Posted on February 1, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District, as partners in the implementation of the authorized Chicago Shoreline Project, are pleased to announce that work is beginning on several new phases of the Chicago Shoreline Project.
Since 1996, the partners have collectively invested over $500 million to rehabilitate and improve the coastal structures protecting Chicago’s lakefront. To date, twenty-two segments of the shoreline have been rehabilitated covering over 9.2 miles. Thanks to newly authorized funding, the City, Park District and the Corps will be initiating three new phases of work to protect the shoreline from storm damages and erosion.
The City of Chicago’s 2023 capital bond includes $5 million to fund the planning and design of the Promontory Point segment of the project, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) later this year for the planning and design needed to meet the goals of both reducing coastal storm damage while preserving the historic nature of the existing structure. The design will be shared with the community through a public meeting process.
In December 2022, the Corps received $450,000 in federal funds to perform a third-party review of the City’s planning and design of the Promontory Point segment. This activity was originally authorized by Congress in 2007 but had not been funded until now. These funds will enable the Corps’ Technical Centers of Expertise in Seattle and Buffalo Districts to review the City’s designs for consistency with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as well as the Corps’ coastal storm risk reduction design standards. Seattle District is the Corps’ National Technical Center of Expertise for the Preservation of Historic Buildings and Structures, and the Buffalo District is the Corps Center of Expertise for Great Lakes Coastal Engineering. The project partners are confident that the City’s design, coupled with the third-party review, will result in a rehabilitation plan that preserves the limestone and historic character of this important segment of shoreline in a manner that is consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation.
Late last year, the Corps’ Chicago District also received funds to develop a General Re-evaluation Report (GRR) for the Chicago Shoreline Project. The GRR will focus on areas of the shoreline that were not recommended for implementation in the original 1994 feasibility study and any underperforming segments of the rehabilitated shoreline. This study is estimated to cost $3 million, is expected to be completed in 2025, and is cost-shared between the Corps, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District. In December 2022, the Corps initiated scoping of the GRR by requesting input from federal, state, and local agencies as well as interested stakeholders under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Corps will be developing a website for this study and will extend the scoping comment period to allow additional time for input. The public may also submit comments regarding the GRR to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because Promontory Point is now funded for separate planning and design as well as the third-party review, this segment will not be included in the scope of the GRR, allowing the design and construction process to begin sooner. Similar to other completed shoreline segments, Promontory Point will have a separate NEPA environmental review and consultation process specific to that element of the project with opportunities for public input.