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Work continues on Calumet City riverwalk and canoe launch

By George Grenchik, with information from Calumet City

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (October 28, 2020) – Work is underway to clear space for a canoe and kayak launch along the Little Calumet River as part of a new park and recreation area planned in Calumet City.

Development on “Blues Water Run” will include a canoe and kayak launch, both a large and small dog park, riverwalk, multi-use trails, band shell, and both a bocce ball and frisbee golf area. Educational exhibits are also being envisioned.

Blues Water Run
A rendering of the new park and canoe launch was released by Calumet City on May 28, 2020. (Graphic from
Blues Water Run
This close-up rendering shows the locations of the restrooms, band shell, bocce ball area, and more. (Graphic from

Grants and funding

Calumet City received grant funding for much of the boat and kayak launch to be developed on fifteen acres of open space along the Little Calumet River, southwest of the Torrence Avenue and Ring Road intersection.

The city’s Economic Development Department received grants from both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in the amount of $480,000, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in the amount of $1.4 million. The total cost of the project, according to a city press release, is $2.3 million.

Outdoor attraction

“Blues Water Run” is the name of the project, perhaps a reference to Calumet City’s prominence in The Blues Brothers film.

“Blues Water Run promises excitement and opportunity for Calumet City residents to gather with family and friends, enjoy nature and outdoor activities right within their community. It will be a beacon to attract even more visitors and shoppers to our 159th Street Corridor and River Oaks Mall,” Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush said in an August 20 press release.

Calumet City
Work has already begun to clear space for the new park and recreational space. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Calumet City
A view of the north end of where the park will be, taken from near the Little Calumet River. The parking lot on the right is for the U.S. Bank building. (Photo: George Grenchik)

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently finished some road work—unrelated to the grants for the Blues Water Run project—on the Torrence Avenue Bridge over the Little Calumet River that is the boundary between Calumet City and Lansing on the east side of Torrence.

Work is presently underway to clear the land for the Blues Water Run project, with construction projected to start in the spring. Once finished, conceptual renderings show the area will be accessed from Ring Road, immediately west of Tilly’s Pit & Pub.


Calumet City
This map shows the locations of nearby trails as well as proposed trails to connect Blues Water Run to the surrounding area. (Graphic from

More information about Blues Waters Run can be found on Calumet City’s website.


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The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.


  1. Looks like a nice addition to Calumet City.
    It seems like a long way to carry your canoe from the drop-off point to the river bank.

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