CHICAGO
12/02/2010 01:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Northerly Island Park Plans (PHOTOS)

Mayor Richard Daley may be leaving office next May, but the man who's spent twenty years crafting Chicago's image has one more facelift in the bag. This Thursday evening, the Chicago Park District is unveiling a broad-strokes plan for Northerly Island Park, an urban ecological marvel envisioned by some of the city's leading architects.

Northerly Island was once home to Meigs Field, the small lakefront airport. Of course, Daley famously destroyed the airstrip in the middle of the night with no warning or approval, a move that came to symbolize his autocratic style.

Now, the island may go from a blemish on his record to a highlight of his legacy, as the Chicago Tribune reports. New plans for the 91-acre area include wetlands for migrating birds, and a deep-water lagoon for swimming and kayaking, offset by a chain of reefs. There's also a plan to have a sunken ship at the bottom of the lagoon for divers to explore.

"It's almost like a Millennium Park of nature," architect Jeanne Gang told the Tribune. Gang, the mastermind behind downtown's stunning Aqua Tower, also helped design the plans for Northerly Island.

The Park could also be home to a new concert venue that could hold up to 14,000 people. This new venue would replace the Charter One Pavillion.

The presentation of new plans will take place on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Check out photos of the new park's plans. Photos are courtesy of JJR, a landscape architecture firm, and Jeanne Gang from Studio Gang Architects.