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City Council Approves Renaming Plaza for Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne

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7/29/2014: Jane Byrne served as Chicago mayor from 1979 to 1983, but unlike mayors before her, no city parks or buildings bear her name.

Chicago's City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved renaming the plaza next to the old Water Tower for former Mayor Jane Byrne.

Though Byrne served as Chicago mayor from 1979 to 1983, no city parks or buildings bear her name.

"If it wasn't for that one movie called 'The Blues Brothers,' we probably wouldn't be where we are today," Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) said.

"I was shocked to realize, in 77 distinct communities, not a single neighborhood seems to be named for a woman, but no less than 35 are named for men," Ald. Ed Burke (14th) said.

As mayor, Byrne lived across the street, and the tower often was a symbol of hope and inspiration for her.

Byrne's family also finds it fitting to see one of her favorite projects, the Children's Fountain, moved from Lincoln Park as part of the Mayor Jane Byrne Plaza.

"We've developed things across this city today because of things she set in motion, and this is long overdue," Fioretti said earlier this week.

The former mayor's daughter says Byrne, who is now 80 years old, is delighted with the plan and is recovering well from a stroke last year.

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