During the Great Depression, Madison Street was known as Chicago’s “Skid Row,” filled with crime, vagrants, and dilapidated buildings. While today’s Madison Street is a far cry from its gritty days, efforts are underway to improve the part of the thoroughfare that runs through the West Loop, turning it into a Main Street-esque entertainment destination known as “Madison Row.”
DNAInfo reports that efforts officially kicked off at a meeting where a committee approved the moniker, which draws from the street’s history. The committee also plans to “install plaques to mark Skid Row landmarks” on the revamped street.
The hope is that the mile-long stretch, which in recent years has become known for sports bars and hot restaurants in the surrounding area, will become more of a destination itself, filled with indie retailers (similar to Clark Street in Andersonville); a parade and block party; improved streetscape with more planters, decorations, and signage; and possibly a “town square” that could become a gathering place for the area’s condo dwellers.
The group of business owners behind these efforts is hosting a “Clean and Green” event on Madison on April 22 to kick off these efforts.