Dear Chicago Mayor, please improve the river

By Daniel McDonell

From the trophies, photo albums and tackle display to dozens of handmade carvings, stuffed fish and a live aquarium showcasing local fish species, Don Dubin’s basement is a museum dedicated to everything sports fishing. Perhaps most importantly to us in the Chicagoland region, it represents a monument to the importance of fishing and our natural resources in the metropolitan area.

Hall of Fame sports fisherman Don Dubin is featured in WBEZ’s 91.5 Dear Chicago, a series dedicated to profiling passionate residents who want our upcoming new mayor and city council members to understand and address urgent challenges.

After interviewing Dubin for the What Our Water’s Worth campaign, the Metropolitan Planning Council nominated him for the Dear Chicago series for his passion about Chicago, fishing and improving the Chicago River.

Dubin hopes that the new mayor and other elected officials will build on the progress he has seen in the river over his decades of fishing in Chicago. “When I was a kid I used to go to Ronan Park because I lived in Albany Park, and there was nothing there,” Dubin recalls in his Dear Chicago letter. “It was just terrible. And now there are fish there and there are people fishing there. There’s no question that it’s absolutely, positively, much, much better.”

Still, Dubin goes on to say, there is plenty of room left for improvement. “So it could be cleaned up,” he continues in the letter “and it should be cleaned up. It’s not as dirty as it was; we have made improvements in the river. But I’d like to see us go two steps further and make it the jewel of the Chicagoland area.” Combine that with additional accessibility, public parks and boat access, he says, and the Chicago River becomes an invaluable resource.

Visit WBEZ to see photos and Don Dubin’s letter to Dear Chicago. Stay updated with What Our Water’s Worth and see the full article on him in the spring.

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