CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago River isn’t quite what it used to be, and elected officials took great effort to prove that Saturday.
Wearing a wet suit, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was all smiles as she emerged after the “Big Jump.”
Preckwinkle joined more than a dozen others who jumped into the river at Ping Tom Park in Chinatown to prove the river is safe for people with normal immune systems. Preckwinkle said the event is “a long overdue effort to help cleanup the river.”
The “Big Jump,” hosted by Friends of the Chicago River, was intended to highlight the steps taken to improve the river’s water quality.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky had a response similar to Preckwinkle’s, saying, “It [the river] felt clean, the temperature was perfect. It was a great day to swim in the Chicago River.”
Participation was limed to the elected officials.
Rep. Mike Quigley said, “We’ve made a lot of progress to ensure [the] Chicago River is clean and enjoyable for all, but we’ll keep working to protect this key resource.”
Other officials who jumped into the river included City Clerk Anna Valencia, State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis and Robert Kaplan, acting regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.