What is Next for Pullman?
Prioritizing People and Action
The vision that hundreds of people developed for Pullman as Chicago’s first national park is undeniably successful, but we still have work to do. The projects in the Positioning Pullman Action Plan that are not yet started remain our priorities. We have also identified new priorities as we map Pullman’s success and its influence on other projects within the region.
1 Complete the Action Plan Priorities in Positioning Pullman
These priorities are the product of an inclusive public process and were designed to improve infrastructure, renovate the highest priority historic assets and tell the Pullman stories within the neighborhood and its parks.
Some of these projects have risen in priority since Positioning Pullman was completed. Greenstone Church is in dire need of structural repair and renovation. If not addressed soon, the Church will further deteriorate risking one of Pullman’s historic iconic places.
Completing the original Action Plan means committing time and resources to such priority projects as:
- Cottage Grove Avenue improvements to complete the gateway corridors work.
- New Metra stations at stops within Pullman National Monument (103rd, 107th, 115th).
- Hotel Florence renovation and opening to the public.
- Renovation of Greenstone Church, Market Hall, the firehouse and historic homes opened to the public.
- Redesign and renovation of Pullman and Arcade Parks.
2 Connect North and South Pullman and Provide New Green Space North of 111th Street
Nearly half of the projects not yet underway in the Positioning Pullman Action Plan are in north Pullman. The renovation of the Administration Building and grounds, however, could help spur project work north of 111th Street.
Funding the Cottage Grove Avenue project and rebuilding Metra stations north of 111th Street, both of which are projects in the original Action Plan, will go a long way toward providing infrastructure improvements to connect north and south Pullman.
There are vacant land parcels in north Pullman that could become neighborhood green spaces. For example, the Pullman Transportation Plan identified a series of open spaces fronting Cottage Grove Avenue that have “great potential to unify the Pullman neighborhood between 103rd and 115th Streets.”
Further, these new green spaces should connect to Pullman parks and features in an interpretive cultural trail or intuitive pathway. Residents and visitors could learn about the Pullman story as they pass through these spaces.
3 Connect Pullman to Nearby Natural Areas
Establishing Pullman National Monument and launching Positioning Pullman have helped spur interest in adjacent neighborhoods and attractions. There are six natural and cultural areas within a short distance of 111th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue that provide tremendous opportunities to connect to Pullman by trail.
It’s timely to work on community-to-nature trail connections between Pullman and Big Marsh and from Pullman south to Beaubien Woods and the Little Calumet River. A feasibility study was funded in summer 2019 to take a first look at a bike and pedestrian trail between Pullman, Lake Calumet and Big Marsh. The Port of Illinois is working on a master plan that will include land use and connectivity to adjacent areas.
By prioritizing these trail connections, we would link urban residents to nature and use the power of the national park to elevate the region’s natural and cultural heritage.
4 Establish Coordinated Wayfinding
Pullman National Monument was established in 2015 and there are still no systems implemented to guide visitors from highways or transit to the site, to points of interest within the national park, or from Pullman to nearby cultural destinations. With visitation growing, these systems must be developed and put in place. A comprehensive marketing effort will help maximize opening of the new Pullman Visitor Center in 2021 and raise awareness about Pullman and other cultural treasures.