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Adler Planetarium excludes Chicago kids from admission hike

06/06/2007--Adler Planetarium--A view Adler Planetarium photographed Chicago Wednesday June 6 2007. (Sun-Times Photo/Brian Kersey)

06/06/2007--Adler Planetarium--A view of the Adler Planetarium photographed in Chicago on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. (Sun-Times Photo/Brian Kersey)

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Updated: July 7, 2011 2:33PM



Under pressure from the City Council’s most powerful alderman, the Adler Planetarium is exempting Chicago children from its plan to raise admission fees by $2 across-the-board.

Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), announced the Planetarium’s retreat on Tuesday, during a joint meeting of the City Council’s Finance and Special Events Committees.

He sounded like he was declaring victory — and why not? The $2, across-the-board fee hike that Burke had characterized as “uncaring” in a prolonged recession will not apply to Chicago kids. The fee hike will be limited to Chicago adults, seniors and non-residents.

“The Adler has modified its request for an admission fee in a manner that will maintain the current rate for all Chicago children,” Burke said.

“Members of the City Council … are committed to ensuring that Chicagoans, especially during these tough economic times, have the ability to access the city’s world-class museums, including the Adler, one of America’s premier institutions dedicated to the exploration of the universe. Now the executive committee of the Adler and the board of trustees have acknowledged the importance of maintaining the museum’s accessibility to all Chicago children.”

He added, “I hope in the future that the executive committee of the Adler and its board of trustees will timely communicate these kinds of proposals with the members of the City Council and members of the public who might be unaware of the commitment that it does have to provide Chicagoans with affordable educational experiences.”

When Burke commended Special Events Committee Chairman Walter Burnett (27th) for his leadership on the Adler fee issue, Burnett would hear none of it.

“No. I want to thank you for your leadership and commend you for always looking out for the little people in regards to all the museums in the city of Chicago,” Burnett said.

Burnett then referred to the 2009 flap over the Art Institute’s decision to blind side aldermen with a proposal to raise its admission fees by 50 percent.

“This is the second time we’ve gone through this. I hope that all the other museums throughout the city take note and appropriately notify us before they make a large recommendation for an increase in their fees,” Burnett said.

The Adler Planetarium has not raised its admission fee since 2007, when it rose by $1.

The revised increase would raise the rate to $10 for Chicago adults and $8 for residents older than 65. Non-resident fees would rise to $12 for adults, $8 for children and $10 for seniors.



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