The grass is growing, the flowers are blooming, the play garden is finished and the climbing park is ready…Maggie Daley Park is OPEN! Chicago’s largest green roof project and quite possibly the world’s largest active play environment is finally ready to greet the citizens of Illinois and the world.
Maggie Daley Park was designed by a team lead by the landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. from Brooklyn, NY and construction of the phase two improvements was led by Walsh Construction Company. Along with the Chicago Park District, these three groups made up the team that brought Maggie Daley Park from just a dream to the awesome facility that it is today. Studio Bloom joined the team in March 2014 as an owner’s representative for the Chicago Park District and helped to facilitate discussions between the design and contracting teams. We provided Construction Administration services which included the observation and review construction operations, providing photo documentation of pretty much everything as it was being built, review of pay applications and change order requests, and generally being another pair of eyes on the site. The opportunity to be on site 1-3 times a week for 15 months was an awesome way to witness the intricate details of how all the pieces of this puzzle went together. We’ve got 1000s of photos…if you want to see some, just ask!
The team utilized a combination of traditional construction techniques and in-the-field ingenuity to ultimately get the new improvements built. This was necessary because the design team used over 73,000 cubic yards of geo foam, which is a lightweight structural fill, to create the undulating terrain you see today. Because the park was constructed over a parking structure, weight was always a critical part of the design criteria, not only from a design standpoint, but also from a construction standpoint. Loading of equipment and loose materials was always on the mind of the project superintendent as construction progressed. As the pieces started to fall into place, Walsh orchestrated the subcontractors and product suppliers to have the right products, equipment and personnel on site at the right time. Though it wasn’t always seamless, what construction project ever is? Given the size and complexity of the project, the process was as smooth as was reasonably possible.
Maggie Daley Park in its entirety is 28 acres, which includes the Daley Bicentennial Plaza, Cancer Survivors Garden and Peanut Park. The construction area, which excluded Cancer Survivors Garden, was 26.5 acres. This park project was developed due to the repairs and renovations that were needed on the 3,700-car parking garage that sits below the area formerly know as Daley Bicentennial Plaza. It was completed in two phases starting in October 2012. Phase one included the removal of the existing park improvements, salvaging 160 existing trees for reuse throughout the finished park, removal and stockpiling of topsoil at Peanut Park and repairs to the parking garage structure. Phase two commenced in July 2013 and included construction of the new park improvements that you can see and enjoy in the park today. The Phase two construction costs are just over $42.8 million, funded by both private donations and public monies.
Now that Maggie Daley Park is open, the last bit of construction will wrap up this summer, as Peanut Park gets its tennis courts and final landscaping installed. Even though the ice ribbon has gone through it’s annual transformation to a walking path and viewing platform for the climbing park, rest assured that our need for ice-skating will be satisfied every winter as the park district rebuilds the ice on our very own “trail through the evergreens” in the heart of our city. Every time I’m at the park, I overhear the residents and citizens of Chicago and surrounding suburbs say how much they absolutely love Maggie Daley Park! It is wonderful to hear how proud most folks are of their newest addition to the lakefront experience. It has been a spectacular experience to have and to be a part of this amazing team. Make plans to get out and see this wonderful new park, not only this summer, but next winter too, as the ¼ mile ice ribbon reopens and the skating fun begins again!
- Geo Foam / 73,000 CY
- Soil / 88,000 CY
- Lighting conduit / 19,000 LF = 3.6 miles
- Storm sewer / 18,135 LF = 3.4 miles
- Storm sewer structures / 267
- Sanitary sewer / 1,454 LF = 1/4 mile
- Sanitary sewer structures / 14
- Water main / 2,706 LF = ½ mile
- Ice ribbon walls / 2,253 LF
- Ice ribbon length / ¼ mile
- Ice ribbon insulated mains / 4,700 LF
- Ice ribbon cable / 35,000 LF = 6.6 miles of tubing inside the ice ribbon concrete surfacing
- Concrete sidewalk / 200,800 SF = 4.6 Acres
- Trees / 1436
- Lawn / 207,600 SF = 4.76 Acres = 3½ football fields
- Climbing park / 19,000 SF / 42’ Height = Largest public manufactured climbing space in the world
- Upside Down Trees / 17 located in the Enchanted Forest
- Picnic Tables / 128
- Benches / 42
- XL Tripod light poles / 13 / 53’ Height
- Light fixtures / 114