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Maggie Daley Park replaces the Daley Bicentennial Plaza creating a continuous park from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive in North Grant Park. It is designed to create active, interactive spaces along with passive, natural spaces. The park has a varied landscape design creating a diverse typography of both recreation and relaxation spaces as it balances active recreation. The park includes elements like a play garden, rock climbing and seasonal ice ribbon with a continuous series of lawns and valleys. The target demographic is children and families, a long underserved group of park users. Maggie Daley Park expands the appeal of Grant Park. The park is also a signal of the growing residential population of downtown, especially in Lakeshore East. The $55 million 20-acre park serves as a green roof to an underground parking garage. Maggie Daley Park opened to the public on December 13th, 2014. 

Location: 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601


Maggie Daley Park Playground
Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating
Maggie Daley Park Playground 1
Maggie Daley Park Entrance
Maggie Daley Park ice skating

Trees of Maggie Daley Park

The construction of Maggie Daley Park required the removal of 877 trees.  The good news is that the new park is much more interesting and innovative with more of a nature focus than what was there before. Also,1000 new trees were planted, so the new park has a net gain of trees.  Additionally, 38 trees remained at Peanut Park, and those at the south end of Daley Bicentennial Plaza, (along Monroe in the Green at Grant Park), also remained. Many of the trees were at the end of their lives and there was little diversity of species. The ash trees would inevitably have succumbed to the emerald ash borer anyway. Reclaimed wood from 160 trees were used in the new children's play area.  Many of the trees were already dying and the predominating honey locust,  are not that long-lived. 


The new park is much more interesting and innovative with more of a focus on nature. The diverse pallete of nature friendly tree species helps to attract wildlife. What was considered a total loss of many mature trees with the construction of the new park, is actually very positive because superior stock replaced so many of the existing trees that were in poor shape, dying, diseased, or were of a species that do not live long. All were replaced with much better stock. There is also a tree irrigation system to help the trees grow more quickly and remain healthy longer. The Chicago Park District works diligently to make sure that Maggie Daley Park is not only very nature friendly, but a world-class destination.


Much of the park was funded by private sources.


Here is break down of the trees in Maggie Daley Park:   


  • There were a total of 877 trees in the construction site including Peanut Park to the east where the existing Daley Bi soil is being stored.

  • 336 were ornamental trees: crab apple trees and magnolia trees. 

  • 541 were shade trees: honey locust, white ash, elm, Norway maple. 

  • 160 of the mature trees were reused in the new children's play area.

  • 1000 new trees were planted in the new Maggie Daley Park. 

  • 40 trees were saved at Peanut Park.  

  • The trees at the small golf course on Monroe were saved.   


Maggie Daley Park has hundreds of new trees planted, many beautiful amenities (including a world-class children's play area), breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan and an ice skating ribbon, meadows and natural areas. Maggie Daley Park honors an esteemed civic leader who made countless contributions to the cultural, park, and educational fabric of Chicago. 


Maggie Daley Park Plant Tagging Chart (Excel Spreadsheet)


Phase I was the removal of all of the soil and fill and installation of concrete, structural foundations for the new park elements. Soil removal from the existing garage deck and pedestrian tunnels totaled  22,500 cubic yards of topsoil and 82,000 cubic yards of fill material and  are stored at Peanut Park just to the east.  A total soil volume of 104,500 cubic yards have been removed from the garage deck.  


Phase II  was putting the park back onto the sealed roof. The waterproofing of the garage roof is finished and was paid for and done by Chicago Loop Parking. Phase II also returned the soil geo-foam from the old park, as well as the installation of new geo-foam.  Geo-foam is a dense type of Styrofoam that creates hills without creating a lot of weight. Phase II was also installing the ice-skating ribbon piping and the ribbon itself, the climbing wall, play equipment and landscaping.    



The new waterproofing system is a very different application from what was installed on the garage roof when the garage was built in the 1970's. The old material was a “loose laid” membrane with a layer of drainage stone above it.  This was a common approach at the time, but there have since been significant technological improvements. With the old technology, there were several seams and the fabric itself did not adhere to the concrete deck. The new waterproofing is a heat-applied, monolithic membrane system that has a series of protection layers and drainage layers above it. The benefit of this system is that the seams are minimal. There are several drainage measures in place to convey water off of the roof before it even comes in contact with the membrane itself.  As a result, the new waterproofing system has a much longer lifespan than its predecessor.

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