A Report from the "Ground Making"

A Report from the

The dirt is flying around downtown.  This afternoon, ground will be broken for the new convention center hotel.  On Thursday, the Museum of Nature and Science unveils schematic designs for their Thom Mayne-designed building in Victory Park.  And yesterday marked a milestone in the construction of the Woodall Rodgers Park...or as we like to call it here at DCFA, our front lawn.

The Woodall Rodgers Park (although it's currently being called "The Park" by doubt they are in search of a naming donor) will span the freeway from Pearl Street to St. Paul.  Its 5.2 acres will include a children's garden, water features, a restaurant and a performance pavilion.  On Monday, community leaders and dignitaries, including Mayor Tom Leppert and U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, marked the symbolic beginning of construction.  Since there's not really going to be any digging going on, the traditional turn of the dirt with a gold-plated shovel wouldn't do.  Instead, the talented students from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts danced, mimed and sang their way through a ground MAKING ceremony.

It was an exciting beginning to a project that will transform downtown, connecting it with Uptown and providing a wonderful greenspace alongside the Arts District.  And it will be a beautiful pathway to all that we have going on here at DCFA.

To really drive the point home, the Real Estate Council put on a pre-ceremony breakfast featuring Tony Jones, the Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He walked the crowd through the development of Chicago's Millenium Park, the transformation of blighted parking lots and railway yards along Michigan Avenue intot he most visited tourist site in the Midwest. Their creative financing, incredible programming, and top-notch art and architecture can truly serve as a model for what is possible here.

After all, we have something going for us that they don't.  We'll be able to enjoy the park in December without fear of frostbite.

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