Riverwalk Chicago style

news on the Chicago River walk (including bike paths, I hope).

Chicago Tribune Wacker Part II in works

Federal funding is falling into place to reconstruct the north-south section of Upper and Lower Wacker, from Randolph Street to Congress Parkway, probably in 2007 or 2008, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Washington is providing the first $25 million for the $280 million project. Increasing funding levels, still undetermined, are expected in subsequent years.

The new federal transportation bill Congress passed this summer also includes about a half-million dollars for the city to complete the design of a Chicago River walkway on the newly rebuilt east-west Wacker from Michigan Avenue to Lake Street.

The goal is drawing visitors to restaurants, shops and plazas on the water's edge. Floating parties made up of river barges featuring live music and other entertainment would pull up to dock walls under Mayor Richard M. Daley's plan to showcase the river as one of Chicago's greatest assets.

“We want to make the riverfront a destination,” said Brian Steele, city transportation spokesman.

If funding is secured in the next year or two, construction of the riverwalk could start in 2008 or 2009, he said. The riverwalk is estimated to cost $40 million to $50 million.

City officials have visited several cities, including Pittsburgh, San Antonio and San Diego, to study how they developed their riverfronts, Steele said.

Although much work remains, the first section of what eventually will become Chicago's riverwalk will be ready by Veterans Day, officials said. Wabash Plaza, the river-level venue being completed between Wabash and State Streets, will be home to a new Vietnam veterans memorial. A “water wall” honoring the approximately 2,900 Chicago soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War will be the memorial's centerpiece.

“The plaza will provide a good preview of what the rest of the riverwalk might look like,” Steele said.

City procurement officials are set to issue a request for proposals this year from concessionaires interested in bidding to operate restaurants and retail stores on the riverwalk, Steele said. Officials haven't decided whether to go with a master concessionaire who would manage everything, or split the venture among several vendors.
...Ultimately, the area will tie into the riverwalk via staircases and elevators.

North branch of the Chicago river, here

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on September 19, 2005 9:25 AM.

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