Chicago, IL

Chicago Mayor's Plan to Move Taste of Chicago to Navy Pier Because of Deal Made With NASCAR Opposed by City Council

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

President of the Grant Park Advisory Council, Leslie Recht, says Mayor's deal with NASCAR fails to address a number of issues and lacks transparency
Chicago's Grant Park where Taste of Chicago is normally heldPhoto byMarco Verch/flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Chicago City Council members Brendan Reilly and Brian Hopkins opposed Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan to move the Taste of Chicago to Polk Brothers Park near Navy Pier during the same weekend as NASCAR's first street-course race. They have urged the non-profit corporation that runs Navy Pier to "push back and refuse to host" the event during the same weekend. One of the primary reason the Chicago City Council members opposed Lightfoot's proposal was that they believed it would lead to traffic chaos and other logistical issues.

Additionally, some council members were concerned that hosting both events simultaneously would pose a public safety risk, as the heavy traffic flow could disrupt emergency vehicles' ability to navigate through the city. It is also worth noting that some council members were skeptical about the financial benefits of holding both events at the same time, as they believed that the Taste of Chicago could compete with NASCAR for attendees and revenue.

Reilly further criticized the decision, claiming that the mayor ran roughshod over local alderpersons to cut a two-year deal with NASCAR.

"That is a last minute switcheroo just like the casino deal was, like the NASCAR deal was, this is a trend, it is likely what this mayor wasn't re-elected," Reilly said.

Meanwhile, Hopkins and Reilly want the Taste to stay in Grant Park but held in the fall when there is more capacity and bandwidth for special events.

The Chicago City Council approved a request by Reilly to hold off approving the schedule for the city's summer events. Both Navy Pier and much of Grant Park is located in Reilly's ward. The decision will be postponed until the next mayor takes over.

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Chicago, IL

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