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Hopkins Gives Thumbs-Up To Lincoln Yards Plan

Sterling Bay's new plan for Lincoln Yards reserves 40% of the space for parks.

A development team led by Sterling Bay secured the support of Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins for its controversial Lincoln Yards complex by issuing a revised plan over the holiday weekend that incorporates many of his suggestions for the site.  

Hopkins’ approval comes just days ahead of a key Thursday vote by the Chicago Plan Commission.

In response to criticisms leveled by many community residents, Hopkins had asked Sterling Bay to eliminate a proposed 20,000-seat soccer stadium and a massive entertainment complex, and add open spaces, including parkland.

The new plan replaces the most contentious features with an 11-acre park, along with a series of small entertainment venues scattered throughout the site, and Hopkins now supports bringing it to the Plan Commission. 

That does not mean the $6B plan is finalized.

“By no means does this spell the conclusion of the community review process for this major redevelopment project,” Hopkins said.

As Sterling Bay and its team fill in details, they will present updated plans at more public forums, and need approval from the Community Development Commission, the City Council's Zoning and Finance committees, and finally a vote by the entire City Council.

Hopkins also addressed concerns expressed by many community residents throughout much of 2018 that the new parks would be privately managed and owned.  

The new proposal for an 11-acre park calls for oversight from a public Park Advisory Council under the auspices of the Chicago Park District, according to the alderman.

He said he would also continue pushing for another park along the Chicago River's North Branch on land occupied by General Iron Industries. This chunk of land is not part of the Lincoln Yards site and won't be on the Plan Commission's agenda.

"Securing a commitment for the 11-acre park in Lincoln Yards does not mean we ease up on our efforts to secure the North Branch Park; it means we double down," he said.