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Closing of Millennium Park

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FOR RELEASE: 2005-09-08 General Motors says Chicago is for Everyone Responds to the closing of Millennium Park by offering free rides and tickets to other high profile attractions CHICAGO - In response to the closing of Millennium Park, General Motors, the world's largest automaker, today is providing Chicagoans and tourists free rides and admission to some of the city's other world-class attractions. GM will be providing free rides in more than 40 of its newest cars and trucks -- and admission (where applicable and while supplies last) -- to the following destinations: Navy Pier (Ferris Wheel, Wave Swinger or Carousel) Field Museum (general admission) Shedd Aquarium (general admission) Museum of Contemporary Art Hancock Building Water Tower Place To participate in the program, people should go to Michigan Avenue in front of Millennium Park from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and ask a member of the GM street team for a free ride and ticket. "Chicago is for everyone and only GM is providing its newest selection of cars and trucks so everyone can experience Chicago's premier destinations," said Jim Bunnell, Regional General Manager of General Motors. "As a leader in providing high-quality cars and trucks to consumers, we are excited to bring a variety of our vehicles to the people of Chicago that will enable them to experience the GM "Total Value Promise" in a new and unique way." Participants will have the opportunity to view and ride in vehicles representing all eight GM divisions, including the new Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac Torrent and HUMMER H3. To ensure participation for all Chicagoans, GM has provided vehicles with wheelchair accessibility, as well as child safety seats. GM has a long history of supporting Chicago, from the Cadillac Palace Theatre to sponsorship of the Bears, Cubs, White Sox and all area minor league baseball teams. Since 2000, the GM Foundation has contributed $6.8 million to more than 75 Chicago universities and colleges, in addition to many local charities. About GM General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 317,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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No 'Bean' today: Millennium Park closed By Erika Slife Tribune staff reporter Published September 8, 2005, 11:42 AM CDT Sightseers and locals alike heading for one of Chicago's premiere lakefront attractions today may be surprised to find Millennium Park off-limits—reserved for a big private party. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. paid $800,000 to have the city close the 24.5-acre downtown park so thousands of car dealers and corporate personnel could make it their own. "I was sort of taken aback," said Norman Weingart, 67, a New York resident visiting Chicago this morning. "I can't imagine Central Park being closed for a Toyota convention." Among the attractions off-limits are the Great Lawn, the "Cloud Gate" sculpture popularly known as the "Bean," and the bandstand, a popular lunch spot. Also closed to outsiders are the Pritzker Pavilion, Harris Theater, BP Bridge, McCormick Tribune Plaza and Park Grill. Only the Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, Wrigley Square and the Millennium Park bicycle station—attractions at the four corners of the park—are open to the public. Representatives of one of Toyota's biggest competitors, General Motors, were taking advantage of any public ire over the park's closing. They stood outside Millennium Park, handing out goodie bags and offering free rides to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Water Tower Place, John Hancock Building and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Though individual park attractions have been rented out before, including the Pritzker Pavilion, Chase Promenade and roof of the Harris Theater, today marks the first time a large portion of the park has been closed for a corporate event. The city plans to use $500,000 of Toyota's fee for free programming, such as concerts at the Pritzker Pavilion, and $300,000 for day-to-day operating expenses.

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Toyota rented the park and GM is taking advantage of it. I've only been to Chicago a couple of times the last few years, I haven't made it to see the bean yet. Someday.

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I was going to say...Millennium Park was just opened. Kudos to GM for taking advantage of the situation. Toyota should have seen something like that coming (or planned to give their own rides).

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I'm not sure if this was reported in the Chicago media (TV/radio), but this is the first time I've heard of this event taking place.... Sure hope that isn't a permanent closing....

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