Calumet Heritage Partnership
To identify, preserve and reclaim the natural, historical and recreational heritage
of the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana
13300 S. Baltimore, Chicago, Illinois 60633 (773) 646-0436 www.calumetheritage.org
The next meeting of the Calumet Heritage Partnership will be held Thursday, August 21, 7:00 p.m. at the Suzanne G. Long Local History Room, Hammond Public Library, Hammond, Indiana.
A DIFFERENT PORT OF CALL? When the National Park Service conducted its Calumet Ecological Park Feasibility Study in 1998, among the options it studied was the new kind of park first devised in the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, where management and ownership would depend on local units of government and other entities rather than the Park Service itself. At the mouth of the Calumet River and in the Lake Calumet area that entity is the Illinois International Port District. The Port District has certainly had its critics over its fifty-seven year history, and now comes a new report from one of the most credible critics of all. The Civic Federation, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization, released a report on June 30 advocating that the port district be disbanded and its functions distributed to other entities. The report may be found at http://www.civicfed.org/articles/civicfed_273.pdf It bears close reading by ecological park and heritage corridor advocates.
It remains to be seen exactly how the report will enter discussion about the future of the region. But, from the CHP point of view, the report's recommendation to transfer open land on the Port District's property to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is very interesting, to say the least. The 360 acres of open land owned by the Port District forms a huge part of the "important resource area" marked out in the Park Service's 1998 feasibility study. It's also in the City of Chicago's Calumet Area Land Use Plan of 2002 and is also incorporated in Forest Preserve Commissioner Mike Quigley's "Make No Small Plans" report of that year. It also forms a physical link between the Pullman Historic Site and the Calumet wetlands, which is a nifty combination that advances CHP's goals of preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the region.