Riis Park Lagoon Rehabilitation
Chicago Park District, URS Greiner Woodward Clyde
Riis Park is one of thirteen lagoons to be restored as part of the Chicago Park District’s 1999 / 2000 Lagoon Rehabilitation Program. The ten acre project area, including the 1.3 acre lagoon, was originally designed in 1938 by “Prairie School” landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. The Chicago Park District recognized that the lagoon needed to be rehabilitated to overcome severe shoreline erosion, siltation, poor water quality, and degradation of the original vegetation due to severe overuse by fishermen. The goal was to restore the lagoon while respecting its historic character, yet allow it to meet the demands of today’s users.
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. participated in the site analysis, historic analysis and research, schematic design, and design development phases. They also attended public meetings and prepared project budgets and contract documentation prior to their construction administration work. Natural community plantings were used in conjunction with bioengineering techniques to establish shoreline stabilization. The project included new paths, lighting, site furniture, pedestrian bridges, stone outcroppings, handicapped accessible fishing stations and piers as well as a unique stone water feature at the water supply source location.
Construction of the project was completed in November of 2000 for a construction cost of $1 million. This project won a Merit Award for Design from the Illinois Chapter ASLA in 2002.