Rallying the community around the Bloomingdale Trail, a project for open space, art, and active transportation


Meet Maggie Martinez. She was the final commenter at last night’s final public meeting for the development of the Bloomingdale Trail framework plan*. And what a final comment she made. If I had known it was going to be a rousing call to action for supporting youth in arts and cycling, and the benefits of the project for the Humboldt Park and nearby communities, I would have filmed it. Instead you get this (pretty good) photo, the audio of her speech, and a transcript.


I put the audio of Maggie speaking to a basic slideshow of photos from the meeting. Watch it on Vimeo.


> Maggie Martinez: Hello my name is Maggie Martinez, I’m from the Humboldt Park area, and, this is not new to me because I’ve been hearing it for over 8 years, as part of the group that we started on this dream, and, it sounds beautiful, but yet we still need to get the word out.

We still need to reach more, more of our parents in these areas. Please do that to make sure that they all know and come up with your beautiful parks, and also to translate whatever you said (if it could be possible). I love the idea that you’re going to be involved in the schools [referring to an answer from the design team given to a previous commenter] because it’s through the youth that they’re going to be able to be up there, and be those eyes and ears that we’re gonna need.

I also need for you to involve the young people, the young adults. Those young adults have the skills in art that you would not believe and we need to reach out to those young people so that they can be part of your arts that are going to go up there on those walls. We need them to get involved so they don’t come and mess it up [laughter]. If we can get beautiful young people in there, we will have something positive upstairs, it’s gonna be beautiful. I know that the people are talking about the danger in it but I said if everybody puts their heart, it will be something real nice.

Now we also need you to keep in mind, we have a lot of skilled workers in our community, so we got to reach out to those community people that have skills that work, even to turn that dirt, or knock down that wall, we have a lot of people that know how to do it. We have companies that do the wrought ironings so you gotta make sure you hire these companies that are within this community. We don’t want you to bring somebody from England [referring to Tom, an engineer and presenter on the design team] to build whatever we need done on the fencing [laughter, unintelligible, Tom is making a funny face, laughter, applause].

If it’s in Humboldt Park, Logan Square, let’s find the skills that are here in this community, because our community does need work, and we need to make sure that they are proud of what they did, because this is their community and this is what I need you to capture, that it’s our community, [2:30] it’s all of our community that has to have part in it, that you are going to dig in that dirt and plant that plant in there, that we are all gonna be eyes and ears, that we are going to get our aldermen to be involved in this, that we are going to get our police department to be involved in this, that we’re gonna have the bikers, the, the, what do you call them, the [cab?] bicycle riders, that we’re gonna have them up there. That we’re gonna have young people riding their bicycles. We gotta think of the future, and the open space is gonna be wonderful for this community.

So I know I have a lot more things, that are negative, but I wrote them down [laughter]. I have to tell you that I should have sat up here because it was hard to hear you back there, and the only one I heard was Janet. You’ve got a good voice, but the rest I could not hear you, and I don’t know if you didn’t have dinner [laughter] or what. [unintelligible] But please keep in mind that we not only work with our hands and work in our minds, but we work with our hearts. And that’s what we gotta take. [applause]

Janet Attarian of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT): I know Beth wants to say something but I want to say that that’s a wonderful last statement and I really appreciated that, thank you very much.

> Beth White of Trust for Public Land (TPL): I just wanted to echo Janet’s comment and Maggie to thank you personally. I wanted to thank you personally because you have been working on this project from day one, long before I got here about six years ago, and I see you’re sitting with Lucy Gomez-Feliciano and we want to thank you and ask you to come to every meeting and say what you said. And we will continue to work to incorporate the arts into all of the civic engagement work that we’re doing, and you’re absolutely right, the community has to be a part of this and come in and help move it forward. So thank you, those were very eloquent remarks, and we will take those to heart. And we’ll speak louder next time.


Note: A lot was discussed at this meeting, and some new elements were revealed, but it was more than I can write about here and now. My writeup will be a lot smoother when I can refer you to the slideshow, which the design team will be publishing shortly on the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail website. They uploaded a new FAQ (pdf), to replace the one that was many months old. This has new information since the last time I reported on the Bloomingdale Trail so I recommend reading that while you wait patiently. The writeup will be unique because for the first time in this planning process I have my own critiques, to add to the many set out by commenters at this and the previous meeting; I was previously satisfied with all components of the plan, however I try to empathize with the adjacent homeowners. The outspoken public’s main criticism about “park versus trail” seems to have been relieved, but there are still many concerns about homeowner privacy.

* This is also the meeting where all comments would be formally submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as per the rules of the state and federal planning process.

3 thoughts on “Rallying the community around the Bloomingdale Trail, a project for open space, art, and active transportation”

  1. Agreed, Maggie definitely offered up the best comment. That’s me (chicago-pipeline) sitting behind her. I guess that was gridchicago with the mic two seats ahead of me! 🙂

    1. I was on the opposite side of the aisle from you, with the mic in my lap. I’d like to know who the guys with the mic and camera are. So I can read what they wrote, see what they photographed. 

  2. She was dead-on about using workers from the community. A great point; I really hope they take it to heart and don’t just dole out contracts.

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