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Was Museum Campus built to be rebuilt?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a 23-person committee to reimagine Museum Campus. 

The news comes as the McCormick Place is sounding the alarm over a possible casino affecting conventions and as Lightfoot is trying to keep the Bears in town, according to Crain’s Chicago and WGN

But calls for change at the 57-acre park have long been in the works.

DuSable Lake Shore Drive was reconstructed for the pedestrian path connecting the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium for a cool $110 million in 1998, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

Then there was the infamous late-night bulldozing of Meigs Field airport by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2003. That turned the land it was on, the secluded Northerly Island, into a nature preserve. 

George Lucas tried to bring the Star Wars museum to Museum Campus in the mid-2010s only to be met with legal challenges due to the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, which prohibits building east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, WTTW reported. 

That ordinance and Lake Michigan’s climate change threats are on the minds of some members of the working group, who Lightfoot assembled to make Museum Campus a year-round tourist attraction.

How would YOU reimagine Museum Campus? 

Producer Carrie Shepherd: “Better public transit access. Northerly Island is kind of a pain in the ass to get to (although Divvy is a decent option).” 

Producer Simone Alicea: “I won’t wade into the overall McCormick Place parking discourse…but at least better signage would be a big improvement, especially off DuSable Lake Shore Drive.”

Host Jacoby Cochran: “I’d rebuild the planetarium and make it larger, plant more colorful trees, and build a large bird sanctuary on Northerly Island.”

📩 Tell us how you’d reimagine museum park! Reply, and we might feature your response here.


Two years into the pandemic, domestic violence cases continue to rise as victims are stuck at home with those who cause them harm, and are isolated from outside communities and outlets that may be able to offer help. 

Amanda Pyron is the executive director of The Network, which runs the state’s domestic violence hotline, provides training for advocates, and connects victims with resources. 

She tells us about the misconceptions around domestic violence and what resources are still needed.

👉 Volunteer with The Network. Seek out domestic violence help locally.

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▪️ The city is not on track to end its mask mandate Feb. 28 with the rest of the state. But city officials could lift it anyway. [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ Will Lightfoot appoint an Asian American alder to fill Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s vacant seat? The 11th Ward is set to be the city’s first Asian American–majority ward under the remap. [Politico Illinois]

▪️ See where famous Black Chicagoans like Lorraine Hansberry, Louis Armstrong, and more used to live. [Chicago Sun-Times]

▪️ Kenwood Academy’s varsity cheer and dance teams and JV girls and boys basketball teams won city titles this weekend! Go Broncos 📣 [Hyde Park Herald]

▪️ The Chicago Public Library lets you download audiobooks for free 🤯 [h/t City Cast’s growth manager Caroline Patton]


Chicago, are you worried about our democracy in America? If you read the City Cast newsletter, then you’re most likely a very engaged citizen. Democracy is in danger and needs your help now more than ever.

That’s why The Democracy Group has created a community and network of 16 podcasts united around the goal of helping listeners understand what’s broken in our democracy, and how people are working together to fix it.

Subscribe to their newsletter for podcast recommendations, deep dives, and information about how to become an engaged citizen in saving our democracy.


Reader Stephanie Pyrzynski had more Chicago love to share with us. 

She first came to the city with her parents when she was 1 and they were leaving the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War. 

Stephanie later found love with her now-husband Geoffrey, a Tinley Park native, while they were students at the University of Illinois Chicago. 

“That’s a fun little story of him dating my roommate, then her dumping him on Valentine’s Day 2008, and then us randomly meeting through a mutual friend in 2010, which led us down the primrose path to marriage in 2014.”

Now a mom blogger in the southwest suburbs, Stephanie looks forward to revisiting the city post-pandemic. 

Big thanks to all our readers and listeners who shared their love stories with us this month! Read or listen to them again. 

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New Chicagoan and reader Amelia Jeanne isn’t just telling us about her lifelong love with the Windy City, but she’s also telling friends and fam to subscribe to the City Cast newsletter. We appreciate you, Amelia! Spread the word about City Cast, and we’ll shower you in praise and perks!