Great Lakes Play Big Role in Second City’s Revival

Ohio Street Beach

Ohio Street Beach

Chicago’s amazing architecture and waterfront vistas are attracting second home buyers from around the country and around the world. It appears that when Chicago showcased the city’s perch upon Lake Michigan it made it one of the most sought after locations for second home buyers from New York City to Switzerland!

“Chicago’s waterfront is a major driving force behind Chicago’s emergence as a second home and vacation destination, “said local realtor Kathleen Malone. “The preservation of Chicago’s waterfront is a major priority to Chicago’s residents and also a major draw for tourists and potential out-of-town buyers,” she added.

According to a recent New York Times story, Chicago is becoming a destination for people seeking a second home. Malone told HOW that she has clients from New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles as well as London and Tokyo! She says the lakefront offers clients venues for outdoor fun such as sailing, kayaking, swimming and biking. There are 31 beaches and 15 beach walks along Chicago’s lakefront.

But Chicago’s renaissance didn’t happen overnight. Once upon a time, city planners envisioned an attractive waterfront that would boost the Chicago’s image. Mayor Daly agreed with them and was determined to make Chicago’s old rail yard into Millennium Park extending Grant Park and the green space between the city’s skyscrapers and the beaches of Lake Michigan. Not only does the venue draw tourists to the city, and place it as a contender for the Summer Olympics of 2016, but the property values have improved along the Lake’s coastline as well.

A report by the Brookings Institute endorses such investments in the northern coastline along with cleaning up and fully restoring the Great Lakes to a healthy condition. The report found that by investing $26 billion in the eight-state region to overhaul sewer systems, clean up toxic pollution and conserve the area, the entire region would benefit economically. Companies would want to relocate to these attractive areas and green collar industries could replace the old rust belt companies. Not only does the Great Lakes region offer the beauty and advantages of vast fresh water resources but it also offers up some of the best educational institutions in the world.

The federal government has not committed to investing $26 billion in Great Lakes restoration yet, but it is considering spending $475 million on restoration efforts this year. It has also invested more money in the state revolving fund to fix up sewers and waste water treatment in the stimulus package. In addition, the US House has approved tripling the spending on the clean-up of toxic pollution in the Great Lakes Legacy Act, but the Senate has yet to act on this initiative.

The point is that Chicago may be our first shining example of what can happen in the Great Lakes states and cities when we invest in Great Lakes restoration. We have only just begun and this city is already attracting residents from around the nation and the world. “Any investment in Chicago’s lake front and preservation will play a major role in Chicago’s future,” Malone said before adding that out-of-towners are often commenting on how clean Lake Michigan and the city appear to be.

“Preservation of the Great Lakes is vital not only to the environment but also to the health of the cities that benefit from the waterfront,” Malone said.

Not only will Chicago continue to benefit from restoration, but Detroit, Toledo, Buffalo and many other Great Lakes cities could find business and residents flocking back to our shores.

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