Given me and my big mouth, it had to happen sometime. Today debuts Downtown Local, my (most likely allegedly) weekly podcast look at life, love, and folly from the heart of downtown Chicago. I’ll use the podcast to expand on issues I cover in my regular blog posts, as well as to share new stories–and, of course, rants.
The title a beautifully incisive quote from New East Side resident Eric Frost, poobah of the nascent downtown discussion board WindyChat, when asked why his kids prefer to romp in the playground of Daley Bicentennial Plaza instead of in Lakeshore East Park. I interviewed him over coffee at the Randolph Street Intelligentsia in an effort to delve deeper into the residential opposition to the Chicago Children’s Museum’s planned move from Navy Pier to Grant Park.
Of all the things I thought downtown’s 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly would offer as a compromise in the ongoing controversy over the Chicago Children’s Museum’s proposed move from Navy Pier to Daley Bicentennial Plaza, agreeing with a reporter’s suggestion to ‘put the museum in a cave’ wasn’t one of them.
On Friday, I was given unfettered access to interview the administrative staff of the Chicago Children’s Museum. I wanted to learn about the museum’s civic importance, programs, and reputation–all things Chicago dailies have ignored in their ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the museum’s proposed move from Navy Pier to Grant Park.
On a recent downtown walk through the Chicago Park District’s new Lakeshore East Park, imagine my surprise to find neighborhood developers had posted several signs declaring the place ‘Private Property.’ Um, try again.
Today, was a litmus test for 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. He failed. So much for aldermanic privilege. Mayor Daley may get the Chicago Children’s Museum moved to Grant Park after all.
I don’t have an answer to the question of whether the Chicago Children’s Museum should be allowed to build a new home for itself in the Daley Bicentennial Plaza section of Grant Park. But I do think the possibility deserves to be debated and not cut off at the knees as it seems the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune would have it.