DOWNTOWN — An effort to get Michigan Avenue landlords planting their sidewalk planter boxes is yielding results, a Downtown parks group said.
The Grant Park Conservancy, which pushed Downtown landlords to spruce up 26 planters on Wabash Avenue earlier this year, said last week that 30 more will be filled on Michigan Avenue.
The conservancy's campaign is an effort to clean up some of Chicago's most visited streets, while complementing Grant Park nearby. Last year, the conservancy likened the neglected planters to "litter gardens."
"Our motto is 'city in a garden' so we want to enact that little by little," said Anthony Pesce, a Printers Row resident who sits on Grant Park's advisory council.
The 30 commitments make up more than half the 56 planters on Michigan from Randolph Street to Roosevelt Road, Pesce said.
Though Michigan Avenue is one of Chicago's most prominent streets, many who own buildings along the boulevard had no idea the planter boxes were their responsibility. It's a group that includes the Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Ave., which planted outside its building after hearing from the conservancy.
"We thought [the planters] were being managed by the city, which turned out not to be the case," said Mark Akgulian, director of operations and business development for the institute. "We take a lot of pride in our building. It’s a beautiful kind of architectural masterpiece, and we don’t want planters in front of the building that say otherwise."
The conservancy is still reaching out to other Michigan Avenue landlords that have yet to sign on to the initiative, which is looking to branch into neighboring streets soon, Pesce said. The cost of planting perennials and maintaining them is estimated at $675 annually.
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