Although pilots and other aviator enthusiasts still harbor a great deal of resentment toward the mayor and his seemingly rash decision, it sounds like Northerly Island will soon become a permanent hub for winged creatures of the feathered variety.
In the years since the runway debacle, the Park District has already made great strides in beautifying Northerly Island. They have done a good deal of prairie restoration on the southern half of the peninsula, and erected the Charter One Pavilion, a 7,500-seat (temporary) concert venue to the north. This article in yesterday's Tribune details how architects plan to unveil green designs for a permanent concert facility (revenue from these concerts will help fund this project) and to restructure the old terminal building, by removing the walls (which have claimed the lives of many a migrating bird) and turning it into an open-air pavilion.
A more concerted effort will be made to turn the island, which is on the direct flight path of many migrating birds, into a bird sanctuary and hospital, while underwater rock formations will harbor many more species of aquatic plants and animals. I walked the length of Northerly Island earlier this fall, and despite a group of tourists on Segways, I found it to be a surprisingly peaceful place. I think a nature sanctuary is a great idea, and the views can't be beat!