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ULI Chicago Expert Panel Releases Final Report Recommending Transformation for Joliet Prison & U.S. Steel Sites

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CONTACT: Cindy McSherry, ULI Chicago, 773-549-4972

ULI Chicago Expert Panel Releases Final Report Recommending Transformation for Joliet Prison & U.S. Steel Sites

ULI Chicago releases final report based on a Technical Assistance Panel conducted in January 2012 on the Joliet Prison and U.S. Steel Sites

CHICAGO, IL (July 11, 2012) – The Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI Chicago) released recommendations today for redevelopment of the former Joliet Correctional Center and vacant U.S. Steel Sites. For more than a century, stone and steel were the iconic foundations of Joliet, Illinois. Today, those legacies provide an anchor for reactivation and redevelopment of Joliet’s East Side.

The set of recommendations are a result of a partnership that began last summer between the City of Joliet, ULI Chicago, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  After receiving a HUD Sustainable Communities grant in October 2010, CMAP launched a Local Technical Assistance program through which a ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) was funded. The expert panel was convened in January 2012 to study potential redevelopment and reuse of the Joliet Correctional Center and the vacant U.S. Steel Site.

“The Technical Assistance Panel was a way to provide Joliet with parameters for feasible redevelopment options, and a tremendous opportunity to explore connecting the assets of the East Side to each other and to the rest of the city,” said Joliet native David Galowich, President of Madison Realty Group, Inc. and Chair of the ULI Chicago Panel. “Local schools, parks and open space groups, public and private stakeholders should all be partners in the effort.”

The Panel included professionals in the fields of development, planning, construction, engineering, acquisition and finance. In addition to briefing material, the Panel toured the former prison with the Department of Corrections, completed stakeholder interviews, and collected community input through outreach events conducted by CMAP last fall and a community reception that was part of the January TAP.

In addition to partnership recommendations to begin redevelopment, such as working with state agencies to stabilize the prison site and continuing to approach U.S. Steel in a spirit of collaboration, specific reuse recommendations include:

  • Preserving the Joliet Correctional Center grounds east of Collins Street as open space for a mix of recreational uses, including organized sports, hiking and fishing, and community initiatives like urban agriculture.
  • Stabilizing select portions of the Old Joliet Prison and considering redevelopment at a range of intensities, from opening the prison complex to the public for basic tours of the inner courtyard and select buildings, to options like recreational fields and museums.
  • Supporting a mix of uses on the former U.S. Steel site, including small, grocery-anchored retail facing Collins Street and industrial or business park use in the west portion of the site.

For further information on panel recommendations visit chicago.uli.org or download a copy of the report.

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ULI Chicago (chicago.uli.org), a District Council of the Urban Land Institute, has more than 1,000 members in the Chicago land area. Organized in 1986, the district council celebrates 25 years in 2012. The ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Panel program draws upon ULI member expertise to provide creative and practical solutions to land use challenges in communities across the Chicago region and beyond. ULI Chicago’s TAP program was started in 2002.

Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) (cmap.illinois.gov) is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP developed and now leads the implementation of GO TO 2040, metropolitan Chicago’s first comprehensive regional plan in more than 100 years. To address anticipated population growth of more than 2 million new residents, GO TO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies that help the region’s 284 communities address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.

The City of Joliet (visitjoliet.org ) is the fourth largest city in the state of Illinois, located just 45 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop.  Home to over 147,000 residents, in addition to thriving businesses and attractions, the City of Joliet is easily accessible by rail, auto and bus transit. A perfect place to live, work and play, Joliet is constantly striving to promote growth and diversity.  For more information on Joliet contact Thomas A. Thanas, City Manager, at 815.724.4000.

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