CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing a new plan to develop more of the Chicago riverfront. He says Chicago is a two water-front city with Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.
O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café located along the river is preparing to re-open in early May. Caitlin O’Brien’s family restaurant is expecting business to be booming again this year.
“It’s exceeded our expectations. Every year it gets busier and busier,” explains O’Brien.
The section of the riverfront from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street has been successful in attracting people. Many people dine, drink, walk around, and listen to live music.
“The river was mentally and physically essentially walled off from the rest of the city,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today, the walls have begun to come down and the river is a place Chicago comes together.”
The Mayor is planning to double the size of publicly accessible areas along the Chicago River, expanding from 5.5 miles to 11 miles along both the north and south branches.
One of the mayor’s projects includes creating a river-run to connect Irving Park, North Center, and Avondale.
“We’re connecting three parks, one bridge two miles long,” explains Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“We’re looking for more people swimming,” says Margaret Frisbie, the Executive Director of Friends of the River. “It’s cleaner all the time. We’ve made some really big improvements in the last three years.”
For the Mayor’s vision to come into fruition, he will have to get approval from City Council in order to acquire some pieces of property.