To honor of the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago, city leaders are putting on their jumbo-size thinking caps and thinking big, according to Blair Kamin & company at the Tribune. For Mayor Daley, that means extending the lakeshore bike path north to Evanston and south to Indiana, and naturally, antagonizing some condo owners along the way.
Daley, for instance, has a vision of giving Chicago four new miles of lakefront parkland that would fill gaps now occupied by high-rises, apartment buildings and abandoned industrial sites. Although the mayor has no money available at the moment, he has named John Bryan, the former Sara Lee Corp. chairman, to head a committee that will look into building a continuous waterfront park stretching from Evanston to the Indiana border.
Nevertheless, the mayor’s appointment of Bryan to head a committee to look into the question is likely to spur concern from some lakefront residents and property owners, particularly in the Edgewater and Rogers Park neighborhoods on the North Side. They claim that new beaches and parks would lower property values, bring swarms of foot and vehicle traffic, and disturb residents’ tranquility.
“There’s still some opposition,” Daley said, “but we’re saying, in the long run, this is the best thing. We’re talking about a huge open space for people there.”
It occurred to me while reading this that one development we’ve reported on this summer that would likely be affected by Daley’s big plans is The Breakers, which is one of the few condo buildings with direct access to the lake in Rogers Park, but certainly there are others.
It’s not unheard of for the city to brandish its power of eminent domain, but I can’t imagine residents of Edgewater and Rogers Park who enjoy lake front property to let it pass without a fight.