Monday, January 12, 2009

Interview with Patrick Ryan

The Chicago Tribune recently sat down with Pat Ryan, former CEO of AON and current chairman of the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid, to talk about the bid's potential legacy and how it relates to and draws inspiration from Daniel Burnham's plan for Chicago.

Two answers stick out to me as specifically interesting for Sloopin residents as he talks about how northerly island and the south side of Burnham park (which is south of McCormick Place) could be transformed for the Olympics:

Q. What sort of legacy might the 2016 Games leave in Burnham Park and the portion of that park called Northerly Island?

A. We are talking about using Northerly Island a lot more to build upon Burnham's vision. During the Games, Northerly Island would be the site of beach volleyball, sailing and canoe/kayak events. Afterward, we want to create an outdoor recreation oasis on the island.

In addition to a kayak slalom course, the center will have a permanent center for wall-climbing, rafting and kayaking. And there will be a center for youth sailing. We also want to develop the southern section of the island into a wetland environment, to promote conservation and increase the bird population.

Q. How about the southern end of Burnham Park, south of McCormick Place?

A. We're going to have our Olympic Village on the site of Michael Reese Hospital. There will be a new harbor at 31st Street for sailboats and powerboats. We envision a sizable park over the site of the McCormick Place truck marshaling yards west of Lake Shore Drive. And we are looking at pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore Drive -- at least one and hopefully more.

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