-By Ron Styne
An initiative created to increase tourism for the city, called “Choose Chicago” was announced this month by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. A request for proposal has been put out to create a city-wide framework to illuminate some of Chicago’s most famous landmarks.
The city is looking for a company to light up the Willis Tower, 180 bridges throughout the city over the Chicago River, CTA platforms, the modern wing addition at the Art Institute and the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.
The proposal notes that at the present time the city has seven disconnected areas such as Navy Pier, the John Hancock building, Michigan Avenue, the Chicago River, Millennium Park, Willis Tower, Buckingham Fountain and the museum campus along Lake Shore Drive. The lighting plan work create an illuminated connection that would encourage tourists to explore the neighborhoods within the city.
Emanuel is looking to boost the city’s standing as a worldwide destination for tourists and the bid documents feels the light plan could help make that happen. The bidding process is meant to generate ideas and at this time there is no estimate as to how much the lighting network would cost or how much electricity it would take. In addition light pollution within the city has long been a topic of debate and this may be an issue as well.