Lincoln Yards megaproject kicks off, Fleet Fields opens

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CHICAGO — On the western edge of Lincoln Park was the kickoff to one of the largest developments in Chicago.

2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins was head cheerleader in city council for the Lincoln Yards megaproject.

On Sunday, still surrounded by an industrial corridor, the fleet field soccer area opened to the public.

“We’re looking forward to building roads and bridges and more open, public space for people to enjoy,” Anna Simpson, Sterling Bay, said.

Sterling Bay is developing the 55-acre site that straddles the north branch of the Chicago River. The project will include commercial and residential space.

City Council approved the project in April with a 32-13 vote. After then, Mayor-elect Lightfoot insisted and got a five-fold increase in contract guarantees for minority and women-owned firms.

Though, there was strong opposition to a $1 billion taxpayer subsidy to be used on infrastructure improvements like bridges, roads and rail.

However, those who attended the event seemed to enjoy the $1 million public soccer field, built on what used to be a parking lot.

“This is only the beginning,” Hopkins said. “We’re talking about a $6 billion development, and right now we’ve got a couple soccer pitches. That’s nice. It’s not enough. We have a lot more to do and there are those who want to remind us of that today and I’m fine with that. Over time, we’ll win over all the opponents of Lincoln Yards.”


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