One civic renovation project that I wholeheartedly support is cleaning up the Chicago River. The Chicago River runs right through downtown, and in fact the "River" in "River North" means, obviously, that we live north of the Chicago River.
I didn't live in Chicago decades ago but apparently the Chicago River used to be in terrible shape. Famously, the flow of the Chicago River was reversed so that foul water was pushed away from Lake Michigan (where it impacted the water supply) and down towards... well... St. Louis. Wikipedia has a nice page on the Chicago River, along with information about all the bridges that line the river and of course the St. Patrick's Day tradition of dyeing it green.
Colorful kayaks are a common sight on the River, when it isn't frozen, of course.
Here is a photo I caught recently of a wedding party that took a photo by the abandoned bridge (in the perpetual "up" position) on the Kinzie bridge. They probably had their reception at the East Bank Club which is only a block or so away (I don't think that the bride walked that far in her dress).
Finally - here is something odd. A "fish hotel". I saw this near a bridge and down by the waterline and had no idea of what it was. A guy seemed to be "sweeping" the water near the edge. I looked online and it provides sanctuary for fish - here is a link to an interesting web site describing the function, which apparently has been going on for several years, since this site references 2006.