Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago in Illinois, USA and originally intended to celebrate the millennium. It is a prominent civic center near the city's Lake Michigan shoreline that covers a 24.5-acre (99,000 m2) section of northwestern Grant Park. The area was previously occupied by parkland, Illinois Central rail yards, and parking lots. The park, which is bounded by Michigan Avenue, Randolph Street, Columbus Drive and East Monroe Drive, features a variety of public art. As of 2009, Millennium Park trailed only Navy Pier as a Chicago tourist attraction.

Planning of the park began in October 1997. Construction began in October 1998, and Millennium Park was opened in a ceremony on July 16, 2004, four years behind schedule. The three-day opening celebrations were attended by some 300,000 people and included an inaugural concert by the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus. The park has received awards for its accessibility and green design. Millennium Park has free admission, and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden, and various other attractions. The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park. Because the park sits atop a parking garage and the commuter rail Millennium Station, it is considered the world's largest rooftop garden.

Some observers consider Millennium Park to be the city's most important project since the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. It far exceeded its originally proposed budget of $150 million. The final cost of $475 million was borne by Chicago taxpayers and private donors. The city paid $270 million; private donors paid the rest, and assumed roughly half of the financial responsibility for the cost overruns. The construction delays and cost overruns were attributed to poor planning, many design changes, and cronyism. Many critics have praised the completed park.

Read more about Millennium ParkBackground, Features, Budget, Use, Reception and Recognition

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... Lying between Lake Michigan to the east and the Loop to the west, Grant Park has been Chicago's front yard since the mid-19th century ... until 1997, when it was made available for development by the city as Millennium Park ... According to 2007 data released in 2008, Millennium Park trailed only Navy Pier as a Chicago tourist attraction ...
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... The Financial Times describes Millennium Park as "an extraordinary public park that is set to create new iconic images of the city", and further notes that it is "a genuinely 21st-century interactive park ... Frommer's lists exploring Millennium Park as one of the four best free things to do in the city, and it commends the park for its various artistic offerings ... Lonely Planet recommends an hour-long stroll to see the park's playful art ...
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Famous quotes containing the words park and/or millennium:

    Is a park any better than a coal mine? What’s a mountain got that a slag pile hasn’t? What would you rather have in your garden—an almond tree or an oil well?
    Jean Giraudoux (1882–1944)

    The millennium will not come as soon as women vote, but it will not come until they do vote.
    Anna Howard Shaw (1847–1919)