|Image from NJ.com|
Yesterday the Chicago Sun-Times had a good story talking about Lollapalooza and this topic. There was some controversy in 2011 as Grant Park took a beating from the festival:
Last year, a rainstorm combined with high foot traffic on the fest’s final day caused significant turf damage that took weeks to mend. C3 was criticized for its speed in making the repairs, for which it paid $800,000.
But Jones and Kelly have been discussing more long-term infrastructure improvements to the park, specifically in terms of drainage and soil retention — maintenance that Jones likened to “looking under the hood and fixing ’er up.”
“Lower Hutchinson Field has become a premier permitting space for the city,” Kelly said. “The [Avon] Breast Cancer Walk, the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, now Lollapalooza — it’s a big gathering space, and that’s not going to change. We’re going to take a serious look at how we can improve what’s going on at that site, how we can make it great for softball as well as for the semis that roll in and out for these larger events.”
Under its new terms with the city — a renegotiation that was initiated, Kelly and Jones said, by Jones and his partners, Charles Attal and Charlie Walker — C3 this year will begin paying all city and county sales and amusement taxes.
Through the previous arrangement, C3 was partnered not with the city itself but with the Parkways Foundation, a non-profit, fund-raising arm of the Park District, which handled all the city permits in exchange for an annual payment from Lollapalooza. Last year, according to the Park District, that amounted to $2.7 million on total ticket sales of $22.5 million.
Beyond improvements to Grant Park and revenue for the city, the Chicago Park District estimates that there is an overall economic impact to the city of $100 million from Lollapalooza. This is due to out of towners coming to the city and eating, drinking and being merry. If that's true, a lot of that has to be spent in the South Loop since the festival is in our backyard.
So what do you think? Is Lollapalooza a good thing for the Sloop? We think so, but would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons.