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Until further notice, all CAC walking tours are suspended and the Center at 111 E. Wacker Dr. is closed, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines from the State of Illinois.

While I have worked from home before, the city’s current shutdown has my fellow CAC associates and me working from home far longer than I ever thought possible.

by Lynn Osmond, CAC President and CEO

The good news is that so far, this strategy has worked to keep both my husband and me physically healthy. The bad news is that we are going crazy being confined to our condo. My husband jokingly refers to this as Febrem Cameram, or Cabin Fever.

What’s been keeping us sane are our daily late afternoon power walks (practicing spatial distancing, of course). These 45-minute forays through our West Loop neighborhood require that we "look up" at both the new and the old elements of our community. A regular part of our walk is to go to Mary Bartelme Park between Monroe and Adams streets, designed by Ernie Wong of site design group, ltd. This innovative one-square-block park is divided into three distinctive areas: the dramatic entrance, which features five stainless steel gates that let off a cooling mist in the summer; the viewing hill, where you can perch and see the wonderful Chicago skyline; and an area with native landscaping and planter beds raised up by weathered steel walls.

It’s been a real treat for us to see spring starting to arrive in the plantings and to hear the robins singing. We love to just sit and absorb the beauty of our surroundings on the linear seat walls, which feature terra cotta artifacts salvaged from an infirmary building that once stood on the site.

We then wander over to the powerful Haymarket Memorial by Mary Brogger on Desplaines Street. The sculpture commemorates an 1886 riot that forever changed the labor movement and gave rise to May Day celebrations throughout the world.

Truly, design matters, and this is an opportunity for us all to explore the landscape of our own neighborhoods.