Illinois Port District


Historical Port of Chicago

Port History


Illinois International Port District


The Illinois International Port District wholeheartedly embraces the fundamental belief and those conceptual ideas that “we”, the entire community, need to support the natural environment and our treasured jewel in Chicago, our lakefront and the entire ecosystem of all the Great Lakes.

For over twenty years a disposal site for the city’s municipal solid waste, incinerator ash, and treated wastewater sludge operated in the unregulated landfill along with an unsightly dump strewn with construction debris on the Senator Dan Dougherty Harbor (Lake Calumet) property on Chicago’s southeast side. Today, the landfills are gone as a result of the “Harborside Project”, which revitalized an economically-depressed industrial area.

All environmental issues were considered during the construction of what became the Harborside International Golf Center. Special provisions were used to protect roughly 25,000 high-quality fish, and over 200,000 fish were carefully removed from a section of Lake Calumet while deepening and improving their habitat. Former rubble landfill was used to build roadways and building foundations. The comprehensive planning of the project also benefited an area that lacked sewer, water, utilities and natural gas.
Now Harborside is internationally recognized as a triumph in Brownfield restorations. The project received the American Academy of Environmental Engineers award, its national “Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award”.

The Illinois International Port District Board, showing its stewardship to the historical natural region of the area, allocated some 18% of the Port District’s developable lands for a conservation area adjacent to the north turning basin of the harbor. This area has been replanted with quality wetland plants as well as deepening areas for fish and other wildlife habitat.

FalconsMost recently, the Port District has allowed for Peregrine Falcon nesting boxes to be placed on the property.  

Today, the Illinois International Port District remains committed to all environmental concerns and therefore has adopted a sustainable Environmental Policy.