Have you heard of NeighborSpace? It’s an innovative way for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to support Chicago residents through open space projects that were once considered too small and too urban to be compatible with the District’s system of preserves and natural areas.
By design, the Forest Preserves circle the city, an oasis of natural areas and vast open spaces offering an escape from the stress, structure and congestion of urban living.
But what about people who don’t have easy access to the Preserves? NeighborSpace, a unique partnership between the private sector, and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District, is one of the ways we can expand open space throughout the County.
NeighborSpace works with community organizations like block clubs, schools, and churches to secure land, ranging in size from one to six city lots, for small parks, gardens, natural areas, river edges and scenic landscapes. The lands are managed and developed by local volunteer groups, while NeighborSpace provides site permanency, insurance, annual monitoring, response to emergencies and, when possible, access to a dedicated water source. To date NeighborSpace has acquired 81 sites, primarily in underserved areas of the city, and has more than 4,500 community volunteers.
To learn more about NeighborSpace, visit www.neighbor-space.org