“Make No Small Plans” – Daniel H. Burnham 1450683_765535050139247_1169685993_n

At Zapwater, I mainly work on hospitality accounts and while I absolutely love that world, I also love when I get a project that is out of the comfort zone and something totally different. Recently I got to work on a very cool project that has the ability to positively impact Chicago and its history forever.

Recently, the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and Chicago Lakeside Development celebrated the opening of the newly extended South Lake Shore Drive. This new two-mile extension of the historic Chicago thoroughfare will unlock lakefront property that has been inaccessible to the neighboring community for more than 100 years. The event marked a major milestone for the community and a project that will transform the former U.S. Steel South Works property into a 21st century sustainable neighborhood for Chicago. The South Lake Shore Drive extension introduced the beginning of a multi-decade development that will revolutionize the city’s last great undeveloped lakefront property into a thriving, global model of modern environmental compatibility and urban living.

Also, as part of the proposed redevelopment of the property, more than 100 acres of lakefront property was donated to the Chicago Park District to build parks such as Rainbow Beach Park, incorporating the land into Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago’s lakefront.

Elected Officials such as Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman’s of the 7th and 10th wards all attended a ribbon cutting alongside CEO and Chairman of McCaffery Interests, Dan McCaffery to formally celebrate the new road. The ceremony also included the unveiling of “The Steel Garden” the newest creation of renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, and performances by the amazing South Shore Drill Team and King College Prep Marching Band. The celebration then continued in the form of a 5K run/walk and Team Time Trial cycling event that lead participants down the new tree-lined boulevard. A neighborhood festival was also part of the afternoon festivities and included a farmers market featuring locally-sourced food, refreshments, live music and family friendly activities such as a pumpkin patch, hayrides and more.

The opening of this roadway and the potential to develop this land will ultimately lead to a rejuvenation of a great neighborhood that has a deep history in the former steel industry. What made this project so special was the history (and I do love history) and my admiration of Lake Shore Drive. It is one of my all-time favorite roads and the view of the city while driving north along the lake, as well as from the land itself is simply spectacular. And, even though I will be old and grey by the time the development is finished its pretty cool to say that I was once a tiny part of it all.

Annie Block Vice President