Construction of Chicago Riverwalk Underway; City Looks at Funding Options

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago’s Riverwalk extension is underway, and the city is looking for contractors to help plan and operate concessions along what promises to be a major downtown attraction. Applicants have until April 7 to reply to the city’s request for qualifications.

Chicago Riverwalk 1

The project got a major infusion of federal cash last year, but now Chicago is looking for private entities to help arrange for concessions—think bike rentals, kiosks, cafes, retail—along the riverside promenade, which will expand the Riverwalk six blocks.

Federal transportation loans to be paid back over 35 years won’t be enough to fully finance the project, so the city is still considering sponsorship and advertising. Last year the city’s then-transportation chief Gabe Klein promised “Any additional advertising would be very tasteful and very limited.”

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Conceptual plans establish identities for each of the Riverwalk extension’s six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street: The Marina (from State to Dearborn); The Cove (Dearborn to Clark); The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle); The Swimming Hole (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin); and The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake).

Chicago’s plan to reengage its “second shoreline” follows similar efforts that have had success in Indianapolis, San Antonio and London, among others.

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

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