For three days starting April 30, the NFL Draft will be held in Chicago for the first time since 1964. The National Football League as well as Chicago organizers say the event will be a major extravaganza that will turn parts of downtown Chicago into professional football's second biggest event of the year. But the draft is arriving with some controversies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel lobbied hard to get the event to come to Chicago after its 50 year residency in New York City. He's insisted that it won't be paid for with any taxpayer money, but funding for the event remains shrouded in some mystery. The NFL is also accused of bullying the city into meeting many demands. We hear why organizers believe the draft will be a major showcase for the city while some observers think it will be only be a showcase for the NFL.
The NFL Draft is set to hit Chicago at the end of the month, but your commute might start getting messy days before it arrives.
The city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) announced a series of road closures for the Draft, the first of which begin April 21.
Traffic around Grant Park and Roosevelt University will be diverted to make way for Draft events April 30 to May 2. OEMC officials encourage residents to allow extra time, expect delays and consider alternate routes to avoid the impact of the event.
In addition to full road closures, some lanes may be reduced and sidewalks temporarily closed in preparation of the Draft.
View an interactive map of road closures.
"No Parking Zones" signs will be posted around Grant Park to inform drivers of parking restrictions. The towing of cars that are illegally parked will be strictly enforced, OEMC officials said.
The 2015 NFL Draft will host Selection Square, home of the 32 Draft tables, in Congress Plaza and Draft Town in Grant Park from April 30 through May 2. To further complicate the road closures, the 124th Annual Polish Constitution Day Parade will take place May 2 in the same area. The parade kicks off at Dearborn and Wacker Drive at 11:30 am and includes more than 100 marching acts.