Last week, Alderman Dowell requested a hearing at the Finance Committee meeting to seek answers to questions raised by a recent news article related to the McCormick Place hotel project and Navy Pier.
During the hearing representatives from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) addressed questions and concerns regarding the transaction that put $55 million in TIF funding towards the new hotel at McCormick Place. From the information presented, Alderman Dowell has been able to confirm that the understanding she had when she supported this project in 2013 remains accurate and that TIF funds were properly spent on the hotel project. In addition, the hearing reaffirmed how almost $1 billion in major economic development projects, including the hotel, have transformed this once underutilized area of the 3rd Ward.
Alderman Dowell was also able to confirm that the commitments for job and contract opportunities for people in her community were met and exceeded. In fact, because of Alderman Dowell’s involvement, 100 people from the immediate surrounding communities gained employment and black contractors were awarded more than $63 million in contract work.
Alderman Dowell would like to commend the responsiveness of MPEA and DPD to her concerns, with prompt and complete information directly addressing the questions she had raised. As a result of the information her and my colleagues received, and based on her confidence that any further questions will be addressed with the same prompt responsiveness, Alderman Dowell does not believe additional hearings are required. In the event that changes,
Alderman Dowell will again lead the charge to demand answers.