Chicago Park Opens Huge Climbing Wall

Another cash-generating idea from a national leader in city parks funding.

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A new 40-foot-high outdoor rock climbing wall at Maggie Daley Park is giving Chicagoans (who want to pay) a chance to see the city from new heights. The park, which is connected to the city’s Millennium Park, just opened to the public last December, the culmination of a $60 million, two-year construction effort.

When it comes to creative funding through programming and events, the Chicago Park District has been a national leader in urban parks — and the climbing’s not free.

New climbers must take a 45-minute training session for $29 (and rent any needed equipment from the park). Those who’ve bouldered or top-roped before can take an opt-out test. Once certified, members pay either $7 for a day’s use, $55 monthly or $299 for a season pass.

Compared to an outdoor climbing wall in Chattanooga, High Point Climbing, the prices aren’t bad. That private facility charges $15 daily, and $84 weekly. The parks department for the City of Albuquerque has a smaller-scale moveable outdoor wall that it rents out for events for $100 for four hours for nonprofits, $500 for for-profit businesses.

Chicago Park District officials claim the new structure is one of the largest outdoor climbing walls in the world, coming in at 40 feet high at its peak and encompassing a total surface area of 19,000 square feet, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: chicagoparksbudgets

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