CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Mayor Richard Daley on Monday led his own tour through Millennium Park and letting visitors know his feelings about honey locust trees, voter polling, graffiti, and the Bean.
Daley met some 20 Idea Week visitors at on the park’s north end where he talked about how business raised about half the $475 million cost of the park which he envisioned, pushed and saw dedicated in 2004.
He told the tour group that he wanted an international-class park in the area at Randolph and Michigan, which was an eyesore filled with gravel, train tracks and parked cars.
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He said the area deserved to be something more than a collection of baseball and soccer fields.
Now he says it’s a global attraction over the largest green roof in the world.
Daley, accompanied by Park Director Ed Uhlir, told how he was determined that the park be planted with something besides the durable but boring urban standbys: the honey locust tree. Said said:
“We’ve already got a million of them,” he said.
Uhlir said the area along the Crown Fountain is now shaded with London Plane Trees nurtured in New Jersey.
Daley explained he rejected any notion that the great lawn at the Pritzker pavilion be covered with artificial turf.
Uhlir said that the competition for the sculptural center piece, now occupied by the Bean, came down to designs by Anish Kapoor and high-profile artist Jeff Koontz.
Uhlir explained Koontz’s vision involved a 150 foot totem pole bearing faces of a monkey, a donkey and a goat with an observation tower and slide down from 90 feet.