The Future of Brownfields is an ongoing partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design (IIT ID) and Calumet Collaborative that challenges us to find innovative ways to approach Brownfield redevelopment.
When the collaboration started in 2018, Masters and PhD students identified five strategies to redevelop the Calumet’s Brownfields: involve residents, leverage assets, integrate infrastructure, empower science, and strengthen the local economy. Four concepts emerged from these strategies:
Act Calumet and Flag Calumet have been further developed in 2019, with some exciting developments including working prototypes, marketplace design, and new concepts.
During the Spring 2019 IIT ID Act Calumet Workshop taught by Dr. Carlos Teixeira and Ph.D. Candidate Andre Nogueira, students explored how new technologies, infrastructures, and emerging financial services can provide alternative pathways to empower local residents towards reactivating abandoned properties and vacant lots in the Calumet region.
After research, workshops, panel discussions, and collaborating with community organizations, students designed a system of solutions that addressed five actions: Investing, Training, Managing, Activating, and Tracking. Prototypes were developed that connected those actions with the following scenarios:
“Through the lens of systems design, we worked at the intersection of environmental justice, digital technologies, and new market places to reframe issues of abandoned properties in the Calumet Region,” says Andre Nogueira, as he summarizes the work of the class. Andre also explained how this work could live beyond the classroom. “By incorporating considerations of financial stagnancy, centralization of power, short-term profitability, and segregation, this work opens new doors that are worth exploring for transforming properties that are currently being considered as bereft of value and benefit into assets for equitable local economic development."
Read more about the Act Calumet workshop and prototypes in two recently released reports: the Act Calumet Critical Report and Act Calumet Design Brief.
Flag Calumet has been able to live beyond the classroom by leveraging Kresge funds to further refine the concept and prototype. Flag Calumet assists in Brownfield redevelopment by measuring the surrounding environment and its restoration efforts, and incorporates creative placemaking with a hands-on experience that uses art to customize the installation.
IIT ID has partnered with Field Museum, Wildlife Habitat Council, Boxville, and The Student Conservation Association to understand how Flag Calumet could be activated in a way that answers the following questions:
The insight gained from these collaborations have propelled Flag Calumet to an exciting next step: building a marketplace. To build a marketplace, the Flag Calumet team will enhance the platform’s design which will connect supply and demand for ecosystem services, create a service blueprint that can enable transactions between stakeholders, and partner on workforce development by restoring habitats through service.
If you would like to be involved in testing and scaling Flag Calumet, please reach out to Ashley at email@example.com
“Creating an identity for a region with such a rich history, diverse setting, and vibrant future challenged our team to think creatively about messaging and design that reflects the authenticity of this place,” says Marisa Schulz, Vice President at The Lakota Group. “So many committed people were involved in the shaping of this brand and will continue to be important ambassadors in its implementation.”
Understanding what the Calumet means to those that live and work in the region and hold the Calumet close to their hearts was key to creating an identity and brand for the Heritage Area. From a stakeholder list of over 300, more than 165 people participated in over 20 meetings, focus groups, individual interviews and online surveys during the course of this eight-month project. The messaging, aesthetic, and final design of the Calumet Heritage Area brand was shaped by the residents, business owners, municipalities, community organizations, local tourism bureaus, and historical societies who participated from across the region.
“The process for developing a brand for the Calumet Heritage Area has been incredibly rewarding,” explains Rachael Smith, Community Branding Manager at The Lakota Group. “At every stage, the passionate group of volunteers guiding the process brought our team’s ideas to life. We’re so pleased with the final brand and how it speaks to folks who know and love this region.”
