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Chicago Riverwalk designs unveiled
By Leonor Vivanco @lvivanco
Imagine kayak rentals, fishing piers, and restaurant patio seating all along the Chicago River downtown.
It's all included in the plans for the future Chicago Riverwalk.
Chicagoans can get a glimpse of what is planned when the Chicago Department of Transportation hosts a community meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., to present its plans to build out the riverwalk from State to Lake Streets.
The concept is to have a continuous walkway but have distinct features for each of the six blocks divided by the bridges over the river.
"We're very excited about it. We think the Chicago Riverwalk is a terrific amenity for the city and serves as a wonderful tourist attraction and introduction to the Chicago River," said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of the Friends of the Chicago River.
The designs are somewhat reminiscent of San Antonio's River Walk minus the sheer number of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Frisbie sees Chicago's Riverwalk as much broader, more romantic and more unique to Chicago because it would celebrate the river's natural features and highlight its history.
"It's a linear park that provides layers of amenities to attract all kinds of people there," she said.
When the city began Wacker Drive reconstruction in the 1990s, the roadway was reconfigured to allow for the riverwalk expansion and pedestrian access, according to the city. Since then, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated just west of Wabash Avenue along the river. The city in 2011 picked a design team to work on plans for the six blocks.
The next step is to finalize funding that the city requested from the U.S. Department of Transportation with the hope of breaking ground this summer, said CDOT spokesman Pete Scales.
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February 4, 2013