens, and permeable pavement that reduces flooding, improves water quality, enhances habitats, and more, and determine optimal placement of future, large-scale investments with a goal of mitigating 1 billion gallons of stormwater.

Lead agency: Metropolitan Planning Council

For more information, contact MilResPriority+GreenInfra@gmail.com

Develop the Millennium Reserve Outdoor Recreation Partnership and Framework Plan

Develop outdoor adventure attractions and ecotourism opportunities such as paddling, camping, birding, geocaching, zip lining, and kite boarding that will position the Reserve as a recreation destination.

Lead agency: Chicago Park District

For more information, contact MilResPriority+RecPlan@gmail.com