Museum Campus contains many iconic locals, like the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. Alongside that, the small island also includes natural and recreational areas such as the 12th Street Beach, Northerly Island Park, and the Lakefront Trail. It’s a hub of activity for locals and tourists alike. Now, plans have been revealed to update the area.
“A renewed Soldier Field will deliver a world-class visitor experience in and around the stadium, and, along with Lakeside Center, anchor a vibrant entertainment corridor.” the official site reads, continuing, “With a greater diversity of experiences that expand use of the Campus throughout the day and into the evening, visitors will want to linger on the Campus and return often.”
The proposed updates aim to fill currently underutilized spaces and buildings, along with adding pedestrian bridges, an ice rink, and a possible roof over Soldier Field.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently released a report outlining over 35 recommendations to make the area a ‘place where the world connects’. The report does suggest updating amenities surrounding the stadium, but, as the Chicago Bears weigh leaving the city, the newly released report does not address some of the team’s needs, such as more seats, parking, and control of revenue. As for the stadium, the cost of adding a roof or dome could cost up to $1.5 billion!
Other recommendations included in the report are as follows:
- Upgrades to Soldier Field: Reconfiguring but not adding seating, studying a potential roof and adding amenities for year-round use of the site.
- Exploring naming rights sponsorships at Soldier Field, but still keeping the name that honors its legacy as a war memorial.
- Relocate Huntington Bank Pavilion, moving it to a spot north of Soldier Field.
- To restore Northerly Island as an ecological oasis.
- Add a seasonal ice rink and other winter weather activity rentals.
- Reinstate a free or low-cost shuttle going from various public transit stops to the main museum campus.
- Add two pedestrian bridges over the harbor to increase access to Northerly Island.
- Add free or low-cost trolley service in order to link Museum Campus to key transportation centers and downtown locations.
According to the report, in order to implement these recommendations, the time varies from short-term (AK within a year), to medium-term (within 2 to 5 years), and long-term (more than five years). It is yet to be decided when, and if, any of these changes will be underway.