The Plan for Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park

When Navy Pier announced the $20 million gift from the Polk Family and the renaming of Gateway Park to Polk Park, they renewed our interest the park’s development. The $20 million gift, the largest private gift ever given to Navy Pier, will contribute to the Pier’s transformation.

In anticipation of Navy Pier’s centennial in 2016, the Pier is undergoing a redevelopment to update its features and amenities. The Polk family gift will support the redevelopment of Navy Pier’s 13 acre entrance and its new fountain, promenade and exciting performance lawns.

“We truly believe that Navy Pier, the ‘people’s pier’ – a welcoming landmark that is iconically Chicago and accessible to all – has provided us with the perfect venue for the Polk Bros name to live on for future generations,” said Howard Polk, director, Polk Bros. Foundation Board of Directors and son of one of the original Polk brothers, Morris Polk.

The design’s center piece is an extended plaza with 12,500-square-foot fountain, which will convert to an ice rink in the winter months. The fountain will feature more than 250 programmable jets, which will mimic the movements of waves, schools of fish, or flocks of birds.  

Other renovations include widening the main promenade connecting the city with Navy Pier, an enhanced Welcome Pavilion, which will house Park amenities such as bicycle and skate rental, and two new performance spaces for concerts and culture events.

Construction is already underway and is projected to be completed in time for the Pier’s 100th anniversary in 2016. The cost of redeveloping the Pier’s redesign is estimated at $115 million.

Joe Piehl's picture
Chicago Editor Joe Piehl
Joe Piehl

A TLT contributor since 2010, Joe is the Chicago Editor. Outside TLT, Joe keeps an eye out for awesome activities and he writes a travel blog: Joe the Explorer.

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