'World-class park' to honor Maggie Daley, 'a world-class lady'

'World-class park' to honor Maggie Daley, 'a world-class lady'
Artist rendering of planned Maggie Daley Park on display in the Chicago Cultural Center. (Keri Wiginton, Chicago Tribune)

A nearly 20-acre park at the north end of

Grant Park

that is being redesigned and rebuilt will be named after

Maggie Daley

, Chicago's late first lady, Mayor

Rahm Emanuel

announced today.

The redesign was approved earlier this month after several public meetings over more than two years.


Maggie Daley Park will include a meandering ice skating ribbon, curving paths, a children's play area and climbing walls.

The site, currently known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza, is just east of

Millennium Park


The redesigned site "will be a world-class park named after a world-class lady," Emanuel said this morning during a news conference at the

Chicago Cultural Center

, as former Mayor

Richard Daley

and both their families stood behind them.

Maggie Daley, 68, died of

breast cancer

in November, about six months after her husband left office.

Both Emanuel and Daley appeared to be holding back tears at times as they talked about Maggie Daley's legacy and the new park.

"Maggie loved the city," Daley said. "She loved the children especially. ... This great park will be a reflection of Maggie's love and affection for all of our children."

When Daley was mayor, he and the

Chicago Park District

supported building an underground children's museum on the site.

Those plans were scuttled after the recession hampered fundraising. Emanuel said after he took office that it was time to hit the "reset button" on the divisive proposal.

The redesign of the park is expected to cost about $55 million and should be mostly complete by winter 2014, according to the mayor's office. The cost will be covered by a combination of public and private funds.

Twitter @RyanTHaggerty