Wednesday, June 27, 2018

June 27, 2001 -- Soldier Field Renovations Receive Approval



June 27, 2001 –A Chicago Park District committee gives preliminary approval to a measure that will lead to a $582 million renovation of Soldier Field.  Testimony at the meeting is split between opponents and backers of the plan with the biggest outcry coming from veterans demanding assurances that the Chicago Bears will not sell the name of the field to a corporate sponsor. Korean and Vietnam War veteran Norvel West says, “If anybody is crazy enough to put their name on Soldier Field, we will stop buying their product.” [Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2001]Ultimately Park District Superintendent David Doig receives authority to enter into four agreements to renovate Solider Field, tear down the old park district headquarters, add 17 acres of parkland to Burnham Park, and give the Chicago Bears a 30-year lease at the renovated stadium.  The above photos give a pretty good idea of the results of the measures approved that day.


June 27, 1899 – The Lincoln Park Commissioners sign an agreement with the N. P. Glann Construction Company to complete the paving of Diversey Boulevard form Clark Street to the North Branch of the Chicago River.  This will be the last link in the chain of boulevards that connect Lincoln Park with the West Side park system.  It has taken three years to get final approval for the project with the work twice being put out to bid with all of the bids subsequently rejected because, according to a park commissioner, “the lowest was too high.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 28, 1899] The board will follow the wishes of the property owners on Diversey in determining whether crushed cobblestone or crushed granite will be used as the roadbed.  The above photo shows the intersection of Diversey Parkway, Broadway and Clark Street just about this time.


June 27, 1965 – Ira Bach, the Chicago Plan Commissioner, predicts that the Chicago River in the downtown area will be transformed into “one of the world’s most beautiful waterways in the next 10 years.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1965]  He only missed the mark by forty years.  “The new Pioneer Court dedicated . . . by the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and the Tribune company, is the latest exquisite example of how the river bank can be beautified by an unusual development,” Bach said.  “With other major riverbank construction programs on the planning boards, other plazas and landscaped open spaces can be expected to be created along the river in the next decade.”  A year ago in June Bach’s prediction proved, for the most part, to have come true as the 100 million dollar Riverwalk has opened the entire south side of the river from Lake Michigan to Lake Street.


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