Ex-Mayor Daley gives tour of Millennium Park for Ideas Week

Millennium Park is a must-see for visitors to Chicago that generates more than $2 billion a year in tourism revenue.
October 15, 2013 3:34:42 PM PDT
Millennium Park is a must-see for visitors to Chicago that generates more than $2 billion a year in tourism revenue.

But before it was completed nine years ago, the park was an idea that then-Mayor Richard Daley had. He talked about his vision with people in town for Chicago Ideas Week.

Daley recalled the intricate planning it took to transform what was a 24-acre eyesore near Michigan and Randolph into a world-class destination.

"Landscaping was the key, very important," he said.

Taking the tour were some of the people in town for Chicago Ideas Week, interested in learning how Daley's vision for Millennium Park became reality.

"I've been to concerts here, so it's fantastic to take a tour and learn the behind-the-scenes history of it," said Gregory Tall.

"As we walk through the park with him, you see his attention to detail manifest itself everywhere in this place," said Brad Keywell, Chicago Ideas Week.

Development of Millennium Park started in 1998 when Edward Uhlir was brought on board as the project design director. It took more than five years and nearly $500 million to complete. But Uhlir says the park is now a source of inspiration.

"It's an attraction for people from all over the world who are in government designing their own parks and private-sector people, too, something to Millennium Park to see if there's a way to do the same thing in their cities," said Uhlir.

Daley says the goal of bringing a beautiful public space to the heart of the city has been achieved. And he's looking ahead to more development.

"It gave us a new identity of a public space, which is really unique. Then with Maggie Daley Park, you put them together, it's going to be sensational," Daley said.