GPAC Meeting Focuses on Revitalization

(Published Aug. 31, 2019)

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

The Grant Park Advisory Council met at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Maggie Daley Field House. The meeting was mostly dedicated to the proposed revitalization of the southwest corner of Grant Park. Other topics included the dog-friendly area of Grant Park, by-law updates, and adding instructors at Maggie Daley Park.

Ernie Wong from Site Design Group, presented his vision for an overhaul of the southwest corner of Grant Park, located at Roosevelt and Michigan Ave. The location is currently home to the Agora art installation by Magdalena Abakanowicz. The art would not be affected by any changes to the surrounding area.

Wong focused on keeping the area connected to its historical roots, while creating more accessibility through updates.

The changes would have “more connection to nature,” Wong said. The new design includes naturalistic plantings, water installations, and soft materials used. 

Attendees liked the design, but wondered if it was too contemporary, or took away green space from the park. Wong assured he was willing to work with GPAC on their feedback and that his presentation was only a preliminary discussion.

Pam Foscia, the Dog-Friendly Committee President, suggested more funding to fix the infrastructure of the dog-friendly area of Grant Park. The dog-friendly area of Grant Park, located between 9th and Balbo, needs updating. It was added to the park thirteen years ago and has since become dilapidated. There is a lack of lighting, and visitors often feel unsafe in the area, she said.

Communities are built by people who own dogs,” Foscia said. The updating of the dog park would not only be for the dogs, but for the owners as well.

GPAC President Leslie Recht assured meeting-goers that she and other members of the committee were lobbying the Park District about funding for a variety of improvements. The lobbying will also include asking for more instructors to teach fitness classes at Maggie Daley, as more classes are a common request of the park.

Meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at 6:30 p.m. in the Maggie Daley Field House. The next meeting will be Sept. 18.