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City Charges To Publicly View Its Private Parts

By Scott Smith in News on Sep 1, 2005 5:00PM

In a post earlier this week on the city’s concert scene, commenter Hugh objected to the city charging people to sit on the lawn in Millennium Park during last night’s Tori Amos show. Now the Friends of the Park group is adding their voice to those who question the private vs. public nature of the park system’s pride and joy.

2005_09_01_pritzker.jpgThe Sun-Times reports that last night’s concert was the first time the city charged an admission price for the lawn area. Friends of the Park president Erma Tranter stated that it’s “a precedent that is totally going against the plan for the park as a free and open space for the public.” Yet Millennium Park is both a private and publicly-funded space so the city feels justified in closing some or all of the spaces for events. In this case, only the Pritzker Pavillion area was closed to the public but expect this argument to begin again around September 8th as execs from Toyota have rented out the majority of the park for the day (to the tune of $800,000), essentially closing one of Chicago’s major tourist attractions (PDF).

While you could argue that $10 is a small price to pay to hear an artist of Amos’s stature, the city seems to be going out of their way to gouge its residents. First, they charged $10 a head to sit on the lawn (although a smaller-than-capacity crowd in the pavilion meant some lawn denizens got upgraded thanks to some friendly security guards). Then the city added insult to injury by preventing anyone from bringing any beverages into the space, including water. Of course, they’d be happy to charge you $6 for a Mini-me size beer. Add to that the $50,000 that JAM Productions paid Millennium Park to stage the show and even The Outfit is saying “Damn, that’s shady.”