City Council passes Children's Museum proposal

The Chicago City Council gave its approval to the Chicago Children's Museum's plans to build a new facility in Grant Park today, but Peggy Figiel, co-founder of  the opposition group "Save Grant Park," says the fight isn't over.

"We are more than confident that we will prevail in court," she said.

The city council voted to allow the move by a vote of 33-16. The vote will allow the museum, currently located at Navy Pier, to build a $100 million, mostly underground structure in Grant Park.

The underground design was part of a concession made by museum officials to avoid clashing with Illinois Supreme Court rulings that require the park be left "open, clear and free of any buildings" and of any operations that charge admission.

Opponents of the move, including Ald. Brendan Reilly (D-42), whose ward includes Grant Park, say the museum's plans violate those rulings and create a dangerous precedent for development in the park.

Figiel and other opponents filed suit against the museum, the city, the plan commission, the zoning commission and the park district last week following the Chicago Commission on Zoning's approval of the plan. She says more lawsuits are forthcoming.

The proposal has met with protests throughout its various approval stages. On May 15, the city's plan commission voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal after nine hours of contentious debate.

On June 5, the zoning commission passed the proposal by a 6-3 vote, paving the way for today's council vote.