Project New Leaf entered Phase II last spring and it’s been a busy summer of progress. Of course, if you’ve been to the park lately, you may have noticed that progress is not always pretty! Portions of the east side of the estate are under construction, partially in view from the back door of the Visitors Center.

Fortunately, Phase I of the project (completed last winter) addressed the “front” of the park, so we’ve been able to host our usual schedule of festivals, concerts and special events in 2019. Many more are coming up, so be sure to check our Fall Events Guide–posted HERE on or pick up a copy at the park.

The upper and lower display gardens are looking beautiful and in a few weeks will be replanted for the fall season. In July, we dedicated the new Hosta Garden (just south of the Visitors Center) in partnership with the Northern Illinois Hosta Society.

Our new restroom and information building along the Oak Colonnade is proving to be a valuable addition to the park and getting plenty of use. On weekends, you may be greeted there by a Cantigny Volunteer Ambassador, a new position within our volunteer program. The ambassadors, 23 so far, are trained to answer questions from guests and provide directions if needed.

Butterfly Hill, at the south end of the Colonnade, opened to the public in July. Next time you visit, take a stroll to the top and enjoy the view. For the first time, Cantigny Golf is fully visible from the park, as is the giant butterfly-shaped flower bed that inspired the hill’s name.

Again, Phase II of Project New Leaf involves areas east of the Visitors Center, including the Fountain Garden, McCormick House Allée, Prairie View, Rock Garden and several “garden rooms,” such as the Octagon Garden.

Behind the fences, our vision for an even better Cantigny Park is coming to life. Please CLICK HERE to watch a brief video about Phase II and what to expect. Artistic renderings, featured in the video, can be viewed HERE.

We are on track for Phase II to be completed in fall 2020. Before then, we will bring areas of the park back online as they are completed, including several areas this fall.

Outside the First Division Museum, near the “Big Red One” flower bed, we recently created a memorial comprised of steel beams from the World Trade Center buildings in New York. Please join us for a dedication ceremony on September 11 that will remember the fallen and honor local first responders.

We appreciate your patience during this exciting and important time in Cantigny’s evolution. I’m confident that Project New Leaf, when finished, will meet your high expectations.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Matt LaFond
Executive Director
Cantigny Park

The centerpiece of the new Fountain Garden is taking shape, just east of the Visitors Center.


This aerial view shows the main area of Phase II construction in late July. The Idea Garden, which will remain intact, is near the center of the image.


A 9/11 memoral outside the First Division Museum, featuring these World Trade Center beams, will be dedicated on September 11, at 4:30 pm.









Posted by Jeff Reiter

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