Once upon a time, there was a season called “construction season”. This season used to start in the spring and end in the fall. It was a time of congestion, frustration, and a lot of road rage. In recent years, this so-called “season” has ballooned into a year-round, nonstop period of seemingly-endless construction. It seems that there’s always work taking place in the city of Chicago. Year-round residents are subjected to street closers, detours, pot holes, new gas lines, new water lines, and construction workers clumsily directing traffic.
In Lakeview, there are the never-ending Wrigleyville construction projects. The Cubs organization are improving their stadium, they’ve built an administration building, they’ve built a hotel, and other structures with which they are not involved are being built as well. Within half a mile of the stadium, dozens of other job sites are underway that make walking and driving more difficult.
Lincoln Park is just starting to see the end of years of construction. DePaul University has built new buildings and the old Children’s Hospital is near completion. Several more years of construction will occur before all projects are completed. The final product will greatly alter and improve this classic neighborhood.
These are two examples of what Chicago residents are experiencing in every neighborhood year-round. While this is a nuisance and a source of understandable frustration, it is ultimately a great thing.
All these projects are signs that the city of Chicago is constantly improving and growing. They help to improve streetscapes and neighborhoods. These new developments can add more retail spaces, allow neighborhoods to be more densely populated with a diverse array of people, and replace properties that are in poor shape with new ones that meet today’s needs. We always hope that old and architecturally-significant buildings will be rehabbed. Sadly, however, this is not always the case when it comes to some of Chicago’s most beautiful and historic buildings. If every building in Chicago stayed the same, then the older buildings wouldn’t be as majestic. Even though losing some of them can be painful, that just makes it all the more special when the truly amazing buildings survive.
Living in a city of constant change and development has its pros and cons. Getting around can be taxing, especially during peak traffic hours. The noise that once stopped in the winter now pounds our eardrums 365 days a year. And yet, as a result, we have a constantly evolving city packed with beautiful new building that offer new stores, housing, and attractions. These changes provided Chicago residents with Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Water Tower Place, North Avenue, and the Halsted intersection. The new Wrigleyville may be a headache to develop, but we are very excited to see the new and improved streetscape it will provide.
Change is constant, so try and enjoy it!