Officials: So far, post-Lollapalooza, Grant Park cleanup cost at $150,000
By Lisa Donovan Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org August 14, 2012 3:44PM
Lollapalooza fans walk through the mud in Grant Park on Aug. 5, the day after strong rains forced the evacuation of the music festival. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:19AM
Lollapalooza didn’t leave as big a dent in Grant Park this year, the music fest’s promoters said Tuesday.
Repairs to the damaged greens will cost an estimated $150,000 — a fraction of the $1 million it cost in 2011, according to Austin, Texas,-based concert promoter C3 Presents.
Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said in an emailed statement that the money covers repairs to Butler Field and areas surrounding the field; she said damage assessments and a pricetag was forthcoming for the rest of the park, though the costs weren’t expected to balloon significantly above the $150,000 mark.
Concert organizers say that before the music even started they were busy fencing off gardens and bushes so they wouldn’t be trampled the way they had been last year.
“Before the festival began, we took several preventative steps to protect sensitive areas of the park and limit the potential for damage,” Charlie Jones of C3 Presents said in a prepared statement.
“Now, we’re determined to put the park in better shape than it was before Lollapalooza.”
The company picks up the tab for repairs to the park as part of its contract for using park district land.
This year, an independent third-party monitored landscaping in Grant Park before and after the concert to assess the damage and map out repairs and costs.
Work was under way Tuesday with crews aerating and seeding at Butler Field. They’ll also be putting down sod as well as grading surfaces and replacing shrubs, as needed, around the concert footprint in the park, according to concert promoters.
Across three days — August 3-5 — some 300,000 music fans descended on the lakefront site. That includes a stormy Saturday that saw the park temporarily evacuated.
But it was also Mother Nature that likely protected the park.
This summer has been drier than last summer by far, save for that Saturday afternoon storm that brought heavy rains, winds estimated at 60 mph or more and lightning — enough for concert organizers to call for a temporary evacuation of some 60,000 fans from the park.
After a 2 ½ hour break, the crowds poured back in to the park to soak up some music and muddy mosh pits.
Last year saw record-setting rains in the run-up to Lollapalooza — along with heavy rains on the final day of the three-day festival — that turned Grant Park in to a muddy playground.
Asked about the state of Grant Park now, Bob O’Neill, president of the non-profit Grant Park Conservancy, said in an emailed statement: “Grant Park looks 10 times better than last year already. The weather is really cooperating and the repairs are being done even more diligently.”
He said much of the repair work will be done this week and next week — also an improvement over the roughly 2 ½ months it took last year to wrap up the work, leaving swaths of the city’s central park closed to the public.