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Update: Maggie Daley Park Construction

Maggie Daley Park, the highly-anticipated development of Daley Bicentennial Plaza into a mixed-use recreational area, will be officially opening to ice skaters this Saturday.

The ice skating ribbon, one of the park’s major features, will open for the first time on Saturday, December 13, at 11:30am. Like the nearby McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, admission will always be free on the ice ribbon, though skate rentals will cost a $12 fee. For the opening on Saturday, rentals will be free too.

It is hoped that this new development will not only complement Chicago's world-class Millennium and Grant Parks, but also that it will connect the Loop to the lakefront in an impactful way, in addition to increasing tourist travel to the Loop and the surrounding areas.

A rendering of the park from its website: ice ribbon and climbing walls shown on northwest side, tennis courts on northeast side, and play garden on south side.

In the meantime, there are quite a few other features to get excited about in the park:

  • Climbing walls – the climbing walls will be located in the center of the ice ribbon, and the structures are progressing rapidly. The end result will be a main wall for beginning and intermediate climbers as well as an alternate wall for expert climbers, which some speculate could eventually host competitions.
  • Play garden – a three-acre area with custom structures and sculptures designed for children’s play. It is yet unclear exactly what this area will look like, though reportedly most play structures are in place.
  • Peanut Park tennis courts – the northeast corner of the park, previously a five-acre public space called Peanut Park, will feature six tennis courts, in response to popular demand for tennis in Grant Park.
  • Light Masts – the abstract “Light Masts” in the park – large white tripod structures – will provide a unique lighting experience for evening visitors, in addition to alerting them of the park’s closure by dimming around 10:00pm.

The park is set to open officially in Spring 2015. By then, the ice ribbon will be a walking path for visitors and residents. You can view progress and live webcam feeds on the project’s website.

(Header Photo: Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)


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