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Chicago Park District Mary Bartelme Park Opens

CHICAGO – This morning City of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley along with television journalist Bill Kurtis, 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., and the Chicago Park District (CPD) held a dedication for the recent completed Park 542 located in the West Loop community. Now called Mary Bartelme Park, it will offer the neighborhood much-needed open space, playground equipment, and a dog play area.

Site Design Group, an award-winning landscape architecture firm, worked in collaboration with the CPD and the West Loop Community Organization to design this truly unique park. Features include salvaged and reutilized architectural elements from the previous on-site building, native plant materials to conserve water, and the newest technology in architectural paving.

Identifying the park is a plaza area with five large stainless steel structures appearing twisted set in a field of brilliant white permeable pavers. The sculpture-like interactive misting water feature, surrounded by contrasting Cor-Ten steel planter walls filled with native perennials and forbs, is the park’s signature element. The brilliant white permeable pavers are manufactured by Unilock with TX Active® cement. Unilock is the premier manufacturer of architectural and permeable paver stones as well as segmental retaining walls.

Known as the smog-eating concrete, TX Active®, produced by Essroc, does just that; it is both pollution-reducing and self-cleaning. When exposed to sunlight, TX Active® destroys several atmospheric pollutants common to urban areas, the same pollutants that can dull and streak conventional concrete surfaces over time. While the photocatalytic properties of the pavers clean the air on a clear day, on a rainy day their permeable solution allows rainwater to flow through their surface, polluted rainwater filtrates naturally back into the ground, rather than being discharged into local sewers.

“We incorporated native plant materials and Unilock TX Active® pavers to reduce longterm maintenance cost for the CPD,” said Ernest Wong, Principal of Site Design Group. “In order for the plaza area to remain brilliant white over time, we included Unilock’s TX Active® permeable pavers to reduce the need for cleaning. And by using permeable pavers throughout park, the native plant materials will benefit from rainwater infiltrating into the ground.” The CPD does not typically include site irrigation.

The TX Active® was manufactured on Unilock’s Eco-Priora® permeable paver line. Eco-Priora® is available in six different finish options, which includes TX Active,® making it the most versatile permeable paver available to designers.

About Unilock

Unilock®, a family-owned and operated business, originally introduced the paving stone to North America in 1972. Backed by family values and a commitment to quality and innovation, Unilock® has grown to become the premier manufacturer of paving stones and retaining walls. Traveling the globe in search of new inspirations, Unilock® strives to stay in touch with the world of fashion, design, and manufacturing techniques. With many styles, textures, and colors, no one in the industry offers a wider range of design possibilities. Unilock began producing permeable pavers at the Aurora facility in 1987.

CPD West Loop Park 542 Renovation Project Description

Project location: S. Sangamon and W. Adams, W. Monroe and S. Peoria
Project size: 2.3 acres
Permeable paver: Eco-Priora®, 5 in × 10 in and 10 in × 10 in
Permeable paver color: Coffee Creek (brushed), Charcoal (smooth) and TX Active
Start date: October 2009
Completion date: August 2010