CHICAGO, June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Navy Pier, one of the top nonprofit cultural destinations in the Midwest, will receive a gift of $5 million from Peoples Gas. The donation will fund the future Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion in Polk Bros Park, the entryway to Navy Pier's 50-acre cultural district. The gift honors a 100-year partnership with Navy Pier, one of the company's first commercial customers. The organizations also share proud histories of community service through a range of cultural and civic activities.
Sporting a signature landscaped roof with panoramic views, the 4,000-square foot Welcome Pavilion will greet guests with a café, amenities, and information about all the Pier offers. It will be the focal point for the more than 9 million annual guests from Chicago, and around the world, who enjoy Navy Pier's programming and special events, activities and attractions.
"As Chicago's first and longest-serving utility company with deep Chicago roots, we are pleased to be the company that welcomes our neighbors and millions of other guests to Chicago's premier lakefront destination every year," said Charles Matthews, president and chief executive officer of Peoples Gas. "Navy Pier's programming, year-round events and future redevelopment plans are clearly aligned with our focus areas of giving – education, culture and the arts, community and neighborhood development, and the environment."
Environmental sustainability is a vital part of Navy Pier's redevelopment program, known as "the Centennial Vision," making the Welcome Pavilion an integral addition to the complex. It will pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification and will host an energy efficiency educational exhibit. The building also will showcase a display of the company's rich heritage and never-before-seen historical photos and documents, including items from the 1860s.
"On behalf of Navy Pier, the People's Pier, we are grateful for this generous contribution and the ongoing support from Peoples Gas as we work together to build the Welcome Pavilion as a gateway to new, exciting experiences for our guests," said Marilynn Kelly Gardner, president and CEO of Navy Pier. "As a nonprofit, part of our mission is to demonstrate environmental sustainability with facilities that improve the vitality of the lives of our guests and show what it means to be the People's Pier. This is a cornerstone of our Centennial Vision redevelopment. We are proud to share this commitment with Peoples Gas."
"Navy Pier is Chicago's welcoming lakefront treasure and one of the most visited cultural destinations in the city, offering free arts and cultural programming, engaging exhibits and unparalleled entertainment experiences," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "I am grateful to Peoples Gas for their $5 million investment in this landmark institution which will help Navy Pier continue on its transformational redevelopment in its second century – providing a green, sustainable welcome center that will greet the millions of guests who visit the Pier each year."
The Peoples Gas gift is the latest major contribution to Navy Pier's Centennial Vision redevelopment, following a legacy gift and grants from the Polk Bros. Foundation for Polk Bros Park and related programs, and generous support from Aon, recognized with the naming of the Aon Grand Ballroom.
For more information on the Centennial Vision, Navy Pier's framework for a reimagined Pier, visit www.navypier.com.
Navy Pier Mission Statement
Navy Pier is the People's Pier, Chicago's lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.
About Navy Pier
Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended leisure destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming more than 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. In 2017, Navy Pier continues to celebrate its centennial with a series of special events and programming, year-round rides on the Centennial Wheel and ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts as part of the Centennial Vision. Navy Pier, as a nonprofit organization, maintains and manages the 50-acre pier that is being redeveloped as a contemporary, environmentally responsible urban space. More information is available at www.navypier.com.
About Peoples Gas
Peoples Gas is a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) and is a regulated natural gas delivery company serving approximately 830,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. For more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics, visit www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.
About Polk Bros Park
Polk Bros Park serves as Navy Pier's green front door. In 2014, the Polk Bros. Foundation set a precedent for philanthropic support with their generous and transformational gift, which has created the 13-acre park for guests to gather, engage and enjoy.
The Polk Bros Park Fountain and Plaza opened last summer during Navy Pier's Centennial year as the Park's first phase. The welcoming space has been host to an array of free programming, including an interactive art installation, fireworks viewing and dynamic youth dance performances. Significant new, free community programming will be a part of the parks redeveloped landscape, as the Performance Lawns in Polk Bros Park open in July 2017. It also will be home to the 4,000-square foot Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion.
Payal Patel, Navy Pier
312.595.5073 | [email protected]
Vanessa Hall, Peoples Gas
312.240.4774 | [email protected]
SOURCE Navy Pier