THE LOOP — Damage to Grant Park caused by the three-day chaos of Lollapalooza will cost an estimated $266,000 to repair, a Chicago Park District spokeswoman said Tuesday.
C3 Presents, the umbrella company of the festival that has called Chicago's front yard home for a decade, unveiled a plan "to ensure Grant Park — the venue for the music festival — is fully remediated" based on assessments conducted last week by a third-party contractor. C3 will foot the bill.
Repairs will start Wednesday in Upper Hutchinson Field to restore the damage C3 blames in part on the "recent heavy rains" that drenched concertgoers on the final day of the three-day festival. Upper Hutchinson is prioritized "due to upcoming events," according to C3, but is one of several areas of the park in need of repairs.
Lizzie Schiffman says the city won't be forking over the money for Lollapalooza damage:
Bob O'Neill, head of the Grant Park Conservancy, said "the main damage is turf."
"Everything else is in pretty good shape. It's just turf and a few minor landscape damages with some bushes and things like that," the park advocate said. "That will also all be irrigated. It's all contracted out to Christy Webber, a big [landscaping] operation based in Chicago."
O'Neill also said measures taken in previous years, like the stadium-grade grass installed after Lollapalooza 2011 caused nearly $1 million in damages thanks to torrential rain, helped lessen the overall impact of hundreds of thousands of feet traipsing through the grass and landscaping.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District called Lollapalooza 2014 a success in a statement released the day after the festival ended.
“Chicago’s lakefront offers the perfect backdrop to hold this world-class festival," Emanuel said.
The release estimated that the festival "infused more than $139 million into the local economy in 2013" and praised the festival's ability to bring nonresidents — 69 percent of all attendees — Downtown.
This year's fest was the third in a 10-year agreement between the Park District and C3 Presents that guarantees, in addition to full restoration of Grant Park, an average minimum payment of $1.5 million to the parks system, plus a percentage of ticket sales.
O'Neill said he hopes to use a portion of this year's donation to upgrade the skate park project and to replace trees on the parkways along Lake Shore and Columbus drives that were damaged by the harsh winter.
The C3 Presents promotion team asked for Chicagoans to be patient while they restore the heavily used Downtown park.
"While we expect repairs to happen quickly, it takes time for sod/seed to take root, ensuring the lifespan of good grass," C3 Presents said in a release. "We respectfully ask for patience to ensure that Grant Park is restored to, or improved from, its pre-festival condition."
In the intervening weeks, sections of the park will be cordoned off, and some Park District events will be moved. In previous years, repairs have taken about two months after the early August festival. Restoring the park completely usually takes until midautumn.
"It'll look better than when they found it, I can assure you," O'Neill said.
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