Mayor cuts ribbon on new stretch of Chicago Riverwalk

A dedication ceremony was held Monday for a stretch of the acclaimed Chicago Riverwalk, which was one of the earliest portions built and is now getting a major facelift.

"This is one of the greatest urban spaces created on the globe in the last century! That's what we have with the Riverwalk!" said Mark Kelly, Cultural Affairs Commissioner. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel took part in a ribbon-cutting for what is called "Riverwalk East.” It’s the portion that starts at Michigan Avenue and extends east all the way to Lake Shore Drive.

Now, after a $12 million renovation, it more closely resembles the acclaimed Riverwalk west of Michigan Avenue built under the mayor's watch.

"The entire Riverwalk will look and feel like one space," said Mayor Emanuel. "Not like a before and after."

They’ve added benches, landscaping, and public art. There will also soon be nine kiosks and permanent stands for restaurants and bars, as well as a baking company that specializes in pies.

It’s something of a victory lap for the mayor, who leaves office next week. He says developing the river was one of his foremost goals.     

"In 2011, I said when I was running I want to make the Chicago River the next recreational park of the city," said Mayor Emanuel.