Next steps are to convene partners around implementation of the brand, which includes education on the Calumet Heritage Area itself, as well as making sure everyone that will use this brand knows about the tools and resources available to them. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Calumet Heritage Area is a place of nationally significant natural, industrial, labor, and cultural heritage assets, that are preserved and interpreted to advance economic opportunity, and enrich the lives of its residents and visitors from across the nation. Calumet Collaborative and Calumet Heritage Partnership, with the help of Field Museum, are leading an initiative to create and manage the Calumet Heritage Area, and to receive national designation from Congress to become the Calumet National Heritage Area. The Calumet Heritage Area brand has been designed so it can easily adapt when national designation occurs. For more information on the Calumet Heritage Area, visit www.calumetheritagearea.org
Brownfieldlistings.com and Calumet Collaborative Present the Country’s First Pitch Competition for Redevelopment Projects in Opportunity Zones
Immediate Release: June 11th, 2019
Calumet Region, IL/IN – Brownfieldlistings.com and Calumet Collaborative are proud to put on the country's first open pitch competition for redevelopment projects in Opportunity Zones (OZs) at the Brownfield and Opportunity Zone Bootcamp hosted by University of Illinois Chicago on June 19th. The pitch competition will follow a unique, day-long event curated by Brownfieldlistings.com that will explore sustainable long-term investment in underinvested communities designated as Opportunity Zones, a new federal tax incentive program, with educational programming and networking sessions.
Whereas investors and developers avoided Brownfields in the past, OZs may help change that and provide some additional motivation for cleanup. "Now you might want a few environmental issues," says BrownfieldListings.com CEO Dan French "to buy your overall OZ project some extra time while you do some environmental investigation and remediation on the hotspot."
Calumet Collaborative was eager to partner with Brownfieldlistings.com on the pitch competition, as Brownfieldlistings.com is an invaluable resource that connects key stakeholders in the nation-wide redevelopment marketplace. “We’re honored to partner with Brownfieldlistings.com on the pitch competition - Brownfieldlistings.com puts on amazing events that connect people that usually aren’t able to get into the same room, and the outcomes are tremendous. It’s the shared value of in-person connections that motivated us to support this event and we can’t wait to see the benefits of those connections come to life beyond the pitch competition,” says Sarah Coulter, Executive Director of Calumet Collaborative.
"The creativity of the Calumet Collaborative helped spark that idea that made the Bootcamp's pitch competition possible, and its most capable contributions since then have helped shape it into the immediate success it is,” says French. “That it's drawn such strong regional and national interest is a signal that there's something very substantial stirring Opportunity Zones across the country."
This exciting competition gives finalists a chance to tune up their pitching skills in front of an expert judge’s panel and audience containing real estate investors, developers, communities, corporations, landowners, and more. Finalists can win a share of publicity, prizes and actionable project interest. Sites within the Calumet region will pitch amongst finalists from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and places in between.
Calumet Collaborative also believes the educational aspects of the Bootcamp are important for their network, as the Calumet region contains a number of OZs - over a fifth of Chicago’s OZs fall in Chicago’s far southeast side, and OZs range from south Cook County into Indiana along Lake County’s Lake Michigan Waterfront, in Valparaiso, and in LaPorte County’s Michigan City. The educational program will provide the much-needed informative sessions on this new and somewhat complicated federal tax incentive program, and features over 15 experts on OZs and Brownfields. Participants can expect to learn about development in OZs, building an OZ Prospectus, redeveloping contaminated land, how to successfully engage communities in redevelopment, and more. Those interested can register for the Bootcamp at events.brownfieldlistings.com.
By partnering with Brownfieldlistings.com on this event, Calumet Collaborative hopes to shine a spotlight on the Calumet region, which is full of, as the program rightfully designates it, opportunity.
BrownfieldListings.com connects buyers and redevelopment experts with sellers or property owners looking to remediate and redevelop their property. To sign up for the Brownfield and Opportunity Zone Bootcamp, please visit https://events.brownfieldlistings.com/brownfield-opportunity-zone-bootcamp-chicago/
For more information on the Brownfields & Opportunity Zone Bootcamp and pitch competition, please email email@example.com.
