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Parks & Rec

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Could it be we're in a golden age of park expansion and improvement? Chicago Park District historian Julia Bachrach believes so, enough to update and republish her 2001 book "The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago's Parks". Speaking with The Tribune, Bachrach credit's the mayor's office and active communities for propelling the Park District into action on many fronts. A short list of major projects underway: Northerly Island renovations; North Grant Park reconstruction; and the Bloomingdale Trail elevated park. Close to 1,000 new acres have been added in the last 10 years, the most since the New Deal. "There are other cities with great parks," Bachrach said. "But I don't think there's another city that first of all has such a diverse collection, and secondly has done so much to protect that legacy and continue to build onto it." [Trib, photo of Northerly Island via Explore Chicago]