Parkway Corner Initiative

What is Parkway Corner Initiative (PCI)?

The Parkways Corner Initiative restores public parkway corners within NNA's borders to pollinator-friendly landscapes created from native plant sources.  These corners create a colorful array of pesticide-free, bee, bird, butterfly and even bat-friendly corners within our neighborhood.  These native plant landscapes are visually beautiful, flowering three seasons while providing pollinator forage that require no chemical additives or pesticides. There is no longer the need for mowing, further decreasing the carbon footprint.  Native plants are ideal for the corners, since they are deep-rooted plants and help to absorb rainwater deep into the soil versus short rooted plants and grasses. In addition, native plants withstand a large range of wet-to-dry conditions making the requirements of these landscapes low maintenance.

These native plant corners will be constructed and maintained by volunteer "land stewards" living on the block where the corner is located, trained and aided by NNA volunteers.  Plants will come from North Branch Restoration Project (NBRP) wild gardeners.  These are native species that would normally be weeded out, but instead will find a new home in the parkway corners.  This project is in line with NBRP's long time interest in promoting the wider use of native species in gardens and beautification projects.

This initiative is a volunteer collaboration between the Northcenter Neighborhood Association and the North Branch Restoration Project.  This initiative is a pilot program for NBRP, and one of NBRP's first attempts of creating native plant landscapes within an urban, high-trafficked area.


Who is eligible to apply for a corner?

Resident members of Northcenter Neighborhood Association

Membership is annual $10 for individuals, $20 for families. **FIRST YEAR MEMBERSHIP IS FREE** To become a member visit our membership page.

What if I have never gardened before?

No worries! This initiative is part educational, part environmentally responsible and part fun. All corner stewards will receive hands-on instructions and support from the PCI team as well as be invited to a variety of exciting educational events.

What is expected of me?

Create a team of 2-3 or more corner stewards to rotate in care and maintenance of your chosen corner for a 3-year term.

  • Prepare corner area for planting
  • Water
  • Weed
  • Maintain and nurture
  • Prepare for winter and spring
  • Etc.

How many corners are available to be installed?

Our goal is to install 7 - 14 corners.

How are corners chosen?

Combination of first come first served, and whose corner is most ideal to be converted into a thriving corner garden. The work currently being done by People’s Gas and the city for sewer lines in our neighborhood needs to be completed before breaking ground on a parkway corner.

What can I expect the corner to look like?

Each corner will receive approximately 30-40 plants (depending on size). At first the plants will seem small and somewhat spread apart  (with the exception of the anchor plant which will be larger and more established) but by the second year the corner will fill out and take on a beautiful appearance.

What am I not allowed to do with my corner?

The goal of the PCI is to create an urban native plant ecosystem. Therefore, we ask that only native plants be planted. We require your agreement that your corner NOT be treated with chemicals (pesticides, herbicides and fungicides etc.) It makes no sense to create a beautiful ecosystem for our wildlife and let the chemicals run off into our drainage system (most catch basins are at the corner) PCI will provide fencing, a sign and a few barrier rocks to keep the corners looking consistent.

What can I do to make my corner a little extra special?

Insects need water! Consider providing a shallow dish with twigs in it to keep our bees hydrated:

  • Mason bee house
  • Birdbath
  • Small sitting area
  • Etc.

However, remember that this is the big city and sometimes things get stolen, so don’t put any item out that would break your heart to loose.

What is the cost?

$125.00 - $250.00 per corner (depending on size) will give you plants for your corner as well as replacing any needed plant due to damage or loss over the 3-year commitment. Bought at your local nursery the cost for an average size corner with plant alone would easily reach the value of $400!  The reason you will get your corner for such a low price is because North Branch Restoration Project will be donating a majority of the plants. The rest of the money will go toward signage, fencing and supplies for general maintenance etc.

Each group of corner stewards will also be responsible for providing a water source and hosing as well as basic gardening tools for the general care and maintenance.

What are some of the perks to maintaining a corner?

Your corner will automatically be added into the annual Northcenter Neighborhood Garden Walk map. Stewards will be invited to any of the special events held by the Northcenter Neighborhood Garden Club, to mid-summer or fall seed processing event with the North Branch Restoration Project, and to any of the special events held by the Environmental Committee. Most importantly, you will have made this already beautiful neighborhood even more beautiful. Value = priceless!

Sounds Great! How do I sign up?

Fill out the attached application form and send that along with your check payment of $125 to the address below. If you would prefer an electronic payment, please request that an invoice be emailed to you when you submit your completed forms.

Because the Parkway Corner Initiative is a community effort, consider raising the money collectively from families on your block, or include PCI as a fundraised effort at your block or other neighborhood gatherings. You can also find a generous donor that wants to support the beautification of your neighborhood.

Northcenter Neighborhood Association

c/o PARKWAY CORNERS INITIATIVE P.O. Box 180180 Chicago, Illinois 60618

If you would like your corner converted into a beautiful, native, urban landscape then please read and complete the forms below. They can be mailed to the above address or emailed as an attachment to 
Elizabeth Wenscott by Monday, April 21, 2014.



Call Elizabeth Wenscott at 773-396-2653 or email The Greening of Northcenter.

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