Grant Park paying for 270 new trees with money from Lollapalooza


07/20/2011 9:55 PM


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Every year, Lollapalooza invades the South Loop and Grant Park, and hordes of concertgoers make thorough use of all the park has to offer.

They can be a bit rough on the flora at times, but Lollapalooza gives back — with cash. Since the festival began its tenure in the park back in 2005, they’ve given a chunk of money back to the park district every year through its Parkways Foundation.

Most of that gets divvied out to parks around the city. But the Grant Park Conservancy has for several years used the cash to replant trees throughout the park, and this year, it’s finishing up the project.

Bob O’Neill, director of the Grant Park Conservancy, said that they’ve just started planting another 270 trees in the park’s easternmost portion, along Lake Shore Drive.

Following a forestry plan from 1939, the hope is to bring the park back to its flush, historical self.

“There were thousands of trees missing over the years,” O’Neill said. “Over the decades they’d die off from old age and so forth. So we thought Lollapalooza would be the ideal way to use a public-private process to fund this.”

O’Neill said they decided to focus on planting trees with Lollapalooza’s money, because it was the most visible and easiest thing to do.

“Trees are one of the biggest bang for the buck,” O’Neill said. “When you walk into a park, the first thing you see, you want to see greenery.”

The 270 trees will cost between $175,000 and $200,000 to plant.

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By Old Timer from 14th and Michigan
Posted: 08/09/2011 7:32 AM

The park really needs more benches so the old timers have places to sit and relax while out strolling. There are no benches along Columbus between 12th St. and the fountain and none on Michigan north of the few at 12th St. As it is Grant Park is now geared more for tourists than for the actual people of the city.

By betsy elsaesser from Logan Square
Posted: 08/08/2011 6:19 PM

Good news for Grant Park! How about some new trees along our historic boulevards? A lot of ash trees are clearly doomed.