Calumet Collaborative catalyzes innovative partnerships between Illinois and Indiana community, government, business and nonprofit stakeholders to advance a thriving Calumet region through sustainable development. For more information on Calumet Collaborative, please contact:
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When the project kicked off, Scott Freres, President of the Lakota Group, said “Our first step will be to step back and listen—to the many organizations and people that carry this region close to their heart,” and this has been accomplished by conducting focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and releasing surveys to understand how people feel about the Calumet region. And the outreach isn’t finished yet – the community can now engage in the branding process by participating in the Mood Board Survey – a way to provide feedback on the visual direction that the brand can take.
In February, the project Steering Committee, made up of 13 members from both Illinois and Indiana, helped compile an extensive list of stakeholder groups, resulting in 9 focus groups with over 60 people in attendance that discussed what the Calumet means to them. For those that could not attend in person, follow up interviews were held, and an online survey was distributed, where anyone could share their opinions on the region. The insight gathered from this outreach helped The Lakota Group start to understand key messaging and visuals that “address feelings of personal and collective belonging, memory, history, and identity,” and also “honor the past while looking forward and positioning the region into the future,” a goal that Scott Freres and the Lakota team set out to accomplish at the beginning of the project.
“Every group we talked with emphasized how the people of the region really define the place. They are hard-working change makers. They have both a vision for the future of the Calumet and the passion for place to truly affect change,” says Rachael Smith, Community Branding Manager of the Lakota Group, while describing her experience during the focus groups.
“Throughout our conversations with residents and stakeholders, the idea of atypical beauty came up again and again. The Calumet is defined by the landscapes that have been affected by industry, which gives them a character that is both beautiful and truly unique to this place. That is why this initiative is so important—so that residents and visitors alike can discover, rediscover, and appreciate this hidden gem,” says Marisa Schulz, Vice President of The Lakota Group, while describing some themes that resulted from the outreach.
Now the community can share their thoughts on the branding process with the Mood Board Survey. Like a Pinterest board, a mood board is an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc. that help us understand a visual idea - and in this project, the mood boards showcase three different visual directions to explore for the Calumet Heritage Area logo and brand. The three mood boards were created based on the previous stakeholder engagement, and capture elements of the Calumet’s unique charm. After compiling feedback on the mood boards, The Lakota Group will begin work on three different concepts for the Calumet Heritage Area logo and brand, and work with Matthew Kaplan Photography to start telling the story of the region through photographs.
Once the Calumet Heritage Area identity and brand is created, partners will work closely with organizations, municipalities, and other stakeholders on brand implementation. The Lakota Group will create a brand implementation toolkit, and Calumet Collaborative, Calumet Heritage Partnership, and others will make sure partners understand how to use the toolkit and implement the brand into their existing wayfinding systems and other print and digital collateral.
To learn more about the Calumet Heritage Area, visit calumetheritagearea.org. For any questions on the branding process, please reach out to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Future of Brownfields” is an ongoing partnership between Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design (IIT ID) and Calumet Collaborative that challenges us to think differently about underutilized land, such as vacant residential buildings, abandoned industrial sites, unmanaged natural areas, and former landfills. The collaboration also aims to understand how design can play a role in the sustainable redevelopment of the Calumet region.
Three recently released booklets explore the minimum infrastructure needed to create value and mobilize action, as well as the approach taken by researchers and partners to run prototyping experiences.
These booklets correspond to the following prototypes and can be downloaded at the links below:
these activities gave us confidence that the Things we are developing are both socio-ecologically relevant and rich with business opportunities.”
Those Things Andre refers to are covered in detail in the three booklets, and summarized below:
Act Calumet explores ideas like a Calumet Coin Fund, that rewards local residents for performing stewardship activities at vacant properties, by using things like Smart Contracts that allow these types of credible transactions to happen without third parties.
Flag Calumet features the FLAGmighter – a public “art and science” installation assembled by youth to entice other residents and visitors to learn about the environment. The FLAGmighter collects data on its surroundings that can be transferred to a digital dashboard, allowing the ability to measure trends in the natural environment.
