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Mayor Daley plans open house at City Hall in May to thank Chicago

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Mayor Daley will end his administration the way he started it: with a City Hall open house to personally thank Chicagoans for supporting him.

Movers-and-shakers will be asked to stand in line outside the mayor’s office alongside everyday Chicagoans from 1 to 4 p.m. on May 9, one week before Rahm Emanuel is sworn in as Daley’s replacement.

In recent weeks, Daley has been on a ribbon-cutting blitz of Chicago’s 50 wards that aides have dubbed his farewell “Neighborhood Appreciation Tour,” complete with, “Thank You, Chicago” banners.

The open house is a variation of the same theme.

Daley personally welcomed Chicagoans into his City Hall office after each of his six inaugurations. The final chapter of his 22-year reign will be similar to the first.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper predicted that the line outside City Hall would include “tens of thousands” of people, including business titans.

“We’ve had such a great working relationship with him in helping to build this city to what it is today. His leadership and his vision has inspired the business community to want to be involved. They’ll come and thank him for that on that day,” Roper said.

Roper said he’s amazed at how upbeat Daley has been as he prepares to leave office. At an Art Institute fund-raiser last week held in honor of the outgoing mayor and his wife, people were on stage singing. Daley joined in.

“He was so jovial and so into it. He’s really having fun with this. I don’t know when it will really hit him,” Roper said.

University of Illinois at Chicago professor Dick Simpson, a former independent alderman, predicted that the line to greet Daley on May 9 would not be nearly “as big as when he came in” because his power has waned.

But, Simpson said, “There are a lot of people who want to say goodbye. He’s been doing what I call victory laps in the neighborhoods. The open house seems a perfectly reasonable way to try and end up his term as mayor.”

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