Maggie Daley Park Transformation
What started as basic roof repairs to the East Monroe Street Marketing Garage in 2012 grew into an opportunity to renovate three areas of Grant Park to create the Maggie Daley Park, an area that will be composed of the Daley Bicentennial Plaza, the Cancer Survivors Garden, and Peanut Park.
With this new initiative, the Chicago Park District has been working to make these three areas of the park more cohesive while also improving Grant Park’s sustainability- not to mention many new uniquely entertaining features, such as rock-climbing sculptures, an ice-skating ribbon, a play garden, a field house, and plenty of open lawn space for events and picnics.
All these upgrades don’t happen overnight, of course. Maggie Daley Park is scheduled to open to the public in fall of 2014 after two years of intense construction. The first phase of the project alone included moving 209,000 cubic yards of soil and 800 trees to Peanut Park temporarily so that the East Monroe Street Garage parking deck could be renovated and waterproofed- a giant project in itself, considering that the parking garage is nearly 1.5 million square feet.
In phase two, which started in late fall of 2013, a local Chicago construction company began working on creating drainage layers by using polystyrene geofoam to create hills and landscapes. Since geofoam is around 100 times lighter than soil, it doesn’t add excessive weight to the parking structure underneath.
After that, the topsoil and trees are moved back from Peanut Park and added over the geofoam using multi-purpose crawler carriers, which can easily traverse the geofoam without leaving permanent impressions. An extra 700 trees will be planted in Maggie Daley Park as well.
While construction slowed down during winter, the park is still on track for a fall opening that will include the ice skating ribbon and the climbing wall. The final total cost for the Maggie Daley Park renovations will be $60 million, which includes things like landscape architecture, construction and machine rentals, and more. In the end, Chicago’s newest public park will be a cohesive presence in a prime area between the lakefront and down town in which Chicagoans and tourists alike can enjoy a wide variety of unique activities and experiences. Who’s ready to go play?