CHICAGO (CBS) — The long, controversial transformation of Northerly Island from airplane play lot for the rich and powerful to a public “urban oasis” along Lake Michigan culminated Friday with the official opening of Northerly Island Park.
The former Meigs Field airport was famously shut down–its runway shredded by bulldozers in the middle of the night–by Mayor Richard M. Daley a dozen years ago. On Friday, it was hailed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a “world-class urban oasis” with natural plantings, a new, large pond fed by Lake Michigan, man-made topographic enhancements and trails.
Northerly Island Park covers 43 acres on the southern end of what is actually a peninsula–connected to the Museum Campus on the North Side.
“The remarkable transformation of Northerly Island has fulfilled Daniel Burnham’s ultimate vision for the area, creating a spectacular green space in the midst of a bustling city, protecting and enhancing our lakefront for generations to come,” said Emanuel.
The mayor described the results at Northerly Island Park incredible.
“Nowhere else in the country can you be within just literally a mile of a downtown central business district that’s thriving, and have 40 acres of nature preserve,” he said.