Street closures, performances, dining areas coming to downtown Chicago as part of pandemic recovery efforts

Coronavirus

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 24: The Chicago Board of Trade Building (C) sits at the south end of LaSalle Street in the Chicago Loop’s financial district on April 24, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Yesterday it was announced the CME Group had sold the landmark building to GlenStar Properties LLC and USAA Real Estate Co. for $151 million. The acquisition included the North and South towers of the three-building complex, about 1.3 million-square-feet. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO —Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans Thursday to help downtown Chicago bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s called the “Central City Recovery Roadmap” and will provide places and events to help encourage residents and tourists to spend time downtown this summer and fall.  

Starting July 11, the city will temporarily close sections of State Street, Michigan Avenue and LaSalle Street on Sundays and use those areas as activity spaces. Live music and other artistic performances will take places.

“Our city cannot fully bounce back from the pandemic until the cultural, retail and financial engines that power our economy are able to return at full capacity,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “From introducing a new set of street activations to get residents outdoors and encourage them to support our businesses to working closely with scores of civic organizations and other stakeholders to ensure a solid recovery, our city is more than prepared to welcome residents and visitors alike back to a thriving downtown. Taken together, these initiatives and collaborative approach to economic recovery will help our downtown and our city become stronger and more resilient than ever before.” 

The city also promises to help developers of large projects lure anchor tenants and is backing plans for pop-up stores and other creative ways to temporarily fill vacant storefronts.

The plan also includes efforts to help those returning to work in downtown businesses and buildings by focusing on public transportation, “enhanced pedestrian and bike infrastructure” and community events including “Lunch on LaSalle.”  A pop-up space will be created for people to dine and relax on LaSalle Street in front of the Board of Trade building.

“On various Tuesdays over lunch this summer, parts of LaSalle Street will be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into an outdoor dining boulevard,” the city said.

 Included in the plans is an initiative called “Meet Me on The Mile” which will include “performances, family activities, Instagrammable installations, dining, and shopping,” according to the city’s website.

Full details on the city’s plan here (pdf)

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