‘We deserve beautiful spaces’: Abandoned railway in Englewood to be transformed into nature trail


CHICAGO — A long stretch of abandoned railway running through the South Side of Chicago will eventually transform into a nature trail, thanks to a large federal grant.

Chicago officials said this reimagining of an old railway will create a pathway for revitalization.

It’s a railroad corridor that sat abandoned for decades.

“We deserve beautiful spaces,” Anton Seals Jr, the lead steward for Grow Greater Englewood, said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $20 million grant for the design and construction of the Englewood Nature Trail.

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Community leaders and officials gathered in Hermitage Park to celebrate the project.

Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg said the project came from the community.

The effort has been years in the making and was spearheaded by Grown Greater Englewood.

Seals said the community input has been prioritized every step of the way, and the trail will look and feel much different than the 606 on the North Side.

The city acquired the land from Norfolk Southern in 2018. The trail will run near 59th Street, nearly two miles from Wallace to Hoyne.

“Unlike the 606, unlike the Highline, this is a nature trail just waiting to happen,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “The commitment I am making to you is to make sure this is fully funded.”

And along with several other projects in the works, community leaders said this is part of their larger vision to bring impactful investment to Englewood.

Construction on the trial will happen in phases starting in 2026 and will take about a year to complete.

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