Press Release Nov 19, 2019

With More than $56 Million Invested, Positioning Pullman Projects Maximize Benefits of Chicago’s First National Park

With more than half of the original 30 projects complete, the next phase of Positioning Pullman will focus on improving infrastructure, renovating the highest priority historic assets and expanding Pullman’s story to surrounding community parks and cultural areas.

CHICAGO – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA) today released an update to their comprehensive action plan for Pullman National Monument - Positioning Pullman 2.0. The 2015 award winning, community-driven plan continues to serve as a blueprint for development and growth at Pullman, its surrounding neighborhoods and the region. More than half of the 30 original prioritized projects are completed or are underway, including improvements to public transit and streets, and the renovation of the iconic Pullman clock tower building and grounds. Building on these successes, more than 100 people participated in developing the next set of priorities, to leverage new opportunities in and around Pullman.

“In four short years, more than $56 million has been invested within Pullman National Monument – that’s just incredible, “said Lynn McClure, senior regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Since its launch, Positioning Pullman has become a guide for collaboration in urban national parks across the country. With the commitment of so many people who live in and support Pullman, we are seeing results quickly and that demonstrates the power that this national park brings to Chicago and the region.”

Successfully completed or nearly completed projects include:

  • Renovating the iconic clock tower, which is expected to open to the public in early 2021 and will serve as the Pullman National Monument visitor center.

  • Rebuilding the 111th Street train station platform by Metra to improve lighting and pedestrian crossings, making it easier and safer for people traveling to Pullman.

  • Improving access to Pullman and the surrounding neighborhoods, the Chicago Department of Transportation has provided new bike lanes and tour bus parking on Cottage Grove and is prioritizing the redevelopment of 111th Street to serve as the main gateway corridor to Pullman.

  • Reinvesting in the neighborhood with five new restaurants or cafes opening along 111th Street, where none existed prior to the national park designation.

As part of this ongoing process, NPCA and AIA Chicago continue to work with design professionals volunteering their time alongside Pullman-area residents, to review what has been accomplished so far and to gather suggestions about how to best build upon these successes.

“This initiative has generated enormous interest and passion from architecture and design professionals across Chicago, illustrating how important the Pullman community is to all Chicagoans,” said Zurich Esposito, Hon. AIA, executive vice president for AIA Chicago.

Through the inclusive public process, the next phase of projects will improve infrastructure, renovate the highest priority historic assets and expand Pullman’s story to connect with its surrounding community parks and cultural areas. These projects include:

  • Connecting north and south Pullman through green spaces to unify the neighborhood and provide a cultural trail to connect Pullman stories;

  • Expanding access to nearby natural and cultural areas like Big Marsh and Beaubien Woods with bike or walking trails;

  • Establishing coordinated wayfinding to better connect visitors coming from highways and public transit to Pullman and to nearby cultural sites.

“What started as a vision for Chicago’s first national park, Positioning Pullman has become the guide for far south side growth,” said Richard Wilson, Pullman project leader and city design director at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. “Pullman is driving value at the neighborhood, city and regional scale.”

Positioning Pullman 2.0 was developed by teams of volunteer architects, landscape architects, planners and engineers, working with Pullman residents, government agencies and advisors with expertise in the historic neighborhood. Participants include neighborhood groups, city leaders, staff from city transportation and planning, Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority, the State of Illinois, National Park Service, NPCA and AIA Chicago. To learn more about Positioning Pullman, and to follow along with our next phase of projects, please visit www.npca.org/pullman.

Photos for media use are available here.

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.

About AIA Chicago: With more than 3,000 members, AIA Chicago is one of the largest chapters of the American Institute of Architects. As the leading professional association for architects in the nation, AIA is the voice of the architectural profession and the resource for its members in service to society. In addition to organizing education and design awards programs, AIA Chicago produces publications, such as AIA Guide to Chicago Architecture and “Chicago Architect” magazine.