this on the Midway Plaisance: dry, usable fields the day after
it rains, grass that stays green in the summer heat, and thousands
of flowers decorating the embankments.
hard to imagine now while a chain-link fence and construction
signs close off the fields between Ellis and Cottage Grove Avenues,
but Chicago Park District officials say the result will be a
Midway that's drier, greener, and more accessible to strollers
and wheelchairs. They predict the renovation will last until
mid-October, after which the section will remain closed until
June to grow grass.
"Traditionally sports have been unplayable on the Midway for
long periods in the spring and fall because of the rain," says
Hank S. Webber, vice president for community affairs. "Solving
that problem will be the biggest improvement."
solve that problem, construction workers are raising the centers
of the fields, contouring the land, and installing underground
drainage pipes and water pumps.
many sports clubs, intramural teams, and picnickers who use
the fields will certainly welcome the improvements, but the
changes are aesthetic as well as practical. The new Midway will
also be prettier-with 86,000 flowering spring bulbs planted
along its sides.
the $900,000 drainage project is only the second phase of a
ten-year, multimillion-dollar renovation plan for the Midway
Plaisance. The project was announced in 1999, and the first
phase-a permanent ice rink and two-story warming house and concession
area-was completed this past February.
Over the next few years workers will renovate other sections
of the Midway and install special features, including a children's
playground, bridges, fountains, and specialty gardens.