The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

About the Centennial


The region is home to all kinds of rivers, streams, lakes and other waterways which offer not only key environmental benefits but personal benefits for the region’s people. These Green Legacy Projects are working to increase public access to those waters and improve the natural habitats:

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Chicago Riverfront Trail

City of Chicago

On June 19, 2009 the City of Chicago opened the first section of the Chicago Riverwalk—between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue and under the Michigan Avenue bridge. [MORE]


Kankakee Riverfront Trail

Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley

Phase I of the Kankakee Riverfront Trail was begun—and will be completed—during the Centennial. The 6.5 mile-long trail will enhance local access to the Kankakee River and connect the city of Kankakee with Kankakee River State Park. [MORE]


Last Four Miles

Friends of the Parks

With extensive community participation and solid technical support, Friends of the Parks has developed and proposed an award-winning, visionary and practical plan for completing the last four miles of gaps in Daniel Burnham’s vision of uninterrupted public access along Chicago’s entire 30-mile shoreline from Evanston to Indiana. [MORE]

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Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan


The Centennial year commemorates the completion of nearly 90 percent of the 500-mile Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan. The Plan was developed by Openlands, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), Illinois Paddling Council and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. [MORE]


Openlands Lakeshore Preserve


The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve on Lake Michigan at the former Fort Sheridan in Highland Park opened to the public for the first time in a century in September 2009. Because Illinois has only 60 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, adding a 3/4 mile long ravine and a mile of undeveloped lake bluffs and shoreline—both with spectacular views—is a major milestone for our region’s permanent green infrastructure. [MORE]


Waukegan Open Space

City of Waukegan

Waukegan’s plan for transforming its downtown and lakefront is like a modern-day Burnham Plan. [MORE]

arrow View All Green Legacy Projects

The Centennial was a catalyst for realizing Burnham’s vision for a region-wide system of parks and open space.

Feature Partner: Openlands

Openlands took the lead in working with land management partners to advance a series of Green Legacy Projects that celebrate the lasting influence of Burnham Plan principles and provide a new set of directions.
[View All Openlands Projects]

Watch video by Clarion New Media for more information on Green Legacy projects

The Burnham Blog

To read all blog postings by Patrick T. Reardon related to the Green Legacy projects, click here.

Presenting Sponsor For The Environment

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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