Mini Calumet uses a neighborhood-building simulator called Block’Hood that allows participants to be governing agents and build communities, all while addressing challenges like creating a sustainable food system, restoring abandoned blocks, increasing biodiversity, and establishing a healthy business.
Moving into 2019, IIT ID has secured funding from the Kresge Foundation to micro pilot the Flag Calumet prototype. Additionally, the Act Calumet prototype will be further developed and explored through another semester long workshop with Masters and PhD students, and Calumet Collaborative will help connect students to experts in Brownfield redevelopment as the course progresses.
“Given the complexity and scale of the Act Calumet, we are currently exploring if the introduction of new technologies and digital platforms could provide alternative avenues to empower local residents towards reactivating abandoned properties and vacant land in the Calumet region. We are particularly interested in emerging financial services aiming at decentralizing power and promoting inclusion,” explains Andre.
“For the Flag Calumet, we are refining our prototype to create a DIY Assembly Kit. The kit should be used not only to facilitate the interactions between multiple stakeholders involved in redeveloping Brownfields, but also to empower and enable local residents to collect and use data about their own environment. By the end of the project, we should also have a clear vision for how to scale up this initiative,” says Andre.
Calumet Collaborative, IIT ID, and ChiByDesign are excited to continue “The Future of Brownfields” collaboration and look forward to the outputs at the end of the semester. For more information, download all outputs from “The Future of Brownfields” partnership on Calumet Collaborative’s Projects Page.
Calumet Region, IL/IN – The Lakota Group has been chosen as the agency that will create an identity and brand for the Calumet Heritage Area. The resulting brand will be part of an implementation toolkit that municipalities, parks, historical societies, and other organizations can use to introduce Calumet Heritage Area identity and banding to the region.
By creating a unified identity and brand for the Calumet Heritage Area, the region can come together to promote this nationally significant place that boasts globally rare natural areas alongside industrial corridors with strong cultural heritage. Extensive community and stakeholder engagement will be taking place to ensure all voices are heard throughout the branding process.
6 agencies submitted proposals for this project, and after thorough evaluation and discussion was completed by partners from Calumet Heritage Partnership and Calumet Collaborative, The Lakota Group was chosen due to their familiarity with the region, commitment to community and stakeholder engagement, design skills, and experience in wayfinding and placemaking projects.
“We’re thrilled to have been chosen to design an identity and brand for the Calumet Heritage Area. Our first step will be to step back and listen—to the many organizations and people that carry this region close to their heart. The emotions that accompany the attachment between people and place are complex and address feelings of personal and collective belonging, memory, history, and identity. A Calumet Heritage Area brand must capture this in a way that honors the past while also looking forward and positioning the region into the future,” says Scott Freres, President of The Lakota Group.
Calumet Collaborative and Calumet Heritage Partnership, both bi-state non-profit organizations, have partnered to create the Calumet Heritage Area, and are continuing their collaboration to achieve congressional designation as the Calumet National Heritage Area. Both organizations are working closely with the Field Museum, who will lead the management planning process of the heritage area on behalf of its partners. The ultimate goal of the effort is to elevate the rich stories of heritage and promote the natural and cultural assets of the region.
“A unified identity and brand for the Calumet region will raise awareness of the incredible cultural, environmental and heritage assets in the region,” says Sarah Coulter, the Executive Director of Calumet Collaborative. “Telling the stories of these assets through branding strengthens pride and sense of place for both residents and visitors”.
The Calumet Heritage Area is a place of nationally significant natural, industrial, labor, and cultural heritage assets, that are preserved and interpreted to advance economic opportunity, and enrich the lives of its residents and visitors from across the nation. Learn more about the Calumet Heritage Area at calumetheritagearea.org.
This project is supported by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program through a federal grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. This program is also supported by ArcelorMittal.
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A recap of the 19th Annual Calumet Heritage Conference: Celebrating and Resorting the Calumet’s Living Landscape
On Saturday October 20th at Lost Marsh Golf Course in Hammond, IN, around 80 people that live and work in the Calumet region came together to explore the Calumet’s living landscape, asking questions about how to restore and sustain a balance among nature, commerce, and culture. The conference was presented by Calumet Heritage Partnership and included a full day of panels, discussions and breakout activities that allowed participants to connect with other cultural, environmental, and heritage organizations in the Calumet.
