Grant Park is home to some of Chicago's biggest festivals and spectator events. Convenience, beauty and a need for cash has led to a pattern of increasing reliance on the commercialization (i.e., the stream of corporate-sponsored festivals) and overuse of the park.
“In 2015, about 54 percent of the time between April 1 and Dec. 1 – the time when outdoor activity is most prevalent in Chicago – citizens were denied access to large portions of Grant Park. University of Chicago Professor and Nobel Laureate James Heckman, The Chicago Tribune, May 12, 2016.
When portions of the park are closed off during these events, the public is denied access to park features such as walk and bike paths, tennis and volleyball courts, and playing fields. Loudspeakers, at times beginning in the early morning hours and continuing until late at night, create a difficult noise problem for residents. Traffic becomes gridlocked. There needs to be a better balance between neighborhood and regional interests.