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VIA CHICAGO SUN TIMES:

If talk show diva Oprah Winfrey decides to reprise this week’s Michigan Avenue block party to open her 25th season, it could cost her a pretty penny.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) wants to require promoters and sponsors of outdoor special events in the central business district to pay the same hefty lane-closure fees that developers pay to make way for construction projects.

Applicants would be charged “per linear foot of public way occupied by the special event, based on a formula that reflects the value of the land within the surrounding area,” under the ordinance, introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Oprah’s Harpo Studios will reimburse taxpayers for the cost of police, traffic, sanitation and emergency medical services tied to the unprecedented event that closed a chunk of Michigan Avenue for 2 and a half days.

But the street-closure fee is a nominal $125, or $25 a day, to account for a generator being installed two days before the premiere, according to the Department of Special Events.

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