Plans take new look at Northerly Island
With 2016 dreams dashed, what should become of Meigs site?
A month after Mayor Daley’s Olympic team washed out in the race for the 2016 Games, the tide has shifted as planners focus on Northerly Island’s long-term place in the lakefront landscape.
Before Chicago lost to Rio de Janeiro in the Olympic contest, the Park District was eyeing how to develop the 91-acre man-made island east of Soldier Field, while making the former site of Meigs Field a temporary home for Olympic venues for beach volleyball, the canoe and kayak slalom courses and even an observation point for sailing contests.
Today, Chicago Park District officials are holding a public meeting downtown to unveil a series of sketches for the site, pen-to-paper ideas that will serve as a conversation starter, says Gia Biagi, director of planning and development for the Chicago Park District. “We’re not holding up a particular concept,” she said. “But looking at what are the components of a great park.”
The Park District hired a design team that includes Studio Gang Architects, best known for the Aqua Building at the Lakeshore East site near downtown, to sketch out ideas — though officials did not release the cost of the work.
One thought is to extend the swimming and beach areas on the eastern edge of the island. Another is to carve out portions of the “island” — really a peninsula — creating bays or coves or even inland waterways….