Red Eye Chicago - - Front Page - By Patrick M. O’Con­nell

Bears tail­gaters had bet­ter be pre­pared to call a pregame au­di­ble. If the plans for the Lu­cas Mu­seum of Nar­ra­tive Art move for­ward, 1,500 tail­gat­ing spots in the South Lot would be scat­tered to other lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a pro­posed five-story park­ing garage west of Lake Shore Drive, ac­cord­ing to an agree­ment be­tween the Bears and the Chicago Park Dis­trict.

The pro­posed garage would have the same park­ing to­tal as the South Lot, which is tick­eted for the bull­dozer if the mu­seum project moves for­ward. But only 386 spa­ces on the top deck would be avail­able for tail­gat­ing, ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment.

Half of the re­main­ing tail­gat­ing spots are planned for the so-called “event prairie” space, a grassy and land­scaped area pro­posed south of the mu­seum fa­cil­ity. The oth­ers would be dis­trib­uted among other lots and garages.

While the garage is be­ing built, tail­gaters would be di­rected to al­ter­nate sites, in­clud­ing a gravel lot on Northerly Is­land (180 spots), the for­mer Michael Reese Hospital site (256),

the 31st Street West Lot (153) and the Hutchin­son ten­nis area in south­ern Grant Park (232).

Plans for a mu­seum south of the Bears’ sta­dium show­cas­ing “Star Wars” cre­ator Ge­orge Lu­cas’ tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal art col­lec­tion re­main in limbo be­cause of an on­go­ing fed­eral law­suit. But if con­struc­tion were to start—a judge may rule on whether to lift a stand­still or­der at the site next month—the Bears have worked out pre­lim­i­nary con­tin­gency plans for af­fected fans.

The agree­ment, of­fi­cially an amend­ment to the ex­ist­ing per­mit and op­er­at­ing pact be­tween the team and the Park Dis­trict, in­cludes schematic di­a­grams for the pro­posed garage and pro­vides a snap­shot of how a sec­tion of the park grounds would be re­pur­posed for game day tail­gat­ing if the mu­seum project ever ma­te­ri­al­izes on the lake­front.

The new park­ing struc­ture, to be funded by the Park Dis­trict through $40 mil­lion Lu­cas has pledged for al­ter­nate park­ing, must be avail­able for pa­trons within 18 months of ei­ther the start of con­struc­tion, the date the South Lot be­comes un­avail­able or when the Park Dis­trict se­cures the money for the project. The Park Dis­trict owns Sol­dier Field and the land slated for the Lu­cas mu­seum.

The Bears em­pha­size in the doc­u­ment that they will not pay for any­thing re­lated to the new park­ing garage. The agree­ment also states that if con­struc­tion be­gins any­time af­ter Aug. 1 of any year, the Park Dis­trict “at its own ex­pense and at no ex­pense to the club” must pro­vide 1,500 park­ing spa­ces dur­ing game days.

The park­ing struc­ture would be built im­me­di­ately west of Lake Shore Drive, a site that is cur­rently a road, a bus turn­around and a va­cant park­ing lot. The space is wedged in be­tween the road­way and the Me­tra Elec­tric train tracks, south of 18th Street and the nearby Me­tra plat­form sta­tion. The de­sign con­nects to McCormick Place and in­cludes lo­gis­tics for fans to pro­ceed un­der the ex­ist­ing 18th Street un­der­pass, be­low Lake Shore Drive, east to­ward Sol­dier Field.

The orig­i­nal op­er­at­ing agree­ment be­tween the Bears and the Park Dis­trict was cre­ated in 2001 dur­ing plan­ning for re­con­struc­tion of the his­toric sta­dium. The Bears said the Lu­cas mu­seum “and other re­lated pro­posed im­prove­ments to the park­land in­fringe on the club’s rights” un­der the ini­tial agree­ment, lead­ing to the ad­di­tional doc­u­ment. The essen­tial el­e­ments of the doc­u­ment be­come moot if the Lu­cas mu­seum isn’t built.

The “game day park­ing” chart states that 6,491 park­ing spots cur­rently are avail­able in the lots and garages near Sol­dier Field, with 3,161 avail­able for tail­gat­ing. The tem­po­rary park­ing plan calls for nearly the same amount of tail­gat­ing spa­ces, with 200 more spa­ces

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.