This may impact Burnham Harbor for boaters and concertgoers, and Meigs Field for pilots…
Thursday unveiling for Northerly Island plan
November 28, 2010 11:04 AM
What’s left of the former Meigs Field would be turned into a nature sanctuary and park, under plans to be unveiled this week by the Chicago Park District and its design team.
Plans for what is now called Northerly Island include stripping the old terminal building of its walls, transforming the internal structure into an open-air pavilion. The area would also include an underwater paradise for fish, plants and birds and an eco-friendly concert venue near Adler Planetarium.
“It’s an amazing project,” said Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy and Advisory Council.
The public meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave.
The design team is led by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, which designed the award-winning Aqua tower, and JJR, a landscape architecture and urban design firm.
Aviation advocates who want to restore Meigs Field as an airport will not likely participate. Steve Whitney, president of Friends of Meigs Field, said the group feels shut out of the design process and therefore will not attend.
“They just want input from the people who support what they want,” he said.
Indeed, park officials are adamant about developing the 91-acre peninsula into a serene and natural playground. The peninsula is on the migratory route for birds flying from Canada to South America.
“The framework plan incorporates designs for a multiseason use, and has green-friendly elements in the design,” Park District spokeswoman Zvezdana Kubat said in an e-mail.
Initial designs for the peninsula — refined from concepts introduced at a public meeting a year ago — include turning the old terminal building into an open-air pavilion free of walls and glass, common and often fatal obstacles for birds migrating through Chicago.
A harbor for aquatic wildlife would be on the peninsula’s east side — opposite the boat harbor on the west side. Rock formations would be built underwater to attract plants, fish and birds.
And architects will unveil a permanent design plan for the temporary 7,500-seat Charter One Pavilion venue, including a “green” roof. Funds from future concerts would help pay for the peninsula’s upkeep, O’Neill said.
“There’s no city in the world that has this opportunity right now,” he said. “You have this enormous area in the front of the city, with the skyline and everything, and to turn that area into a world-class nature area is unprecedented.”
— Erika Slife
via Chicago Breaking News