On May 27, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced the city's plan to honor Jean Baptiste Point DuSablethe first permanent non-indigenous settler of Chicago and his wife Kitihawa's legacy to the founding of the city, a press release announced.
Through this plan, a private developer will invest $10 million, and the City will invest $30 million for the full development of DuSable Park, commissioning of new public art projects, and programming to create the DuSable Riverwalk as well as the establishment of the annual "DuSable Festival."
This plan came after debate stirred within a Chicago City Council meeting about renaming Lake Shore Drive after DuSable. According to The Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot said that many people she's spoken to are opposed to changing Lake Shore Drive's name, stating, "It's one of the most iconic assets the city has. When you say Lake Shore Drive, people know you're talking about Chicago, and I think that's very important."
The city's plan designates three sites that have been identified for development for their prominence and proximity to the site of the DuSable homesteadthe first being DuSable Park. Established in the mid-1980s, the park is currently an undeveloped 3.44-acre peninsula of reclaimed land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline directly east of North Lake Shore Drive and north of the Chicago River.
Additionally, the city identified DuSable Point on the Riverwalkwhere a monumental, representative sculpture and tribute to DuSable and Kitihawa will be developed where the main branch of the Chicago River meets the south and north branches. The city will also install a monument to honor DuSable downtown near DuSable Bridge.
The last component of the city's plan includes establishing an annual "DuSable Festival" to celebrate the legacy of DuSable and his wife, Kitihawa. The festival will allow the city to expand and support existing community-based events that take place every August on the anniversary of his death and highlight the importance of DuSable and the Potawatomi nation, who are native to this region.