Better Drainage in Public Spaces: Maggie Daley Park
With 580 parks, 8,100 acres of green space and more than 100 miles of streetscape gardens, Chicago is aptly known as the “City in a Garden.” It is the first urban park district to receive the prestigious National Gold Medal Award by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
A recent addition to Chicago’s landscape, Maggie Daley Park, is an outstanding example of the city’s commitment to create even more public spaces that enhance the urban living experience. The park provides an adventurous space featuring climbing walls, tennis courts, an ice-skating ribbon and play areas — all set among grassy hills and 1,000 trees to attract migrating birds and wildlife. Nestled between Lake Michigan and some of the city’s iconic skyscrapers, the 25 acre park makes a bold statement on combining work and play in an urban environment.
Landscaping of the park required an initial supply of more than 20,000 tons of natural sand, involving 25 trucks to deliver product over 60 miles to the job site in downtown Chicago. As the landscaping progressed, Holcim was asked to provide additional material to blend with topsoil for areas of the park requiring excellent drainage, such as at the base of the ice-skating ribbon, on walking trails and underneath the turf.
Holcim submitted for consideration a material that is a byproduct of producing Torpedo sand, a material often used in concrete and asphalt applications. In addition to its excellent drainage and other performance properties, this material also offers significant sustainability advantages due to its beneficial product reuse characteristics. The Chicago Department of Transportation conducted extensive quality testing of the sand and, with its approval, the general contractor requested 20,000 tons of the material to complete the project.
Based on the success of Maggie Daley Park, the general contractor used 5,000 tons of sand from Holcim US for another Chicago park development. Called “The 606”— named for the 606 ZIP code all Chicagoans share — the 3-mile-long trail and park system transformed an unused elevated railway into a riding trail and multi-use park. The first of its kind in Chicago, The 606 has become a true community corridor and one of Chicago’s great promenades for biking, running and strolling.