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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has engaged a project team led by The Lakota Group to conduct a Park Enhancement Recommendations Plan for the William W. Powers State Recreation Area in the Hegewisch neighborhood on Chicago’s southeast side.

The plan will help position Wm. Powers to reach its full potential as an ecological, cultural, and community asset that is recognized, celebrated, and cherished by more local residents and visitors to the region. The Enhancement Plan is also a key step in IDNR’s long-term goal to transform Wm. Powers—often referred to as a hidden gem—into a destination park that complements those of other innovative open space developments occurring in Millennium Reserve and the broader Calumet region.

The Enhancement Plan for Wm. Powers will assess and prioritize opportunities to improve the physical site and strengthen programs at this unique state park in an urban setting. This may include but is not limited to ecological restoration, outdoor recreation, site interpretation, hands-on environmental education, classes and other learning activities, green infrastructure for stormwater management, demonstration gardens, public art, and community events which bring more visitors to the park and incorporate more community interests into the existing features of the site. The fundability and sustainability of opportunities  within IDNR and the State’s existing resources will be an essential component of the plan’s final recommendations for park enhancements.

A key component of the plan is to create and manage an external stakeholder participation process that meaningfully engages:

  • Other public land managers and professional natural resource and outdoor recreation specialists in the Calumet region, most notably the Chicago Park District and Forest Preserves of Cook County;
  • Current and potential programming partners;
  • and, Community residents.

This project was prepared by The Lakota Group under award NA13NOS4190115 from NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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