Brief Overview of What We’re Doing
Since 2017, Delta Institute has collaborated with the Illinois International Port District (IIPD) and we are grateful to the IIPD for being a long-term partner in so many projects, efforts, and activities related to their 2030 Master Plan. More specifically, Delta staff spend time on-site at IIPD on a weekly basis, with our shared efforts focusing on the IIPD’s growth of its institutional infrastructure and the creation of local economic development opportunities to achieve sustainable land management. Delta provided additional capacity through project management assistance, applied for funding on behalf of the IIPD for prospective projects, and facilitated stakeholder communication and engagement.
IIPD is poised for future growth due to its strong position in the freight distribution network; open space assets; proximity to a large workforce; oversight of industrial maritime zones and tenants; and jurisdiction over conservation and recreational areas. The IIPD is an important anchor institution that hosts critical infrastructure, industrial businesses, and environmental assets in the Calumet Region. IIPD’s footprint is significant, with jurisdiction over conservation and recreational areas. The IIPD is divided into two areas of operation referred to as Lake Calumet and Iroquois Landing. Lake Calumet is approximately 1,500 acres of commercial and industrial use, with the north side utilized for recreation and the south and east sides utilized for industrial. Iroquois Landing is approximately 190 acres that is entirely utilized for industrial operations. Given its position, the IIPD is strategically positioned to improve overall quality of life in the Calumet Region through infrastructure investments and improvements and through ongoing engagement and collaboration with the surrounding communities.
Delta knows that the IIPD seeks to modernize to have beneficial economic, social and environmental outcomes. In order to carry out its vision for a world-class port, the IIPD has identified a series of projects and opportunities to pursue to improve infrastructure; grow industrial activity; create recreation opportunities; and plan for a more sustainable and productive Port.
Key work areas that Delta and the IIPD have collaborated on include:
Grant Management and Submissions: Delta explored and tracked grant opportunities for the Port, with submissions totaling more than $35M in solicited investment in IIPD. Delta both assisted and led application submittals for several projects, some of which have already been awarded including the FEMA Port Security grant (award of $367,000 for updated security equipment and maintenance at Iroquois Landing) and an Invest in Cook grant (award of $293,000 to conduct a rail expansion feasibility study). The IIPD is also actively pursuing funding for infrastructure updates to Iroquois Landing, transit shed updates, and other projects related to the Master Plan.
Green Marine Certification: Delta and IIPD achieved Green Marine Certification for the Port, as well as subsequent re-certifications. Green Marine is an environmental certification program that offers a comprehensive framework for maritime companies to benchmark and then reduce their environmental footprint.
Strategy and Planning: Delta Institute also supported the IIPD and CMAP in developing the Port’s Master Plan. Not only do these activities anchor the IIPD as a community asset toward reaching local environmental and economic goals, but they also demonstrate the ways in which multiple communities throughout the Southeast Side and along the Calumet River and Lake Calumet benefit from its work.
Beyond our on-site staffing collaboration, Delta is also working on the Southeast Side, and in collaboration with IIPD, on the creation of sustainable redevelopment guidelines that may be utilized both on the SE Side as well as in other Chicago neighborhoods. This serves as one of many projects that are operating through our multi-faceted relationship with this important anchor institution on Chicago’s Southeast Side.
Our Lasting Impact
With new and planned investment happening at the IIPD, it’s essential to amplify the impact of this development activity via ongoing, consistent capacity building to then maximize the beneficial impacts to the surrounding community with additional sustainable redevelopment and workforce opportunities. Given its position, the IIPD is strategically positioned to improve overall quality of life in the Calumet Region through infrastructure investments and improvements and through ongoing engagement and collaboration with the surrounding communities.
Delta’s capacity support over the past three years has directly resulted in capital and planning funds coming to the IIPD, visionary projects move forward, and applications submitted for additional transformational funding for the Port. This work has laid the groundwork for the new strategic direction and chapter for the IIPD—so that the IIPD continues working toward its goal to modernize its facilities to have beneficial economic, social and environmental outcomes.
Our Partners and Collaborators
Delta Institute is very appreciative of the many hours that the IIPD has spent with us over the past years to help advance the Port’s goals related to community engagement and sustainability; these efforts have been generously underwritten by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Delta is also working on a stormwater wetland project on IIPD land adjacent to Lake Calumet, and we are deeply appreciative to The Chicago Community Foundation, A Corporate Affiliate of the Chicago Community Trust, and the Great Rivers Chicago program for entrusting us to this important work to make our region’s rivers more productive, healthier, and vibrant for the many communities and neighborhoods that utilize and benefit from them.
Delta is continuing our successful partnership with IIPD via our embedded capacity support to ensure momentum toward the ambitious and impactful Master Plan goals, while we connect our efforts to dovetailed project scopes that will result in sustainable, community-led planning throughout the Southeast Side. Together, the IIPD and Delta are spurring sustainability-focused economic development and conservation-driven environmental quality improvement so that Southeast Side Chicagoans benefit from this amazing resource located in their own backyard.
Our work with the IIPD is a cornerstone of our Sustainability and Support Services, and is a hallmark service related to our strategic planning.