Daley wraps up last day at City Hall

May 13, 2011 8:22:16 PM PDT
After 22 years as mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley left his office at City Hall for the last time Friday.

At about 5:20 p.m., much later than his scheduled departure time, Daley walked out accompanied by his wife Maggie, son Patrick, daughters Elizabeth and Nora and at least one grandson.

As they left, Daley and his family were cheered by citizens and city workers.

"It's been a great last few months with him. I mean, I think he was able to really see the outpouring of appreciation from the citizenry," said Daley's press secretary Jackie Heard. "He is just so accessible, and people are often surprised about how accessible he is and how down to earth he is. I mean, that's the mayor I've seen all these years."

"It was nice to see him leave with his family, for him to have a little family time. What I will always remember about Mayor Daley is that the residents of the city came first. The mayor was a tremendous leader and he led by example," said Daley's chief of staff Ray Orozco.

Earlier on Friday, Mr. and Mrs. Daley visited 17th Ward's Englewood neighborhood -- the last stop on the mayor's farewell neighborhood appreciation tour.

The Daleys arrived separately: first, the mayor at the Ogden Park Fieldhouse, followed 15 minutes later by his wife Maggie. They were saluted for their 22 years of support for park district and afterschool programs.

"The whole idea of giving young people opportunities and that's why we're placed on the earth," Mayor Daley said.

"We've been successful in reaching out to a lot of youngsters but what we need is to be able to reach out to even more," Maggie Daley said.

"The 17th Ward has come a long way in the two-plus decades that Mr. Mayor has been here," said 17th Ward Alderman Latasha Thomas.

Two blocks away, Englewood resident Barbara Lamar theorized why the mayor chose often-notorious Englewood as the final neighborhood he'd visit.

"When you know where the trouble is, that's the last place you want to go to," Lamar said. While city-paid crews cleaned up around the Ogden Park, the nearby May Street, with its boarded up houses, unemployment and rampant crime, was as filthy as ever.

When asked if the situation is worse in Englewood than it was 22 years ago, Englewood resident Carla Newton replied: "Aw man, Triple!"

"But that's across the country. It's not just here, it's across the country and that's what wrong with the economy," Mayor Daley said.

Earlier this week, Mrs. Daley was released from Northwestern Hospital where she spent nine days under treatment for what her doctor called a "flu-like illness" not related to her cancer. She told reporters she looked forward to next week and the next chapter.

"I think the first day will be a shock and after that, we'll have so many things to be involved in, really," Maggie Daley said.

Mayor Daley's term officially ends Monday when Rahm Emanuel is sworn in.

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