- Chicago Press Release

For Immediate Release: For More Information, Contact:

August 12, 2016 Mike Gloekler, 423-238-7111, Ext. 22440


Outdoor Happiness Movement Announces Support of The 606

McKee Foods Proudly Supports Outdoor Spaces in Chicago

Chicago, Ill.; Collegedale, Tenn. – McKee Foods is proud to announce its partnership with The Trust for Public Land in support of The 606 – an innovative park and trail system featuring a trail set above city streets known as the Bloomingdale Trail and several neighborhood-based access parks. At 2.7-miles long, The 606 is the longest elevated rails-trails conversion in the country.


The 606 was shaped through a collaborative, long-term process that required vision, planning, partnership, public engagement, tenacity and successful execution. As far back as the early 2000s, talks between the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and a neighbors’ group called Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail were taking place, exploring how to turn the abandoned train line into much-needed green space. Thanks to The Trust for Public Land, a coalition of city and civic organizations was brought together to move the project forward.


“Our goal is to create new green spaces and refurbish smaller community spaces that can significantly contribute to the overall happiness of residents in cities and towns nationwide,” said Chris McKee, executive vice president of Marketing & Sales at McKee Foods. “The 606 is a perfect example of our commitment to the city of Chicago.”


The 606 connects four Northwest side Chicago communities, providing green space, places for children to play and a transportation corridor for runners, cyclists, walkers and others. Benches along the path allow for resting and enjoying the views. Thanks to the leadership from The Trust for Public Land, and support from corporations like McKee Foods, The 606 is now a place where thousands can experience outdoor happiness.


“It’s a joy to see people using The 606 as a part of their daily lives,” said Jamie Simone, Interim Chicago Region Director of The Trust for Public Land. “Research shows that parks promote public health and that’s evident every time we’re up there – we see people smiling, they look refreshed, they’re connecting with nature and to each other.”


People interested in learning more about OH! – the Outdoor Happiness movement can visit OutdoorHappinessMovement.com to hear about upcoming projects across the U.S. Visitors to the site can also make a pledge to go outside, have fun and find what makes them happy.


About OH! – the Outdoor Happiness movement:

McKee Foods is committed to helping communities across the country enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle by partnering with organizations that make public greenways, trails and parks available. We believe that these green spaces provide opportunities for outdoor activity that ultimately lead to a fun and active lifestyle. McKee Foods, owned and operated by the McKee family, has committed to donate more than $1 million over the next five years in an initiative called OH! – the Outdoor Happiness movement. The OH! movement represents a long-standing tradition in the McKee family in that since 2009, it has given more than $2.8 million to support the creation and preservation of parks, greenways and other outdoor spaces. For more information, or to join McKee Foods in its mission to get the country outside, please visit OutdoorHappinessMovement.com.


About McKee Foods:

McKee Foods, a family bakery with annual sales of about $1.4 billion, is a privately-held company based in Collegedale, Tenn. The McKee Foods story began during the height of the Great Depression when founder O.D. McKee began selling 5-cent snack cakes from the back of his car. Soon after, he and his wife, Ruth, bought a small bakery on Main Street in Chattanooga, Tenn., using the family car as collateral. Today, the company employs more than 5,750 people in Collegedale, Tenn.; Gentry, Ark.; Stuarts Draft, Va.; and Kingman, Ariz. It creates and produces Little Debbie® baked goods, Drake’s® cakes, Sunbelt Bakery® snacks and cereals, Heartland® brands and Fieldstone® Bakery food products. Visit mckeefoods.com for more information.


About The 606 The 606 is Chicago’s innovative park and trail system – featuring its centerpiece, the elevated, 2.7-mile-long Bloomingdale Trail – as well as four connected, ground-level neighborhood parks (with two more parks to come), the Exelon Observatory, public art installations, educational programming and other amenities. Kids are learning to ride their bikes here, commuters are finding a new shortcut to work and neighbors are making new friends. Serving more than 80,000 residents from surrounding neighborhoods and visitors from throughout Chicago and beyond, The 606 is changing the way you see our city. For more information visit The606.org.


About The Trust for Public Land The Trust for Public Land serves as lead private partner and project manager for The 606 on behalf of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To learn more visit www.tpl.org.


Take the OH! Pledge