Chicago officials looking to boost tourism

May 17, 2013

Chicago officials want to boost the city’s tourism and convention business. They’re rolling out a sweeping plan that calls for a new sports arena and an overhaul for Navy Pier. IPR’S Alex Keefe reports.

The proposal calls for nearly 170-million dollars’ worth of changes to Navy Pier including a bigger children’s museum and a makeover to make the Pier feel a bit less like a carnival.

Then there’s the 540-million dollar plan for McCormick Place. It includes two new hotels, and a 10-thousand seat arena for the DePaul Blue Demons.

Critics have questioned spending public money to pay for the stadium. But Jim Reilly, who runs McPier, dismissed that.

"Well that’s baloney. With all due respect, it’s just not. Yeah, they’ll be college basketball there. But there’ll also be concerts and events, there’ll be general sessions, there’ll be trade shows there."

Depaul is splitting the cost of its arena with McPier and the city. Navy Pier’s facelift will be paid for with bonds and private money.