ML - Michigan Avenue

2015 - Issue 2 - Late Spring

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 62 of 139

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEATHER TALBERT Parks and Recreation CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT CEO AND GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL ELLY GEARS UP FOR ANOTHER ACTION-PACKED SPRINGTIME IN THE CITY. BY J.P. ANDERSON It's a bitterly cold Friday afternoon in mid-Febru- ary—the kind of raw, gray day that makes it feel like winter may never end—but Michael Kelly's face is lighting up as he anticipates spring in the Windy City. "It means opening day for baseball season," enthuses the Chicago Park District CEO and general superintendent. "It means the grass starts to grow. It means the Lakefront Trail—people start coming out in droves. It means opening our playgrounds and, for all our capital projects, it means breaking new ground. Spring is king for us." As the chief of the nation's largest municipal park district (Chicago boasts more than 8,300 acres of open space, 580 parks, 31 beaches, 50 nature areas, and two conservatories), Kelly's got a big job: making sure that after all the snow has melted, the city blossoms and grows, living up to its motto, "Urbs in Horto" ("City in a Garden"). It's hard to imagine someone better fit for the task. A native of Mount Greenwood on the southwest side and a current resident of West Morgan Park with his wife and four young children, the 43-year-old practically grew up in the parks. "The Park District was in my life since I was 3 years old, when I learned to swim at the pool," he reminisces. Michael Kelly photographed at the Chicago Park District's Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest conservatories in the world. CONTINUED ON PAGE 62 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 61 PEOPLE View from the Top

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