Chicago Riverwalk among others across country to be revitalized in effort to boost city's economy

ByRebecca Jarvis, "Good Morning America"
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Chicago Riverwalk among others across country to be revitalized
Employees with Urban Kayaks and Chicago Electric Boat spoke to how the Chicago Riverwalk has been revitalized.

CHICAGO -- Cities across the country, including Chicago, are working to revitalize their waterfronts to help boost their economies.

The Chicago Riverwalk is making a big splash this summer, as it's expected to bring in at least $24 million from tourism, "Good Morning America" reported.

"When we started in 2011, there was basically nothing really down here," said Nate Cohen, with Urban Kayaks. "Since then, it's completely revitalized now. There's businesses, there's bars, there's boat rental companies, there's tour companies. It's become this huge hub of of tourism and exploration for people in the city."

Once an industrial waterfront with minimal public access, the 1.25-mile-long waterfront is now booming with restaurants, water tours and picturesque views of the city.

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"All of the riverwalk businesses are are Chicago-based, family-owned businesses. And we've all evolved with the riverwalk as it's grown," said Ron Silvia, with Chicago Electric Boat.

While local businesses are growing, it is estimated that development along the Chicago River system will lead to increased residential property values as well.

"For so long, so many cities turn their backs to the rivers, they were simply transportation network. And now cities across the United States are realizing that it's an opportunity to beautify and to unify cities. And Chicago has done a great job at that," said Lynn Osmond, with Choose Chicago.