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Printers Row Park Expansion Delayed

Story Enrique Perez

The Chicago Park District has delayed groundbreaking on the Printers Row Park expansion for at least three weeks because contractor bids have exceeded the project budget.  Originally, it was scheduled to take place after the Printers Row Book Fair which ended June 8.

The Park District will re-bid the project then once the contract is awarded the Park District will sit down with the company and determine a construction time line.  That could take at least another month, but then,  the groundbreaking would occur.  The construction process itself could take up to five months, according to the Park District project manager in charge of the expansion.

In early 2006, the Chicago City Council approved $1 million for the park expansion budget; $100,000 for environmental re-mediation of the parking lot to be incorporated with the park, and $900,000 for construction.

The City acquired the parking lot in 2004 with the intention of expanding the park. The Illinois EPA approved the re-mediation plan in August 2007.  When the expansion is complete, the City of Chicago will transfer ownership of the park to the Chicago Park District.

The Park District held three community meetings in the Printers Row neighborhood in early 2006 to get feedback on the park expansion.  At the first meeting, the Park District divided the group into three sections to brainstorm concepts for the park.

The feedback was broken down into four options that were part of a neighborhood survey.  Based on that feedback, the Park District ultimately chose the option shown in the attached rendering .

Of the items depicted in the renderings, the Park District has designated the following (in order of funding priority) as alternates to the expansion:  1) Fountain Treatment;  2) Green Screen;  3) Dearborn Fencing; and  4) Bulbs/Ferns.  These items are to be priced separately and done as the total budget allows.

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