Is the City That Works Also the City That Plays?
By Rachelle Bowden in News on Sep 24, 2006 7:43PM
So recently, Chicagoist reported that the much-vaunted 2016 Summer Olympics stadium contender was moving from around Soldier Field/McCormick Place to Washington Park on the South Side. Hrm, the woefully underfunded South Side instead of hoity-toity Lincoln Park or the crowded lakefront? That changes things a little, we said. We stroked our collective chins. Debates raged, and dander flew. Now Daley & Co. have added more fuel to the fire by making their bid public.
The Olympic Village alone, still south of McCormick Place, boasts a $1 billion price tag alone. The 95,000-seat stadium, originally pegged at $200 million, has jumped up to $300 million, factoring in deconstruction to leave a behind permanent 10,000-seat structure. Oh, and the luxury suites. Can't forget the 200 extra luxury suites. Also included in the plan is a whitewater slalom course built in Lincoln Park anyway, five pools - no word yet if they're temporary or permanent - at UIC, and a cycling course on Northerly Island. We imagine none of that comes on the cheap. All of this comes at the expense of private investors, but word so far has been mum on who these investors might be.
At first we had to rub our eyes thoroughly, since these new prices had us thinking it was all an update on the Brown Line reno. What's funny is, according to Daley's right-hand man (jeez, how many does he have?) Patrick Ryan, the $300 million for the stadium is merely "preliminary," which in Chicago speak means "it will only go up from here." And for what? A "16-day party" that would pour $5-6 million more people into our already-stressed infrastructure, discounting the daily disturbances caused by construction and deconstruction. Not to mention loss of more parkland, but never mind that: "You take an open space, basically putting in a facility there—that’s all you’re doing, open space. There’s a lot of open space, otherwise nothing ever changes," said Daley. Yeah, cuz who needs greenery in this cement jungle?