Chicagos Mayor Daley may be leaving office soon, but that has not stopped his mission to make Chicago the most tourist-friendly city in the country. Last year, he announced the expansion of the Chicago River Walk, which allows visitors to stroll through the loop along the historic Chicago River. This month, he announced the next phase of its expansion. With the new construction, people will be able to walk from Lake Michigan almost all of the way to the western part of the loop. The final vision of the riverwalk will be complete with this phase of construction.
The current riverwalk area provides access to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, where they can view how the drawbridges along the river operate. There are also countless bars and restaurants along the walking path. Some of downtown’s best hotels are also easily accessible from the walk path. There are plenty of public seating areas throughout the walk area. Visitors walk below the ground-level of Chicago’s famous loop area, so named because the elevated trains operate in a loop around the downtown area. Navy Pier and all of its shopping, dining, and attractions are also accessible via the riverwalk.
The Chicago River is one of Chicago’s many attractions, but it is also famous for its engineering feat. It was reversed in 1900, in order to keep Lake Michigan away from sewage that flowed into the lake from the river. People still view this as one of the great engineering achievements in history. Today the river is much cleaner, and is also the site of the popular St. Patrick’s day tradition of dyeing the water green before the start of the city’s annual parade.
According to the City of Chicago’s press release, the cost of the complete project will be about $55 million dollars, with funds coming from a host of different places on the city, state, and federal levels. The city did not state how much of the project will come out of Chicago taxpayer pockets. The project does not currently have a completion date, but it will surely be a thing to behold when it is finished.