Mayor Daley has been talking for some time about privatizing the Taste of Chicago and other major city music festivals in Grant and Millennium parks. Now, with little fanfare, the administration has issued a request for proposals to pawn off its biggest musical celebrations, with responding bids due by 4 p.m. on Dec. 23—a time when reporters and the public are likely to be paying little attention.
According to city documents, Chicago spent $2.75 million policing and cleaning up the free festivals last year, with $2.3 million for Taste of Chicago alone. In late October, Special Events Director Megan McDonald told a City Council hearing grappling with the budget crisis that major cuts would be necessary if the city continued to run the festivals in-house.
"We can only do what we have the funding to do and what we’re able to raise money to accomplish,” McDonald said.