What Would Maggie Daley Say About Her Park?

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced along with Former Mayor Richard Daley and Family that a 20-acre portion of Grant Park will be dedicated to the former First Lady, Maggie Daley. The downtown world-class park will be transformed for $55 million and will have play space,  scheduled to open in 2015. This is a wonderful tribute for the beloved Maggie Daley, but at this time given the safety and educational conditions in Chicago I think she would personally oppose the park idea.

The story in the Chicago Sun Times{August 26} appeared adjacent to another about Chicago’s children, “Six Killed in Three Days.”   The juxtaposition of the schedule of neighborhood shootings  from Mrs. Daley Park story  got my full attention.

 Maggie Daley contributed much to the children of Chicago with her program “After School Matters.”   Indeed, she touched the “soul of our city,”  uniquely through  cultural arts programs after school.  She founded an organization to provide children with structured activity,  they were learning to express themselves in artistic formats.  They were given platforms and a performing stage.  Youth  talent was being developed and directed.  They were creative. They were doing things in “After School Matters” that they could not do in regular school hours, where school matters.

Where does Chicago get $55 million dollars for a park, and we can’t hire  additional policemen to keep the children safe in their neighborhoods?  What would Maggie Daley say?    I bet she would say do what is important, make the children safe first.    As a teacher strikes threatens Chicago for the first time in 25 years,  I bet Mrs. Daley would say pay the teachers, with the $55 million.     The beauty of Mrs. Daley’s program, it went into all of Chicago neighborhoods and took children off the street.  All of Chicago’s children were involved in her process.

I attended the annual gala of “After School Matters.”  The children presented Broadway productions from hip hop to jazz in dance, music and showcased their artistic gifts.  The show was always amazing.    I will probably contribute to the Maggie Daley Park.  But first things first.  The City of Chicago, does not need another park.   If we can raise $55 million in the public and private sector for a park, why can’t we raise money to hire policemen and increase teacher’s salary for longer school days?

We need a priority check.    Both Mayors should understand, Chicago will never be world class if the gangs keep shooting; Chicago priorities and values should be   safety first, education second, parks thirdly.

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  • " But first things first. The City of Chicago, does not need another park."

    technically it's not another park. there is already a park there, tennis courts and plenty of grass. it's kind of nice actually and a bit of a blast from the past.

    if they can get away with paying $55mil for a park renovation with not a peep of protest from the public, we are doomed.

  • In reply to SonOfByford:

    Indeed it is nice. Technically do we have $55 million for an existing space versus hiring policemen with safety or pay teachers? I am not questioning the park or the section of the park or the naming of the park. I am questioning priorities at this time, given the city's problems.

  • In reply to Hermene Hartman:

    Agreed. I wrote a similar post on my blog. http://www.chicagonow.com/poli-chi/2012/08/the-politics-of-parks/

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    Why do we need another park downtown? Why are we not improving facilities at parks around the city, so that all kids have a place to play, to go for homework help (which we do at my local park), and creating green space for communities? If it's downtown, it's not for us. It's for the tourists.

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    55 million towards a park that is already there? Waste is what this is and a false front to visitors, tourists and suburbanites coming "downtown"--nobody lives downtown, maybe some very upscale yuppies whose own kids go to boarding school anyway...this is an out and out travesty---and without Mumbles Daley in charge anymore, not real sure how Rahm is going to be able to twist the arms of Companies to "give to Maggies fund" or you dont get anymore breaks. Its time to move on from the memories of all the Daleys. No more naming things for them, funding things in their name---the city has real issues, like teachers, police, fire, gangs, flashrobbing (right near the Maggie park btw) and unemployment.

    Rahm is missing the boat in not cutting the tie with that Daley name and the city is staying mired in its problems and new ones as a result...Change is needed. No more of this...I mean look at the communities--are they better off being under a Daley or Rahm? Be honest now.

  • In reply to Bill Ryan:

    Agreed.

  • She says I am glad to be dead and not going to prison like my dirtbag husband cause in fact I am more guilty than he is.

  • By the way how is that little Koschmann kid? Is he out of the coma?

  • First of all, Maggie Daley was like The Godfather's wife. She died with all of the treacherous secrets. After School Matters was forced upon many individuals, with that money being diverted to Maggie's charity. Second, this clearly should not pass with children running amok in the streets downtown on the weekends and murders approaching record numbers. Chicago has become a joke now and we are clearly at risk of losing conventions due to violence. The media continues to place the Daley's in a light like they are papal figures.

  • I though we finally passed the daley era. Rahm certainly has his priorities out of order. We have two Chicago's... the privilaged and then the rest of us.

    What about hiring more police officers, fixing the education system, ending the war on drugs and gangs.

    maggie daley park is an insult to the citizens of Chicago.

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    I bet if you researched all those vested in and around this outlay of public money, you would find more Daley family members and political chronies than you could shake a stick at. From services and contracts to build this park out to those who are invested in real estate adjacent to the project...their's a whole lot of money being made. Just like Millennium Park.....
    What a disgrace....

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    the mayor keeps claiming Chicago is broke, where is this money coming from? ???????

    use it to lower taxes or something useful

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    In reply to Jill Wenzel:

    The same place as the money for the 2nd NFL team and new Stadium he wants for Chicago...and to which, on Sports Talk Radio he was blasted all last week for his ineptness, the mess he left this city in, and the fact he hasnt been jailed yet. Does he and his know how much he is truly detested by the People? He would be best to shut up, go away and not have thing named after him or his. Rahm, are you taking notes?

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    A few thoughts.

    First, contrary to what some folks are expressing, many folks do live downtown. The Loop is the fastest growing residential area in the city, and the Near North Side has a lot of people too. Grant Park is our front yard and we deserve it well cared for.

    Second, the real reason for this reconstruction is the upkeep of the parking garage beneath it, which has fallen into disrepair. My understanding is that Daley Bicentennial Plaza must be essentially destroyed, including its current tennis courts, playground, ice rink, fieldhouse, and gardens (all of which get a lot of use), in order to properly waterproof the garage. It would be a travesty to demolish this space without replacing it at least in kind (and honestly, we can do better). I suppose that the park could be cheaper if the garage were filled in, but not enough people ride the CTA (or Metra for that matter) for that to be feasible at this time.

  • Thanks for writing this. The newspaper article stated that the funding for the renovation will come from a combination of "public and private" money. Again, the taxpayers will bear the brunt of this plan and, I agree, we don't need another park or a renovation of an existing park. Chicago has enough parks but not enough police officers. Spend the money (that is apparently available) where it is needed, not where Rahm tells us it is needed.

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