Busy Daley visits wards, suggests plans for Reese site

May 11, 2011 3:23:19 PM PDT
From shaking hands with Chicagoans to naming streets for one of the city's most famous residents, Mayor Richard M. Daley is making the most of his last week in office.

After 22 years, Daley retires next Monday. But he's spending his last week in office doing what he does best- being mayor- at a breakneck speed. Not only did he continue his farewell tour of neighborhoods, which will ambitiously take him to 50 Chicago wards, he also spoke about the city's long-term goals Wednesday.

Lawndale was on the tour Wednesday.

"Mayor Daley has loved his neighbor. Not only those people that lived next door to him but all the neighborhoods of Chicago," said Wayne "Coach" Gordon, of the Lawndale Community Church.

"It isn't Mayor Daley. It isn't one person. It's all these people in this room and really reaching out to people and saying we believe in you," Daley said.

Like on many of the stops on the farewell tour, the city's streets and sans team spruced up the streets before Daley's visit.

"Well, actually I do believe it's an efficient way of using our resources. Because, again, we have to make sure this community is clean. This is about jobs, this is about bringing development to our community," Alderman Jason Ervin, 28th Ward, said.

At 1 p.m., the mayor met with Oprah Winfrey and renamed a street for the Chicago icon, who is also on the cusp of a life change with the finale of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Carpenter Street, which runs in front of Winfrey's Harpo Studio, will has the honorary name of "Oprah Winfrey Way."

Daley then returned to Chicago City Hall where he recommended the former site of the Michael Reese Hospital be turned into a technology park. He said the park would generate as many as 25,000 high-tech jobs.

"There has not been one iota of a letup on the responsibilities of the mayor of this city," said Frank Clark, ComEd.

"Whatever you do in life, give a hundred percent. That's what you have to do in life and that's what I feel," Mayor Daley said.

The mayor -- who has yet another public event Wednesday night -- would not say if Wednesday's news conference was his final one with the Chicago press, but left reporters with a melodramatic "good-bye."

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