The Village of Plainfield has ambitious plans to develop a riverfront park along the DuPage River in downtown Plainfield. The riverfront would encompass approximately two miles of the river between Route 59 and Renwick Road. The Plan focuses on the riverfront corridor to create a unique, innovative, and environmentally-sensitive asset that will add to the quality of life for residents, will contribute to additional economic development in the Downtown, and will be a focal point and source of pride for the entire Plainfield Community.
In 2005, the Village established a Steering Committee to develop a master plan for the riverfront property. The Steering Committee includes elected officials and staff from the Village of Plainfield and the Plainfield Park District, which is a cooperative partner in the Village’s riverfront efforts. In June of 2007, both the Village and the Park District adopted The Plainfield Riverfront Master Plan. The Master Plan identifies sections of the project and sets forth strategies for developing the riverfront project over an extended period of time. Implementation of the Master Plan will occur over several decades and will depend on grants and donations as well as participation from private developers.
In November of 2009, a committed group of volunteers joined forces to form the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation as a charitable, not-for-profit corporation. The Foundation's mission is to raise public awareness and funds for the riverfront project. The Foundation hosts the annual Plainfield Fest and Plainfield River Days community events, which generate funds for development of the Riverfront. The Foundation is also actively seeking grants and charitable contributions from individuals and corporations. Currently, all expenses related to the Riverfront are funded by the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, and the Village of Plainfield is not providing any direct funding. Through 2012, the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation has raised more than $200,000 for Riverfront improvements. To learn more about the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation and how you can become involved, please visit the Foundation's web site.
Lockport Street Pedestrian Bridge
The first project of the Riverfront Master Plan to begin construction is the new pedestrian bridge on the south side of Lockport Street that provides a safe, accessible connection between the vintage downtown and the expanded downtown area west of the river, including Village Hall and Settlers’ Park. The pedestrian bridge includes a look-out over the river, as well as decorative lighting. The project is funded with a $1 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Construction began in the fall of 2012 and is scheduled for completion early in the spring of 2013.
DuPage River Trail
The Plainfield Park District is taking the lead on constructing the DuPage River Trail through Plainfield. The DuPage River Trail is a planned, regional trail that will extend along the DuPage River from Channahon to Naperville. The Plainfield Park District has received a $500,000 grant from DCEO to construct the section of the DuPage River Trail within a portion of the riverfront property: on the west side of the river from Lockport Street to the Commonwealth Edison right-of-way crossing near Renwick Community Park. Village staff anticipates that this trail segment will be constructed in the summer of 2013.
The Plainfield Riverfront Foundation has funded the design and engineering of plans to expand Electric Park west of the DuPage River and south of Lockport Street. In the early 1900s, this area was part of the original Electric Park, which was a popular resort-like destination for Chicago-area residents. Electric Park featured a sunken garden, extensive paths, a large auditorium, dance hall, glider swings, and toboggan slide into the dammed river, along with boating and swimming. The current plans honor the history of the original Electric Park while not attempting to recreate or duplicate it. As additional funds are raised by the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, Village staff anticipates that those funds will first go toward constructing improvements in this first phase of the Electric Park expansion.
Northwest Riverwalk Park
The Village of Plainfield has completed the design and engineering for the section of the Master Plan identified as the Northwest Riverwalk Park: the area immediately north of Lockport Street and west of the DuPage River. The plans include construction of a segment of the DuPage River Trail, a river walk path system, a plaza with a custom arbor, seating areas, scenic overlooks, extensive native landscaping, pathway lighting, educational and interpretive features, parking access, and pedestrian access via a pathway under the Lockport Street bridge. See additional images: Image #1 Arbor - human height perspective looking northwest; Image #2 Arbor - human height perspective looking southwest; and Image #3 Arbor - treetop height perspective looking southwest.
This project is ready for permitting and construction. However, the Steering Committee has focused on the Electric Park expansion as a first priority as the initial costs are lower and the site has greater public visibility and access. The Village remains committed to the Northwest Riverwalk Park plan as a long-term project as future funding becomes available.
Trustee Margie Bonuchi (co-chair)
Jeffrey Dement, Citizen Representative and former Chairman
Jonathan Proulx, Planner, Village of Plainfield
Allen Persons, Public Works Director, Village of Plainfield
Larry Newton, Plainfield Park District Board
The Steering Committee is grateful to Trustee Paul Fay for his leadership and direction as Chairman from 2009 through 2012.