Two years ago, Alderman Brendan Reilly kicked off an experiment wherein a private company, Argo Tea, would be allowed to build and run a store on public land, Connors Park in the Gold Coast. Now, DNAinfo reports that neighbors have been confused about who has access to the seating area inside and around the Argo shop. As part of the deal to operate on public land, the seating is supposed to be open to the public, not just Argo customers. Reportedly, some park visitors have been asked to leave the store's seating area if they weren't customers. Ald. Reilly has apparently been in contact with the Argo's management that all are supposed to be welcome. Skirmishes around private businesses operating on public land are nothing new, but as the city works to expand new park offerings like Maggie Daley Park and the new Riverwalk with private vendors and concessioners, small experiments in public/private cooperation like Connors Park should demonstrate the city's interest in getting it right. Here's hoping they can work out the kinks.
This post was authored by Curbed Chicago contributor Aaron Dunlap
· Connors Park Argo Tea Not Publicly Accessible Enough, Residents Complain [DNAinfo]
· Alderman Reilly To Hand Connors Park Over To Argo Tea [Curbed Chicago]