Navy Pier renovation begins this week
Please pardon Navy Pier's dust. Construction begins this week at Illinois's most-visited tourist attraction as part of a "Centennial Vision" redevelopment plan.
During the $115 million first phase of the renovation over the next 20 months, the South Dock will be made more approachable through the additions of green space, "social areas" and seating. The pier's South Arcade, currently an indoor walkway, will be turned into a (hopefully tasteful) "Chicago-themed food experience." Also, Gateway Park on the pier's west end will get a lighted water fountain 75 feet in diameter that "will flutter organically in sequences suggesting rolling waves, undulating flocks of birds or schooling fish." In the winter months, the fountain will double as an ice-skating rink.
Visitors to Navy Pier will still be able to walk along the South Dock during construction.
The Centennial Vision plan, first drafted in 2011, is projected to be completed by the summer of 2015, just in time for the pier's centennial in 2016.