The sounds of bulldozers are becoming less frequent, and the sounds of jackhammers more frequent at the future site of Maggie Daley Park (337 East Randolph Street). Nearly all the dirt has been scraped from the roof of the Monroe Street Parking Garage, allowing construction crews to fix the leaking roof and eventually replace it with a modern park.
Today, the fieldhouse ziggurat is all that remains recognizable of the old Daley Bicentennial Plaza.
If you’ve ever wondered what the serpentine BP Pedestrian Bridge looks like underneath, you can now see. The east end of the bridge is just kind of hanging in the air now that all the dirt has been pulled out from underneath it.
About 800 crab apple, magnolia, honey locust, ash, elm, and maple trees were cut down for this project. They will be replaced with 1,000 new trees. In addition, about 40 of the old trees are being saved, plus those that were around the old miniature golf course on East Monroe Street.
Last week, we received an e-mail from someone asking for information about the controversy surrounding this project and we’ve heard others cynically wondering aloud if it even qualifies as a park. Here’s a portion of an e-mail I wrote in reply:
I’m not an architect, nor an historian, but I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone that the whole notion of “park” has changed over the years; though the thought makes some uncomfortable.
Regardless of personal preference, construction is well underway and we’ll find out which side is right in 2015.