The future of Northerly Island seems promising, but definitely uncertain. We've spent a lot of time on Sloopin discussing the various proposals put forth to transform this prime real estate into something more functional for the community. The most recent we just posted about in February.
But we most likely wouldn't be having these conversations if Mayor Richard M. Daley didn't order bulldozers out to the island to destroy the Meigs Field airstrip ten years ago.
The Tribune recently had a great article talking about the past, the present and the future of the high-profile "island". For people who don't know the history or need a refresher, it's definitely worth a read. The act by Da Mayor was infamous and is a very prominent example of the old school "Chicago Way".
Regardless how you feel about this move, we can only move forward. And the Tribune provides the current state of an ambitious plan to completely transform the island (see image below from the Tribune). While this transformation will happen over various periods, supposedly some of the changes are happening soon:
Completing the plan will likely take many years and cost tens of millions of dollars. The Park District doesn't even have a ballpark estimate of the total cost, Biagi said.
But the Army Corps of Engineers will break ground on the wilderness portion of the project in the coming weeks, officials said.
"This is a plan that inherits 100 years worth of thinking, and we're actually building it this year," Biagi said. "It's amazing, as a civic achievement, in a town where we do care about planning."
The corps will pay $5 million of the $7.7 million cost of building the ecosystems on the southern portion of the site. The Park District will provide the rest from funds saved from concert proceeds. Construction is expected to take about a year, and the corps will maintain the nature preserve for five years, Biagi said.
Also under way is a renovation of Charter One Pavilion. The lakefront concert venue will expand from nearly 5 acres to nearly 7 acres, with an additional 6 acres of lawn area, officials said. An additional 600 fixed seats will be added to the existing 8,000, and 22,000 lawn seats will bring the venue's total capacity to more than 30,000, officials said. Live Nation, the entertainment company that puts on the concerts, will pay the $3 million cost of the renovation. The new setup will be used for shows this summer.