A new Near South Side pocket park promised back in 2015 as part of the upcoming Wintrust Arena and Marriott Marquis developments at McCormick Place is just about ready to welcome its first visitors. Located at the northeast corner of 21st Street and S. Prairie Avenue, the roughly 21,000-square-foot plot of publicly-accessible open space replaces a vacant lot just north of the glassy 39-story hotel. Like its high-rise neighbor, the $2 million park is under the control of Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and was financed primarily with tax increment financing (TIF) funds.
Designed by landscape architect Site Design Group with planning oversight from Goettsch Partners, the new park is divided into three parts: a playground with water sprayers for kids, a combination turf and pavement area for canines, and a plaza with seating in between. Access to both the play area and the dog run were still restricted by chainlink fencing as of Monday afternoon.
Though local South Loop blog Sloopin shared reader-submitted photos of people enjoying the new equipment over the weekend, it seems they may have been taking part in an official photo shoot upon closer inspection. With everything else appearing to be complete, opening the park to the public is really only a matter of removing the fencing.
- Prairie District Park Opened Yesterday at Prairie and 21st [Sloopin]
- Check Out This New Park Planned for the South Loop [DNAinfo]
- Previous McCormick Place coverage [Curbed Chicago]