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Maggie Daley Park's First Phase of Construction $31K Under Budget

 A rendering of Maggie Daley Park from a Chicago Park District presentation.
A rendering of Maggie Daley Park from a Chicago Park District presentation.
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Chicago Park District

STREETERVILLE — The Chicago Park District Board of Directors approved a final $246,760 payment to McHugh Construction Wednesday to fund the first phase of construction to build Maggie Daley Park Downtown — a project which came in more than $31,000 under budget.

Construction began in October 2012 on the 20 acres of greenspace just east of Millennium Park. The new park, named after Chicago's former first lady, includes additions like a climbing wall and skating ribbon, and a total overhaul of the field house at 337 E. Randolph St.

Phase I consisted of removing the existing materials in what was formerly Peanut Park Daley Bicentennial Plaza and resurfacing the rooftop of the parking structure below it.

The nearly $247,000 payment to the construction company rounds out a nearly $7.5 million contract between the Park District and the construction company to complete the first of two construction phases.

More than $31,000 originally awarded to the company wasn't used in Phase I, and was returned to the Park District, something Park District board members said they were delighted about at the Wednesday meeting where the final payment was approved.

Early estimates put the total cost for the park project at $55 million, funded with a combination of public and privately raised money. A $42 million contract to complete Phase II of the park was recently awarded to Walsh Construction Co.

Phase I of the project was completed in September 2013. The second and final phase is expected to be completed this winter, when the park will open, though additional plantings are scheduled for Spring 2015.

To build a varied, interesting landscape, the construction plan includes installing 75,000 cubic yards of lightweight geofoam to reduce the weight pressing on the parking structure below the park site, the first part of Phase II of the construction plan.

Also during Phase II, more than 1,000 trees will be planted in Maggie Daley Park, including quaking aspens, shagbark hickory, Himalayan pine, blue Japanese white pine, witch hazel and bamboo. These species aren't indigenous, but the park's sophisticated irrigation system, combined with custom soil additives, will help support them through varied Midwestern climates.

Maggie Daley died of breast cancer in November 2011, and the newly inaugurated Emanuel announced plans to redevelop a park in her name the next summer.

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