The Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) annual meeting for the election of officers will take place Tuesday evening, Nov. 22 at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Positions to be voted on include JPAC president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Nominations will be taken from the floor, and each nominee will have up to two minutes to speak. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.
Only City of Chicago residents who have attended at least two JPAC meetings in the prior 12 months will be eligible for nomination and eligible to vote, however. Beyond Chicago residency, there are no geographical barriers to membership or voting eligibility.
The election comes after more than a year of heated monthly or near-monthly meetings that followed the Chicago Park District's controversial installation of gates on the two bridges leading to Jackson Park’s Wooded Island in summer 2021.
The continuing tension of the meetings stems in part from what some members claim is a lack of responsiveness to community input by the JPAC officers. In other cases, members are divided over differing perceived purposes of the council itself — Should JPAC focus predominantly on managing volunteers and supporting Park District initiatives, or should the council weigh in on broad policy issues, such as new constructions, facing Jackson Park?
In response to these concerns, JPAC officers appointed the Rev. Susan Johnson, former pastor of Hyde Park Union Church, as parliamentarian to help manage the meetings.
A Chicago Park District representative will count the votes cast at the meeting.
The bylaws governing the Nov. 22 election were approved in December 2010 and amended in May 2014, March 2015, July 2016 and March 2021. Article Three of these by-laws, which explains membership rules, states:
Section 1: General
The JPAC Membership shall be composed of Voting Members. Voting members shall be any persons other than Chicago Park District staff who shall at any given meeting meet the attendance requirement of Sections 2 or 3 of this Article Three. There shall be no requirement of dues for voting membership. Membership may be individual or organizational. There are no geographical boundaries limiting membership in the JPAC.
Section 2: Individual Voting Membership
An individual is a voting member if he or she has attended at least two meetings during the prior twelve months.
Section 3: Organizational Voting Membership
An organization is a voting member if it is a commercial or not-for-profit group, and a designated representative has attended at least two meetings during the prior twelve months. Each organization must designate in writing one representative and one or more alternates, one of whom is entitled to represent the organization at a JPAC meeting."
The Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive., Nov. 22.