Organization Poised to Support the Next Phase of Big Marsh Development
Friends of Big Marsh is pleased to announce that Paul Fitzgerald has been named the organization’s first Executive Director. Paul brings organizational management expertise, a strong commitment to the South Side community and experience with bicycles as a tool of empowerment and sustainability.
Board member, Jamal Julien, describes Paul as having a “desire to get his hands dirty and be the change he seeks in the community” New executive leaderships will launch Friends of Big Marsh into the next phase of the park’s rapid development. The park and the first phase of the bike park opened in 2016 and additional mountain bike trails are under construction. The Ford Environmental Center will break ground this fall. Friends of Big Marsh is now poised to generate public support and donations to help the Chicago Park District build the “Big Hill” and other bike park, environmental, and recreation improvements. This commitment and investment will build Big Marsh into a treasured regional and community destination for eco-recreation, uniting both ecology and recreation.. Julien adds “I know not only will the children and families have fun, they will gain life skills, community values and culture”.
Paul describes his new responsibilities as “a dream come true.” He grew up in the Ashburn neighborhood delivering the South West News Herald by bicycle. After being a bicycle messenger and teaching bicycle mechanics to youth in North Lawndale and Humboldt Park with West Town Bikes, Paul began his time at Working Bikes. There Paul co-founded a sliding scale service department and became General Manager. Since 2012, Paul has served Working Bikes mission to make donated bicycles accessible as tools of empowerment, Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from UIC and was a 2017 Fellow of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy.
Paul Fitzgerald can be contacted at Paul@bigmarsh.org.