Since 1984 the Lincoln Park Conservancy has been the non-profit champion of Chicago’s largest and most visited park. Through our private-public partnership with the Chicago Park District we power the park through people by providing volunteer opportunities, fostering park improvements big and small, and leading fundraising efforts that better the park for the enjoyment of all citizens both now and for future generations. In preparation for our 40th Anniversary, we are pleased to release this strategic plan that outlines broad goals and specific objectives and metrics for our work over the next 3-5 years.
Through this plan we intend to recommit ourselves to our current and past projects, while expanding our focus to serve all parts of Lincoln Park’s 1,200+ acres and the many communities that utilize and shape the park, from Osterman Beach to Ohio Street Beach and all the beauty in between. Our planning timeframe began in early 2020, but due to the pandemic, was put on hold until mid-2021 and completed in late 2022. The process involved a series of conversations including: interviews and focus groups with neighborhood groups; stakeholders; park-users; partner/potential partner groups; elected officials; the Conservancy’s volunteers, staff, and Board; and the Chicago Park District (CPD). A public survey was also conducted to seek input on how individuals use the park, the parts of the park they use most often, and the places and ways they feel the park could benefit from the Conservancy’s involvement.
From this process new mission statement and vision statements were developed:
The mission of the Lincoln Park Conservancy is to preserve and enhance the inspiring beauty of Chicago’s largest and most visited park for current and future generations.
We believe that beauty matters. That it has the transformative power to lift our spirits, heal our bodies, unite our communities, and act as sanctuary from the pace and pressures of city life. As stewards of this urban refuge, the Lincoln Park Conservancy is dedicated to ensuring that the Park remains a world class destination for all by working with public and private partners to protect, restore, and maintain the park at the highest level possible.
Outcomes from data gathering and public input informed three broad goals and specific objectives for focusing our work in our 40th year and beyond:
Play: Maintain Lincoln Park at its highest level, keeping it a beautiful and natural place for Chicagoans and their families to recreate.
- Improve, repair, or add key park amenities that fall outside of CPD budget: trees, new turf, drinking fountains, restrooms, paths, etc.
- Support and promote CPD and other partners’ programming that get more Chicagoans in the park
- Create self-guided, virtual, or docent-led programming to connect more people with more parts of the park
Care: Identify, fund, and manage capital projects to improve the park-experience of all visitors.
- Revitalize and maintain our current/past projects and identify new ones in more places
- Expand Park stewardship duties to cover additional park natural areas
- Manage and grow existing volunteer docent and stewardship programs to more communities and parts of the park
Grow: Expand our reach to serve all parts of Chicago’s largest park.
- Expand and diversify volunteer base to include all neighborhoods touching the Park
- Strengthen and increase partnerships with CPD and other park stakeholders, community groups, and elected officials
- Increase community awareness of and input into Conservancy projects and programs
Projects, programs, and initiatives will be prioritized and implemented during each year of the plan, with subsequent ideas and areas refined, added to, or changed in successive years based on new developments and trends and the success of previous efforts. Some potential key programs and initiatives for further prioritization include:
|– Support care of park trees||– Relaunch Adopt-a-Monument program||– Undertake community engagement process to identify groups and areas for further focus/partnership|
|– Fund transportation assistance for CPD program||– Lead Conservatory capital campaign/renovation w/CPD/CPF||– Organize regular park service days in each ward|
|– Create select volunteer-led programming for key park assets||– Explore funding of in-park WIFI||– Co-sponsor or promote synergistic programming with partners|
|– Create virtual and/or on-demand programming to connect park users with park assets (e.g., QR self-guided tours)||– Diversey natural area support||– Expand organized workgroup program|
|– Peace Garden assistance||– Identify and solidify CPD liaisons to prioritize and manage projects|
|– Uptown Coastal Natural Area support||– Form community advisory board|
|– Mini grants for garden groups||– Diversify staff, Board, and volunteers|
|– Support existing natural area stewards with supplies/volunteers||– Expand marketing and fundraising|
|– Help create/support pollinator gardens in park||– Launch new logo(s), brand, and marketing campaign/materials|
|– Assist with funding of renovation of Margate Playground||– Install strategic signage related to our work, projects, and programs|
|– Lincoln Gardens/South Lincoln Park master planning||– Evolve staffing roles/structure|
Annual staff, Board, and Committee workplans will be created to manage plan implementation. Key metrics will be tracked and published quarterly to measure and report on plan achievement over the course of the plan’s duration. The plan will be revisited annually and revised as needed. The Conservancy will publicly launch this new plan in conjunction with Earth Day 2023, including the launch of a new logo suite and brand identity.
The Conservancy’s new logo suite represents a visual manifestation of our future: celebrating and recommitting to our past work and projects, and while growing of our impact to benefit all neighborhoods running the park’s 1,200+ acres. In total five complementary logos were created to reflect various iconic locations in the park where the Conservancy has traditionally worked, along with symbols of nature including a flower in bloom and the rising sun. The primary logo features water to reflect the park itself and the Lincoln Park lakefront from Ohio Street Beach to Osterman Beach. The rippling water also represents the recently restored North Pond. Each complementary logo includes common ‘Lincoln Park Conservancy’ text and green leaves at its base. These leaves not only symbolize the lushness of the park but also represent the pages of a book, unfolding Lincoln Park and its visitors’ stories over time.