The 606, a new 2.7-mile trail that runs through Chicago’s Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods, has garnered a lot of attention since opening last month. Amid the accolades, there is concern about gentrification, however.
The latest addition to the space, the Chicago Tribune reports, will be 50 WiFi hotspots from Comcast. While the connection is available to the public and free to customers, users who aren’t Comcast subscribers will get two free one-hour sessions monthly, before a $2.95-per-hour fee kicks in.
“The 606 not only serves the neighborhoods it touches, but offers the opportunity for other residents and visitors to explore the diverse and culturally rich communities it surrounds,” Michael Kelly, Chicago Park District CEO, said in a statement. “With the reinvention of this former rail line to a multipurpose trail that encourages fitness and recreation, adding Internet access will add an extra benefit for our patrons.”
The 606 revitalized an abandoned rail line in the style of New York’s High Line. The trail unites different areas of the city across a variety of socioeconomic levels, and the threat of increased housing prices in adjacent neighborhoods is a fear.
When the park opened June 6th, residents’ concerns over being priced out were taken to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. Though officials said a strategy would be put in place to avoid that from happening, specific steps such as tax breaks to longtime homeowners aren’t in place yet.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.