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Plans Unveiled For Redevelopment Of Northeast End Of Grant Park

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Daley Bicentennial Plaza

Daley Bicentennial Plaza in Grant Park. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Drawings have been made public to transform the northernmost portion of Grant Park.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, renderings of the new Grant Park plans are on display downtown, in the Pedway at 108 N. State St. beneath the Block 37 mall.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

What is now the Daley Bicentennial Plaza will be removed, trees and all. In its place will be rolling hills, a winding ice skating path or “ribbon,” climbing walls, and a skateboard park.

The project will cost more than $30 million.

The park is being redesigned because it sits above the now-shuttered East Monroe underground parking garage. The roof of the garage needs to be torn off because it is in such bad shape.

Currently, Daley Bicentennial Plaza is more obscure, with an ice rink that long predates the one nearby at Millennium Park, as well as tennis courts, and a low-slung field house that is tucked under Randolph Drive.

Previously, Daley Bicentennial Plaza was selected as the site for a new Chicago Children’s Museum. In 2008, the City Council approved the controversial $100 million plan for to bring the museum to the plaza, over the objections of Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).

Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley was a strong backer of the move.

The vote came after five redesigns for the museum, the last of which called for it to be built mostly underground.

Nonetheless, the vote set the stage for a court fight over 172 years of legal protections — affirmed by four Illinois Supreme Court rulings — that have kept Grant Park “forever open, clear and free,” as civic leader Montgomery Ward sought.

And ultimately, the point became moot when the museum elected to stay at Navy Pier.

The price tag for the plaza renovation project is not certain yet, but the Park District is looking into using some of the $35 million set aside in the deal that led to a private lease for the city’s underground parking garages.

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