Coiled Serpent Mound Project

HPAC is excited that the earthwork mount sculpture Fololokah Cin Cinto (or “Coiled Serpent”) will officially be opening in spring of 2023.

HPAC first learned of the Coiled Serpent Mound project during the project announcement in May of 2018. While we found the idea intriguing, given the size and scale of the project we wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for community input and time to consider other concerns that had been raised before weighing in.

HPAC hosted community meetings and our concerns were quickly resolved, save one. In 2013 the United States Army Corp of Engineers made funding available to restore the west riverbank of the Chicago River along Horner Park’s eastern border. This was a 14-acre, $6.2 million dollar, multi-year project that included restoring an Oak Savanna on the southeast corner of the park—right where 4000N was now asking for the mound to go. The impacted sections of the park had been fenced off from use for five years (2014-2019) so that the natural plantings could become well established. In exchange for funding these improvements, the Army Corp and the Chicago Park District entered into an agreement by which the Park District was required to maintain the restored spaces as designed. Should the Park District opt to use the space for other purposes it would be required to create a like natural area in another section of the park equivalent to the area it was disturbing. For example, if an acre of the restored land was destroyed, another acre of land in a different area of the park would have to be turned into a natural area with like plantings, an expensive endeavor that would involve closing off that area off from use for several years.

In light of these constraints, we had concerns regarding how the mound project would impact other areas of the park and who would be paying for the required remediation. In June of 2020, the Park District received word that the Army Corp would not consider the Coil Mound project as a disturbance requiring remediation. At that point, HPAC was finally able to send its letter of unconditional support. We recognize that 4000N, the Chicago Public Arts Group, the American Indian Center and Santiago X, among others, have worked long and hard on this project, and we thank them for their commitment.

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