Howard & Frankie Alper are Chicago Business and Social Leaders. Howie founded Alper Services in 1966, one of the largest independent insurance brokers and consulting firms in Chicago, which he managed and grew until selling in 2020. Howie was active on numerous Business and Charitable Boards, including La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Better Government Association where he developed the BGA-Alper Integrity Index, Spencer Trust, LaPunta Mexico Homeowners Association, and the Scottsdale Museum of the West. Frankie founded Friends of La Rabida. She was chief organizer of their fund-raising events, raising over $10M during her tenure, and was active in many social and charitable organizations.
About the Garden
This expressway garden’s location is quite unique – as motorists pass by, they see the Flame of the Millennium to the left and the Chicago skyline to the right. Nicely manicured grass and a grove of trees green up this site on the southbound Kennedy lanes at the Ohio Street exit ramp.
Flame of the Millennium, 2002, by Leonardo Nierman
This 25-foot high stainless steel sculpture suggests a flame blown by the wind and it is an appropriately dynamic piece for its chosen location next to a busy expressway. It was a gift from Mexico City as part of the International Sculpture Exchange Program, which was established by the city of Chicago to help enhance its “gateways” by installing works of public art from Chicago’s international sister cities.
Leonardo Nierman was born in 1932 in Mexico City to immigrant parents from Lithuania and Ukraine, regions that are well represented in the population of the city of Chicago. Nierman is part of a generation of Mexican artists who have moved away from the influence of Mexican Muralists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, in the direction of more abstract works that respond to formalist tendencies in Modernism.
100 gardens cover almost 150 acres of roadside landscapes on all major expressways leading in and out of Chicago
The Expressway Partnership Program
The Expressway Partnership Program turns dreary embankments into ribbons of green parkways weaving through the city. More than 100 gardens comprise the Program, covering almost 150 acres of roadside landscapes on all major expressways leading into and out of the city. Each garden is carefully planned using native shrubs, trees, and perennials that require fewer resources and are well adapted to the harsh roadside growing conditions. We work closely with professional landscape crews to provide plant care, weed control, mowing, and litter pickup from April through October to ensure our gardens always look their best!