Maggie Daley Park poster

Artist rendering of planned Maggie Daley Park on display in the Chicago Cultural Center. (Keri Wiginton, Chicago Tribune / August 25, 2012)

A nearly 20-acre park at the north end of Grant Park that is being redesigned and rebuilt will be named after Maggie Daley, Chicago's late first lady, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today.
 
The redesign was approved earlier this month after several public meetings over more than two years.

Maggie Daley Park will include a meandering ice skating ribbon, curving paths, a children's play area and climbing walls.
 
The site, currently known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza, is just east of Millennium Park.

The redesigned site "will be a world-class park named after a world-class lady," Emanuel said this morning during a news conference at the Chicago Cultural Center, as former Mayor Richard Daley and both their families stood behind them.
 
Maggie Daley, 68, died of breast cancer in November, about six months after her husband left office.

Both Emanuel and Daley appeared to be holding back tears at times as they talked about Maggie Daley's legacy and the new park.

"Maggie loved the city," Daley said. "She loved the children especially. ... This great park will be a reflection of Maggie's love and affection for all of our children."

When Daley was mayor, he and the Chicago Park District supported building an underground children's museum on the site.

Those plans were scuttled after the recession hampered fundraising. Emanuel said after he took office that it was time to hit the "reset button" on the divisive proposal.
 
The redesign of the park is expected to cost about $55 million and should be mostly complete by winter 2014, according to the mayor's office. The cost will be covered by a combination of public and private funds.
 
rhaggerty@tribune.com
Twitter @RyanTHaggerty