Chicago 2016 Shouldn’t End

Although Chicago’s 2016 Olympic dreams were shattered on October 2, the experience should be a learning experience about shaping the city’s future.

According to Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, “It’s all about whether Chicago can transform its grand defeat on the international stage into a back-to-basics victory on the home front, taking the best ideas from its Olympic quest and carrying them forward to make a better city and better lives.”

Kamin provides these examples:

The long-neglected south lakefront can be given new life with the redevelopment of the former Michael Reese Hospital campus into a mixed-income residential community.  Even though the City of Chicago seems determined to tear down the entire site, preservationist Grahm Balkany believes that the buildings co-designed by noted modernist architect Walter Gropius are worth saving and should be incorporated into the redevelopment.

The Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Washington Park – which was to have been the setting for the main Olympic stadium and aquatic center – is now well-known to Chicagoans because of the publicity it received.  Perhaps it’s time for the Chicago Park District to turn its attention to enhancing this major recreational resource on the city’s South Side.

Chicago’s blue-green city concept – an environmental theme to conserve water, save energy and recycle resources – should not be limited to the failed Olympic bid.  The concept is a sound one and the city should implement this program to improve the quality of life for every Chicagoan.

The Olympic bid doesn’t need to go to waste.  It was a $72 million, three-year master-planning project and we shouldn’t cast it away.