August 25, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Names New Downtown Park in Honor of Maggie Daley

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the new park scheduled to begin construction in North Grant Park later this fall will be named Maggie Daley Park to honor Chicago’s beloved late former First Lady. The 20-acre, multi-functional park will include multisensory landscaping; signature elements like rock-climbing sculptures, an ice-skating ribbon, and play garden; and multiple event spaces, all of which are emblematic of Mrs. Daley’s well-known love of children.  

“This new park will be a new jewel on Chicago’s lakefront, attracting visitors from Chicago and across the country to our vibrant downtown,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The beauty of this park and the number of amenities for children and families are a fitting tribute to a woman who gave so much of her own time to beautifying our City and improving the lives of children and young people. 

The park area is bordered by Columbus Drive, Randolph Street, Monroe Street and Lake Shore Drive. The parking structure underneath the park is undergoing repairs to the roof requiring the entire park area above to be completely removed, providing the City of Chicago and Chicago Park District with the unprecedented opportunity to redesign the area above the garage.

In addition to the new recreation and leisure opportunities created by the rock-climbing sculptures, ice-skating ribbon, and play garden, Maggie Daley Park will also include a variety of event spaces such as three large open lawn areas, a smaller lawn panel, café space and the skating ribbon. The park also will have picnic groves that can be used for smaller groups, such as birthday parties. 

The Daley Bicentennial Field House will be a central hub for the indoor and outdoor programming at Maggie Daley Park throughout the year.  Following construction, expanded programming will resume at Daley Bicentennial Field House. The core programs, such as day camps and pre-school, will be retained, and new programs made possible by the new park features such as the climbing park and skating ribbon will be added in 2014 and 2015. 

“Maggie Daley’s commitment to our city’s young people was unparalleled,” said Cindy Mitchell, former Board Commissioner of the Chicago Park District and co-founder of Friends of the Parks, who worked with Maggie Daley for many years. “Through her work, she inspired so many of us to serve others. Her legacy will live on in this park.”

The North Grant Park project began in March 2010 with a planning process that included extensive community involvement through six public, citywide meetings and several stakeholder meetings. The project was presented and approved at Plan Commission on August 16, 2012.   

The first phase of construction was issued for proposal in July 2012 and will be awarded in September 2012. The second phase of construction, which will include the site improvements, is anticipated to be issued for proposal in March 2013.  Construction will begin this fall and continue through substantial completion in winter 2014, with additional spring plantings in Spring 2015.

“The park, with its innovative green space, world-class children’s play area, ice skating ribbon, scooter plaza and many other amenities will be a very welcome addition to Grant Park.  As with Millennium Park, the new Maggie Daley Park will strengthen Chicago’s economic engine.   Maggie Daley Park will attract visitors from all over the world and will be yet another catalyst for Chicago’s downtown revitalization and attract people to live in the area,” said Bob O’Neill, president, Grant Park Conservancy.

“The new park will be a great benefit to the City and our guests, and will preserve many of the elements that have been enjoyed by the park’s closet neighbors,” added Noah Temaner Jenkins, president, Friends of Downtown.

The total project cost is estimated to be $55 million, which includes a combination of public and privately-raised funds.