Field Museum is a partner of both organizations in this endeavor. The Calumet Heritage Area is dedicated to telling the story of the region’s nationally significant natural, industrial, labor, and cultural heritage assets, that are preserved and interpreted to enrich the lives of its residents and visitors from across the nation.
The conference kicked off with a panel titled “Challenges and Opportunities of Environmental Stewardship in the Calumet”, featuring panelists Paul Labovitz, Superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Brenda Scott Henry, Director of Green Urbanism and Environmental Affairs of City of Gary; and Benjamin Cox, Executive Director of Friends of the Forest Preserves and CHP Board Member. The discussion, moderated by Katherine Moore Powell, PhD, Climate Change Ecologist of the Field Museum, explored different perceptions of green space, whether or not these perceptions align with traditional conservation approaches, and challenges and opportunities surrounding healthy green spaces. Watch the full panel, here.
Katherine Moore Powell noted that “from non-profit to urban to national park, each panelist spoke about how more people need to discover a connection to nature. It seems our modern lifestyles have created distance between us and the natural world, and that creates unrealistic views of what a healthy green space is, and what role it plays in our own physical and mental health.” Panelists addressed this challenge with solutions in their respective communities.
"The value of our land must be based on more than tax revenue and short term profitability, that long term ecosystem services (clean air and water, recreation, culture and beauty, etc.) are equally if not more valid in determining the best use of that land, but this way of thinking will require a cultural shift in the way we see prosperity and success as a society” - Katherine Moore Powell, PhD, Field Museum
Paul Labovitz explained that the Indiana Dunes has unique habitats and high biodiversity, all within arm’s reach of Chicago, making it one of the most accessible National Park Service entities in the United States. Brenda Scott Henry spoke about the challenges surrounding Gary’s vacant lots, but community, regional, and national support together have created a vision for sustainability, such as developing some vacant lots into native gardens. Benjamin Cox expressed some concern; although there is great work being done around conserving high quality green spaces, there is a challenge around convincing policy makers and government officials of the value in not developing a parcel and keeping it as green space. An overall sentiment from the panel arose, as summarized by Katherine: “The value of our land must be based on more than tax revenue and short term profitability, that long term ecosystem services (clean air and water, recreation, culture and beauty, etc.) are equally if not more valid in determining the best use of that land, but this way of thinking will require a cultural shift in the way we see prosperity and success as a society”.
This panel was followed by a presentation from a new network of museums, galleries and local history centers in the region called Calumet Curators. Madeleine Tudor, Applied Cultural Research Manager of Field Museum introduced the Calumet Curators network, whose nearly 20 partners showcase the natural, industrial, and cultural richness of the Calumet region by connecting local interpretive centers and collections-based organizations that tell the region’s heritage stories. Madeleine also introduced a traveling exhibition currently being developed by this group, called “Calumet Voices, National Stories” (working title). This multi-sited, collaboratively-curated exhibit project will showcase the globally rare natural areas, the nation’s premier heavy industrial district, and the grit and passion of diverse communities that make up the unique Calumet landscape. The exhibit will open sequentially at three local venues across the Calumet region and end at the Field Museum. Each venue will be a unique display, created by a different team of local heritage partners with guidance from the Field Museum. The first site will be at the Pullman National Monument/Historic Pullman Foundation Visitors Center in mid-2019, followed by the Gary Public Library and the Brauer Museum of Art. Components from each venue will be displayed in the Field Museum's Comer Gallery in February 2021, and will include selections from the Field’s own collections from the Calumet region.
Julie Zasada, Executive Director of the Cedar Lake Historical Association (CLHA), gave a brief history of Cedar Lake and introduced the group to CLHA’s museum. Julie is excited that the Calumet Heritage Area boundaries extend far enough south to include Cedar Lake, as it is an important part of the region's history and the Calumet Heritage Area will provide a new opportunity to tell these stories.
