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Rahm Announces Boathouse Plan for Chicago River

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 19, 2011 9:20PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a plan to turn the Chicago River into a major attraction for tourists and residents of the city. Emanuel announced the construction of four boathouses at the following locations:

  • River Park Boat House (5100 N. Francisco), at Argyle and the river.
  • Clark Park Boat House (3400 N. Rockwell) at Roscoe and Rockwell, east of the river.
  • Ping Tom Memorial Park Boat House (300 W. 19th St.), north of 18th street, through the under-bridge connection, west of the St. Charles line railroad tracks.
  • 28th & Eleanor Boat House, between Loomis and Fuller Streets on Eleanor, across the river from Ashland Avenue.

Emanuel touted the program as one that would spur jobs creation. Each boathouse is estimated to cost $4 million and will have concessions and kayak rentals when completed. What wasn't talked about was any plan to, well, clean up the river, unless penicillin and antibiotics will be stocked among the concessions. A press release from the Mayor's Office regarding the announcement also read the EPA is doling out two grants effective immediately totaling nearly $1 million. One grant to Friends of the Forest Preserve will help eradicate invasive plants in the river system and nearby forests, including 130 acres in Chicago. The second grant, to OAI, Inc., will help train and place Chicagoans in jobs that focus on environmental cleanup.

Renowned architects Chris Lee and Jeanne Gang will be leading a team of architecture students at the Illinois Institute of Technology to design the boathouses. The designs for the boathouses will be augmented by suggestions and ideas from the community.