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Post-Lollapalooza Restorations In Grant Park To Be Finished By Next Month

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Grant Park was left a muddy mess after Lollapalooza this summer, but a month later, repairs are well underway.

And CBS 2's Kris Habermehl reports the park has never really looked better.

Ninety percent of Grant Park is now open, and a lot greener than it was after the three-day music festival in August. The wildly-successful concert event brought plenty of revenue to the city, but ruined the sod at the park.

But now, repairs are complete at Hutchinson Field, the main site of the festival in the southern portion of the park. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Hutchinson Field was hit hardest, but now, the ballfields there have been rehabbed, new sod has been laid, and 200 damaged lilac bushes have been replaced.

The second phase of the project will involve rehabbing Butler Field adjacent to the Petrillo Band Shell, which is still cordoned off as new sod is laid. Restoration at Butler Field began after the Jazz Festival over Labor Day weekend, the Sun-Times reported.

Immediately after Lollapalloza, the normally lush, green grass of Grant Park was left brown and dried out. The lawn at Hutchinson Field was a mess of muddy and stagnant water, stale beer, and garbage, with seagulls everywhere.

Some critics said the mess was grounds to evict the music festival and its crowds from the park.

But Bob O'Neill of the Grant Park Conservatory told WBBM Newsradio that with some of the profits from Lollapalooza plugged back into Chicago parks and programs, the damage to Grant Park is well worth the trouble.

Besides bringing visitors from around the world and tens of millions of dollars into the local economy, O'Neill said it contributes about $2 million for environmental programs, on top of the money that concert organizer C3 has paid to repair damage to the park.

The tab for the repairs to the park stands at $1 million, the Sun-Times reported.

The restoration project is expected to be complete by mid-October, the newspaper reported.

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