Navy Pier Gets $20 Million Private Donation

Navy Pier's Gateway Park will be named Polk Bros Park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Polk family donates millions to the state's most popular tourist attraction. (Published Thursday, Jul 17, 2014)

    The renovations to Polk Brothers Park and the rest of Navy Pier are expected to be complete in tome of the pier to celebrate its centennial.

    Chicago's Navy Pier is to receive a $20 million donation, one that officials say is the largest private gift in the attraction's history.

    Navy Pier officials announced the donation on Thursday. It comes from the Polk family, which owned retail stores in the Chicago-area for decades.

    Navy Pier's Gateway Park will be named Polk Bros Park, which includes a name change for the sign greeting visitors to the pier.

    Officials say the Polk family money will pay for redeveloping the 13-acre entrance park. That will include performance lawns, a promenade and the gateway fountain which will be available as a skating rink in the winter.

    "This was to be phase two. We didn't have the money for it, but this will allow us to jumpstart phase two," Navy Pier chairman Bill Brodsky said.

    The gift is part of the Polk family’s history of giving back to Chicago, according to Bruce Bachman, the son of Polk Brothers founder Goldie Bachman Polk.

    The philosophy of the second and the third generation is to give back to the city. We find it very much a job -- tougher than making the money and giving away the money," Bachman said.

    The project is expected to be completed in time for Navy Pier to mark its 100th anniversary in 2016. It attracts about 9 million people annually.

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