Chicago Children's Museum
Statement of Alderman Margaret Laurino, 39th Ward
In the City Council, Aldermen often have to vote on controversial matters. Recently, we were asked to consider the relocation of the Chicago Children's Museum from its current location at Navy Pier to a new location replacing the Daley Bicentennial Plaza at Grant Park.
Proponents of the Chicago Children's Museum move said the new site was the only location that would offer a centralized location, convenient to public transportation and parking, and accessible to open green space. Opponents claimed that moving the museum would violate the open, clean and free standards of Grant Park.
I appreciate the hundreds of 39th Ward residents who contacted my office expressing their views, both in favor of and opposed to the move to Daley Bicentennial Plaza. This became a very emotional issue, with both the proponents and opponents presented good arguments expressing their point of view. In considering my vote, I weighed both sides of the issue. After careful deliberation, I decided to support the move of the Chicago Children's Museum to Daley Bicentennial Plaza.
In my view, the most troublesome rhetoric surrounding this issue was the suggestion that the Chicago Children's Museum would be built on open park land, both reducing green space and violating longstanding open space precedents in Grant Park.
This is not the case. The Chicago Children's Museum would replace an existing structure, the Daley Bicentennial Plaza fieldhouse and entrance to the Monroe parking garage. The new Chicago Children's Museum will add significant green space to the park by removing the existing concrete plaza presently at the location.
The museum will be built with private philanthropic and corporate funds. No tax dollars will be used for the construction of the museum. In addition, the museum will build a new park fieldhouse, replacing the outdated structure currently in the park, and will donate the fieldhouse to the Park District. Again, this will be built without using tax dollars. The Chicago Park District will continue to own the land and will lease it to the Chicago Children's Museum.
More than 6,800 school children from the 39th Ward have visited and benefited from programming at the Chicago Children's Museum. The new location will allow the museum to better serve even more children from the 39th Ward, all Chicago neighborhoods, and families visiting our great city.