Section of Northerly Island trail languishes in disrepair

SHARE Section of Northerly Island trail languishes in disrepair

Barricades and signs keep pedestrians from a section off a path on Northerly Island that was damaged by Lake Michigan waves in late 2015. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

A portion of the trail circling Northerly Island remains closed more than a year after waves from Lake Michigan caused erosion damage — and the Chicago Park District can’t say when fixes will be made.

Waves crashing over the east side of the park damaged several hundred feet of the path. Earth underneath the path was washed away and parts of the pavement are also damaged.

A plan to fix the trail was created by the Army Corps of Engineers and handed over to the Chicago Park District to implement, according to a spokeswoman for the Corps.

The park district would not say when the fixes would be carried out or what’s taking so long.

The plans “are currently under review,” park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said in an email. “I have no further information at this time.”

A series of signs and large yellow concrete barriers are in place to keep pedestrians off the damaged section of trail.

Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, says her group hasn’t been involved in the process.

“We’ve had the same questions about when it will open and gotten the same responses,” Irizarry said Thursday. “I’m not sure if anybody is taking it as a super high priority at this point. It should be a high priority. But it doesn’t seem like a lot of attention is being paid to it.”

Friends of the Parks is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve, protect, improve, and promote the use of Chicago parks and open spaces.

A group from Friends of the Parks meets informally and privately with representatives of the park district every month to discuss issues, and Irizarry said she plans to raise concerns about Northerly Island at their next meeting.

The path — which meanders through rolling hills and encircles a 5 acre lagoon — has become a popular spot for runners, bikers and walkers since it opened in September of 2015.

The park cost $9.7 million to build, mostly from federal funding, and lies on part of a 91 acre peninsula that used to be home to Meigs Field.

The Chicago Park District has no timetable for making repairs outlined by  the Army Corps of Engineers. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

The Chicago Park District has no timetable for making repairs outlined by the Army Corps of Engineers. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

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