Updated: December 3, 2012 10:24AM
This would be so Chicago.
And we mean that in the best possible way.
The Chicago Park District Thursday unveiled an utterly beguiling plan to bring wetlands, a lagoon, beaches, kayakers, summer strollers, music lovers and even deep-water divers to Northerly Island, that precious stretch of lakefront land that was once half-wasted on a tiny and rather exclusive airport, Meigs Field.
This is a plan in keeping with those bold undertakings of the past that have come to define the spirit of Chicago — the two worlds fairs, the green lakefront, the wide boulevards, Millennium Park, Navy Pier and (still in the works) the redeveloped riverfront.
This is the high road to Chicago’s future. This is how a smart city attracts and keeps jobs and money and tax dollars.
And the low road? That would be throwing up casinos all over town, as too many short-sighted politicians would like to do, and trying to live off the suckers blowing their paychecks on the slots.
The Park District’s long-range plan for Northerly Island, which you can read at suntimes.com, is just that — a plan. It will take time and money to carry out, and it will change and evolve as Chicagoans give it a good close look.
But all good things in Chicago began with a dreamer’s plan.
Most fancifully, the Park District envisions creating a lagoon off the shore of Northerly Island by building a ring of man-made reefs.
And then — get this — we’d put a sunken ship on the bottom for divers to explore.
Well, why not?