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City Converts State Street Median to 'People Plaza'

By Mike Brockway | June 7, 2013 2:12pm | Updated on June 7, 2013 6:25pm
 City debut's first People Plaza
State Street People Plaza
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THE LOOP — The city has transformed a dirty median on State Street into an oasis for Downtown workers.

Friday morning, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Chicago Loop Alliance Executive Director Michael Edwards officially unveiled the new "People Plaza" that extends from Lake Street to Wacker Drive.

The refurbished median now sports new metal picnic tables, benches, chairs and planters filled with flowers.

"This was a space that was underutilized," said Klein. "As soon as we finished it was filled with people."

Edgewater resident Kara Riggio sat enjoying the sunshine and having a bite to eat late Friday morning on one of the bright orange tables.

"I think it's great," said Riggio. "It's an opportunity to sit outside and it gives pedestrians equal access. It will be great in the summer."

Art Wilson of South Shore sat in the newly refurbished median waiting for a bus.

"The idea sounds great," said Wilson. "I like it. I come downtown every day. If I have time I'll try to come here."

Local retail businiess is already excited about the new addition to the neighborhood.

According to Klein, The Wit Hotel, which is across the street from the new People Plaza, is offering boxed lunches for patrons to sit there and enjoy a noontime meal.

Rob Meier, the owner of the soon to open Chick-fil-A at State and Lake is excited about the space.

"It sends a great message that the Loop is a great place to eat and work," said Meier. "I'm estatic about it. It's such a great space."