Edward Sadlowski’s “Steelworkers Fight Back” campaign during his run for the presidency of United Steelworkers captivated the nation and was a key component in pushing the United Steelworkers to becoming a more democratic union. Stories about the Calumet’s people and heritage are part of what makes the region nationally significant, and these stories will be brought to life with the Calumet Heritage Area.
Following the resolution, Tom Shepherd, who has been a longtime advocate of the Calumet region via his participation in numerous societies and groups devoted to relating and preserving the Calumet’s history, gave a presentation on The Little Calumet Underground Railroad Project. Near the Little Calumet River lies the former Jan Ton Farm, a safe house for Freedom Seekers that would have traversed through the region escaping slavery. Tom spoke to how his group is working to improve the route with signage and monuments to tell the story of these Freedom Seekers and abolitionists like the Ton family. One of those monuments would be located near the Jan Ton Farm in Beaubien Woods.
The last panel was about The Lakeshore People’s Museum, with panelists Cassandra Cannon of the museum and Founder and CEO of the United Urban Network of Gary, Rhonda Cox of the museum and Executive Director of Artopia Arts & Crats Cultural Academy, and Willow Walsh, of the museum and a student at Valparaiso University. This panel touched on the importance of telling the stories of all people in the region, and how no one's story should be left out. The Lakeshore People’s Museum accomplishes this by allowing residents to bring in artifacts and arts that have preserved their cultural and familial heritage to their pop-up museums. These resident artifacts could range from dolls to quilts to letterman jackets that tell the story of their family’s heritage. Watch the full panel, here.
Before lunch, Brenda Barrett, the editor of the Living Landscape Observer, appointee to the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Culture Landscapes, and former National Coordinator of Heritage Areas of the National Park Service, presented a fascinating keynote address on how to conserve culture and nature on a landscape scale. Brenda spoke to the importance of heritage areas, as they are one of the only vehicles that can connect a bi-state landscape and region like the Calumet, and heritage areas can improve surrounding communities by providing economic opportunity through tourism, environmental protection by connecting green spaces, and a platform for telling the unique histories of the United States. Brenda drew from examples from her work in Pennsylvania and touched on some key learnings from her work there, such as how important it will be to engage the community when starting to brand and manage the Calumet Heritage Area. Brenda also spoke about some key examples of other National partnerships that have similar visions as the Calumet region, such as the Network for Landscape Conservation. Watch the full address, here.
The working lunch included an engaging breakout activity surrounding management planning for the Calumet National Heritage Area. The Calumet National Heritage Area Feasibility Study has been approved by the National Park Service as it meets all 10 criteria for becoming a National Heritage Area. A significant next step in becoming a national heritage area is turning the feasibility study into a management plan that demonstrates how the Calumet National Heritage Area will run and who will run it. The breakout activity was designed to engage conference participants in thinking about how they might address the different priorities that would be activated on a regional scale with the Heritage Area.
After lunch, the group had planned to go on an afternoon group paddle on Wolf Lake, hosted by Wilderness Inquiry. Additionally, Michael Boos, Executive Director of the Association for Wolf Lake Initiative, would give a brief history and overview of Wolf Lake once on site. Upon leaving the conference, the weather took a turn for the worse, but those that did make it to Wolf Lake did learn some interesting facts about Wolf Lake from Michael Boos before calling it quits due to the weather.
