Amid the recent frenzy of plans and articles examining Goose Island's potential as a tech hub and entrepreneurial center, why not focus on the area's recreational potential as well? Chicago's Moss Design recently illustrated a proposal for the North Branch Canal, the man-made channel that initially created Goose Island, that would transform this industrial stretch of the Chicago River into something akin to a north side Riverwalk.
"It's a rare piece of the river and present the unique chance to turn a backwater into an important part of the river system," says architect Matt Nardella, owner of Moss. "As Chicagoans, we're all into the lakefront, but there's a lot more waterway that could be utilized."
The concept originated with the Naru Project, which is trying to create a nature-oriented floating park on the Chicago River starting near Goose Island. Moss provided visualization of the plan, which would include floating wetlands to help provide wildlife habitat, as well as a series of public interventions and amenities that could be phased in over time, including a kayak launch, floating pool barge, performance stage and a series of public murals along the river walls. The humble mussel provided design inspiration; different sections can collect and link to the river's edge, slowly building upon each other.
According to Nardella, this is a great opportunity to reclaim and reactivate a part of the river that's people don't often visit or experience, all near an area that's currently experiencing a development boom. Currently filled with sheet piling, it's sad to see that area remain neglected with so much happening around it. Naru currently has a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers for the project; the next step would be fundraising.
Get Your Own Copy of the Proposed Goose Island Masterplan [Curbed Chicago]
· Locals and Tourists Share First Images of Completed Chicago Riverwalk Over the Weekend [Curbed Chicago]