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CHICAGO (CBS) — The northern tier of Grant Park will soon be getting a major makeover, and a new name in honor of late Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, the planned new park is located directly to the east of Millennium Park – bounded by Columbus Drive, Randolph Drive, Lake Shore Drive and Monroe Drive.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports
Currently, it is known simply as North Grant Park. But it will soon be re-christened Maggie Daley Park, after the late wife of retired Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The new 20-acre park is actually a $55 million renovation of the northern section of Grant Park.
Retired Mayor Daley was present Saturday as Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed him and his family at the Cultural Center. Emanuel said naming the park after Maggie Daley was a natural move.
“On behalf of the entire city, I want to say to Rich, Nora, Patrick and Lally – I can’t thank you enough for sharing Maggie with all of us, and letting her touch all of our lives,” Emanuel said.
Plans for the new park were unveiled in January. It will replace the old Daley Bicentennial Plaza, an underutilized space with an ice skating rink that has long been eschewed in favor of the one located steps away at Millennium Park.
Under the plans, Daley Bicentennial Plaza will be removed, trees and all. In its place at the new Maggie Daley Park will be rolling hills, a winding ice skating path or “ribbon,” climbing walls, and a skateboard park.
Maggie Daley Park will also include event spaces such as three large open lawn areas, a smaller lawn panel, a café space, and picnic groves, the Mayor’s office said.
The park has to be 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.
But the Daley Bicentennial Field House will remain as a hub for indoor and outdoor programming at the park, the Mayor’s office said.
One institution that will not be coming to Maggie Daley Park is the Chicago Children’s Museum, although earlier plans called for the museum to move to the site.
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). 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.
But ultimately, the point became moot when the museum elected to stay at Navy Pier.
Maggie Daley Park will open in late 2014.