photos in the link
BY BLAIR KAMIN
May 07, 2012
31st Street Harbor makes waves on south lakefront; $103 million facility gives once-neglected area a welcome lift
Fifteen years ago, parts of Chicago's south lakefront looked like they had been bombed.
In the four-mile stretch between McCormick Place and the Museum of Science and Industry, the fury of Lake Michigan had pounded miles of stone blocks into rubble, creating a sea wall that was both unsightly and unusable. Just to the west was a skinny strip of parkland, with far less green space and far fewer people-pleasing attractions than Lincoln Park to the north.
The relative absence of amenities was no accident...
So what you see today at the just-opened 31st Street Harbor is remarkable — a $103 million facility that is much more than just a marina.
This is not a typical, one-dimensional harbor, its land side surrounded by a fence and the sort of surface asphalt parking lot you'd expect to find at a shopping mall. True, there are 1,000 new boat slips, with connections for water, power and satellite TV, no less. But there is also a new paradigm: Instead of isolating itself from its surroundings, the harbor embraces them.
It does so with a boatload of amenities, from new playgrounds to a mini-park that extends into the lake and offers spectacular views of the downtown skyline.
While the extras cost about $30 million more than a typical marina, the payoff could be immense. Such a facility can only help the fortunes of the redeveloping areas to the west, encouraging the construction of new homes and businesses. And that will inevitably boost Chicago's tax base.
While Rio de Janeiro won the games, the harbor still went forward ...
A new pedestrian underpass just east of Lake Shore Drive allows people on the lakefront trail to walk, jog or bike without making a dangerous crossing through a parking lot, as they had to before at 31st Street. A large basin at the south end of the marina will allow Chicago to host what is expected to be the Midwest's largest "in-water" boat show next month. Thousands of boat lovers are likely to attend, something that would have been unimaginable 15 years ago.
Goodbye, "benign neglect." Hello, new south lakefront.