Coming out of the conference, the next steps are to continue with management planning for the Calumet Heritage Area. The programming put together by Calumet Heritage Partnership that was highlighted throughout the conference will be key components to making the Calumet Heritage Area a reality. For more information on Calumet Heritage Partnership, visit calumetheritage.org, and for more information on the Calumet Heritage Area, visit calumetheritagearea.org.
one of the most productive conservation planning efforts to date and is key to maintaining the sustainability of the complex ecosystems in the Lake Michigan Watershed. However, even with the CELCP plan in place, some natural areas were missing conservation strategies, so a huge opportunity arose when funding became available for partners to collaborate on conservation plans for 3 "gap” areas. At the end of September, Calumet Collaborative and partners released a report for those gap areas that aligns with the larger CELCP plan. The Calumet Land Acquisition & Habitat Restoration Plan report details 5-year conservation strategies with actionable outcomes and next steps for the Calumet region
The 3 areas covered in this project are: Oak Ridge/ Hoosier Prairie (Lake County), Moraine/ Sunset Hill (Porter Country), and Ambler Flatwoods (LaPorte County). A number of diverse stakeholders in the region were involved to develop this comprehensive plan and report in just a 5-month time period, which speaks to the power of collaboration and collective action. These partners include, but are not limited to: Save the Dunes, The Nature Conservancy, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), the Field Museum, Shirley Heinze Land Trust (SHLT), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Coastal Program and Division of Nature Preserves (DNP), and not to mention the number of local, state, federal and planning agencies in the region that attended the planning meetings. In all, the CAP process consisted of 9, 2-hour, in-person meetings over 3 months, with 27 people representing 16 organizations. After the in-person meetings, select partners spent another 2 months writing the report based on meeting outcomes.
The CAP process was facilitated by Joe Tutterrow, Director of Protection at The Nature Conservancy in Indiana. The meetings were interactive and adaptive, and used maps to help visualize strategies. The meetings focused on action-oriented outcomes to ensure all parties agreed with the strategies that addressed the various conservation targets, threats, and opportunities, as well as what would be measured to indicate each strategy’s success.
"It’s another example of how much more we can accomplish together than we can by ourselves!”
Joe Tutterrow said “I was pleased to represent The Nature Conservancy as a part of this regional planning process. The level of engagement and commitment by all of the local partners and participants was very impressive. To maintain their energy over the course of this 3-month process speaks to the importance of the topic and the likelihood of success. It’s another example of how much more we can accomplish together than we can by ourselves!”
The partners involved enjoyed this CAP experience, as it provided a platform to work together in a new and different way: by creating strategic conservation plans over common goals, and addressing that threats don't stop at jurisdictional boundaries.
".The impacts of invasive species, pollution, and development pressures don't stop at management boundaries, and we wanted to develop natural resource protection strategies that reflect that reality to better protect the system as a whole.”
“Working as a partnership on conservation planning initiatives allows us to blur jurisdictional boundaries and treat these three project areas as ecosystems, rather than individual, fragmented sites,” explains Cathy Martin, Program Manager at Save the Dunes. “The strategies developed through this process are centered on collaboration and cooperation; the impacts of invasive species, pollution, and development pressures don't stop at management boundaries, and we wanted to develop natural resource protection strategies that reflect that reality to better protect the system as a whole.”
The release of this report is just the beginning for increased conservation efforts in Northwest Indiana. Now that strategies have been identified, projects are being developed to achieve those strategies, and the Calumet Collaborative will continue to report out on these projects and related opportunities as they become available.
To learn more about the CAP project, please read the Calumet Land Acquisition & Habitat Restoration Plan report, or the summaries for each area in the plan: Oak Ridge/ Hoosier Prairie (Lake County), Moraine/ Sunset Hill (Porter Country), and Ambler Flatwoods (LaPorte County). To become involved on conservation initiatives in the Calumet region, please reach out to Ashley at email@example.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Calumet Collaborative is Named One of the Top 100 Finalists for the 17th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards
September 18, 2018
Chicago, IL— Out of 519 nominees, Calumet Collaborative of Chicago, IL has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 17th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries. 1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 29th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.
The Calumet region is bi-state, spanning southeast Chicago, south Cook County and northwest Indiana, and boasts proud and diverse communities, important natural ecosystems, and a powerful industrial heritage. It’s a region that struggles with social equity, economic prosperity, and environmental restoration and justice issues. Calumet Collaborative’s vision is to advance a thriving Calumet region through transformative sustainable development, with collaboration and collective work being unique and main drivers of this transformation. There are 39 member organizations and countless partners who are involved in the Collaborative's work. Calumet Collaborative aims to achieve inclusive regional prosperity and improve quality of life by engaging diverse stakeholders in on-the-ground work that integrates community, economic, and environmental values.
Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at https://chicagoinnovation.com/peoples-choice-award-voting/
“Chicago continues to rise as a global hub of innovation due to the breadth of organizations in our region that introduce a stream of new products and services into the market each year,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “This year’s nominees generated a combined total of $3.44 billion in revenues through their new products and services alone.”
As one of the Top 100 Finalists, Calumet Collaborative will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 26th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.
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After all, there is a “difference between being IN the community and being PART of the community”, a sentiment driven home by Mr. Harris, and this public meeting was just one example of how the Port District supports the community and will continue to do so moving forward.
The meeting was organized around 3 topics: 1) Where the port has been, 2) Where the port is now, and 3) Where the port is going. In the 2 years since Mr. Harris has been Director of the port, it is true that a lot has been accomplished. In 2017, the port increased revenue by 11.6% while simultaneously decreasing debt by 61.6% - no small feat. Reducing the debt with the help of the Illinois General Assembly and receiving $2.3 million in grant funding contributed to these numbers. Additionally, a 2017 combined economic impact study on the Port concluded that the Port is responsible for 6,381 jobs and produced a total revenue of $1,186,986,000. The Port has also received a Local Technical Assistance (LTA) grant from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to help develop a Master Plan for the Port. This momentum, combined with the constant outreach to understand international port best practices and to educate others about opportunities in Chicago, is advancing the Port in ways we have not seen before.
When it comes to where the Port is now, the State of the Port address showed us how the momentum from 2017 has started to materialize into concrete projects and actions. In 2018, the Port received over $17 million in grant funds to start work on the much-needed infrastructure repairs that will not only help make the port more functional but also improve appearance and perception. Infrastructure repairs focus on improvements at Butler Drive, the backbone of the Port, as it connects water-bound cargo to trucks and trains, and includes 1.2 miles of road improvements and 1.7 miles of rail improvements. One of the Port’s major goals is to become the region’s transportation logistics leader by increasing all port activity and focusing on multi-modal aspects including barge, ship, rail, and truck. Improvements at Butler Drive is a first step towards this goal.
The Port is committed now, and in the future, to support the surrounding community. Some examples include housing bees for the honey production of Sweet Beginnings, a local social enterprise that sells raw honey and honey-infused body care products, working with The Nature Conservancy to identify ways to remediate and restore Square Marsh, and collaborating with Active Transportation Alliance on ways to connect the bike park and trails at Big Marsh to Pullman. When it comes to bringing development to the Port, community feedback is highly valued, so there will be a public meeting on September 15th regarding a request for proposal (RFP) for a hotel and boat house to be built near Harborside Golf Course. A hotel would provide local jobs and many other community benefits, and Mr. Harris wants to make sure the community has an opportunity to share their ideas and give feedback prior to the RFP release. Details on this meeting can be found at IIPD.com.
Another big goal is to make the Illinois International Port District the nation’s greenest port by investing in renewable energies, and leading in conservation efforts and environmental practices. The Port has already released an RFP for solar panels to be mounted on the port’s transit sheds, pictured to the left.
There have been concepts put forth for wind turbines and thermal energy as well. The Port has the potential to produce more renewable energy on site than it consumes, so the Port would look into power purchase agreements that would allow them to share excess energy with the surrounding neighborhoods of Hegewisch, Pullman and Riverdale – another example of being PART of the community versus just being IN the community.
Finally, a framework called E.R.I.C. was introduced that will help guide the Port’s future work.
Putting these values at the center of the Port’s upcoming projects and Master Plan will ensure the Illinois International Port District stays true it’s tagline: The Greatest Multimodal Facility in North America.
All numbers sourced from the first annual State of the Port address, which can be downloaded at IIPD.com.