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Overview 

Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core is a 220-square mile opportunity to transform a region in transition. Its goal is to catalyze innovative partnerships and action in the Calumet region that:

      I. Honor its cultural and industrial past;

     II. Restore and enhance the natural ecosystems;

     III. Support healthy and prosperous communities and residents; and

     IV. Stimulate vigorous and sustainable economic growth

Millennium Reserve recognizes that conservation and sustainable land use in urban areas are inextricably linked to healthy communities and a robust economy.

Millennium Reserve stretches from downtown Chicago east to the Indiana border and southwest to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois. The immediate focus within this area is the Calumet Core region encompassing numerous neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side, the southeast lakefront, and 35 south suburban municipalities. In aggregate, the Calumet Core includes a collection of over 15,000 acres of open space such as parks, trails, wetlands, and forest preserves. Nearly 6,000 of these acres are considered high-quality natural areas. More than 400,000 residents live in the Calumet Core.

Millennium Reserve is a shared agenda that unifies public, nonprofit, and commercial leaders seeking to make the most of the region’s assets. Moreover, it is an on-going initiative guided by partners who understand community priorities, and it is designed to make on-the-ground projects happen. The initiative includes projects that range from neighborhood-based in scale to those of regional significance. Millennium Reserve recognizes the work of partners, particularly those whose decades-long commitment to the region have created the foundation for this initiative.

Partners provide their individual human and capital resources. They catalyze action by focusing, leveraging, and augmenting existing resources and by working within a collaborative framework to achieve exponential results. These results will provide tangible benefits for the region that can be measured by job growth, new acres restored, increased public access to natural areas, and much more.

Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources launched Millennium Reserve in late 2011. It is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, which works to align federal programs with locally-developed conservation and recreation goals. Since its inception, Millennium Reserve has welcomed nearly 100 partners and key stakeholders.

Updated April 2013