After all the stürm und drang about the Chicago Children’s Museum being relocated to Daley BiCentennial Plaza against the wishes of Alderman Reilly and many of the 42nd Ward’s constituents, it turns out they are not moving from Navy Pier anytime soon. Victory, in other words.
In the latest sign that the controversial plan to move the Chicago Children’s Museum to Grant Park is crumbling, Chicago Park District officials on Wednesday unveiled revised plans for the section of the park where the museum wanted to relocate, but the plans (left) no longer include the museum.
“What’s going on with the Children’s Museum?” the park district’s director of planning and development, Gia Biagi, said while addressing the topic before a citizens group that advises the park district. “Well, they’re not coming to Grant Park.”
Her statement was met with applause from some of the people at the Grant Park Advisory Council and Conservancy’s meeting.
The council’s president, Bob O’Neill, said in an interview before the meeting that he has “no evidence that they’re going to locate (the museum) in Grant Park. In my opinion, it’s dead.”
Museum officials confirmed that the mostly underground, $100 million new home they envisioned is not included in the park district’s latest plan for the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, which forms Grant Park’s northeast corner. But they were not ready to use the D-word.
“I wouldn’t say that the plan is dead. Daley Bi still remains a viable option,” said Natalie Kreiger, a museum spokeswoman. “The truth is that we’re just focusing most of our efforts on Navy Pier right now.”
O’Neill, previously a supporter of the museum’s move, said several factors had undermined it.
“It’s not a really good economy, so a capital campaign is dificult,” he said. In addition, he said, Navy Pier Inc., the non-profit that recently took over the pier’s operations from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, is more strongly focused on cultural attractions and entertainment and is pushing hard to keep the museum at the pier. “I can tell you that the Children’s Museum has dropped out of this project,” O’Neill said, referring to the revised plans for Daley Bicentennial Plaza. “They have not been in any of the dicussions. I haven’t talked to them since the beginning of summer.”