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Chicago Park District offers peek at planned NFL draft festivities

Park District officials discuss NFL draft fan festivities

Chicago Park District officials offered a glimpse Wednesday of the three-day extravaganza surrounding the NFL draft, which the city is hosting in three weeks.

The NFL draft will take place in Chicago from April 30 through May 2 at Roosevelt University and in parts of Grant Park.

This year, for the first time, the NFL has proposed creating a "Draft Town," a free festival in Grant Park with activities such as interactive games, flag football competitions and autograph sessions.

The NFL also wants to set up an outdoor spectator seating area and host an outdoor concert, among other activities.

But Wednesday afternoon, as Park District officials presented some details of the plan to the board of commissioners, officials said the NFL had yet to obtain permits for its plans. Officials had no details on how much the NFL will have to pay to reserve the park space or pay for permits.

This year's NFL draft is the first in Chicago in 51 years. But while some NFL officials and city leaders are touting the event as a possible economic boost, others worry that taxpayers could lose money on it.

City officials have said that no taxpayer money will be used for the project and that Choose Chicago, a tourism agency, will cover some costs with fundraising.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman from Choose Chicago said she didn't know where the NFL was in the permit process. She said specifics regarding the event's financials would not be made available.

@lollybowean

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