Plans for the revamping of Navy Pier, the state's leading attraction, got a big boost today by the Polk family which has donated $20 million to the effort. This is the largest gift ever given in the attraction's nearly 100-year history. In exchange for the gift, the Polk family will have naming rights for the gateway entrance. However, the pier's operational procedure has come under fire from the Better Government Association for having a non-profit organization known as Navy Pier Inc. run things.
As a 501(c)(3), Navy Pier Inc. is not subject to providing full disclosure of how Navy Pier operates. Some say this could be a big problem as redevelopment of the attraction gets under way. Who works there? Who has leases? And how will the bidding process take place for contracts? These are questions that a governmental organization would need to answer but not a non-profit. We discuss the future of the pier and whether the privatization effort is transparent enough.