To the Editor:

I am a great admirer of the community development work of Anton Seals whose recent letter appeared in the Herald (see 3/25 issue), but I am genuinely puzzled by his confused and mistaken comments about building an Obama Presidential Center in historic Jackson Park. 

There is no need to invade and exploit the park when there are many easily available and superior close-by locations in long underserved communities that, unlike the long-existing public park, are in genuine need of investment and development. If an OPC will produce desired economic and societal benefits, it will most certainly do so by being located in a place where people in need actually live and work. No one has ever explained why a world-famous city treasure has to be unnecessarily defiled by cutting down over 1000 mature trees in the park.

Mr. Seals writes as if there is anyone who actually opposes the building of an OPC in an appropriate location. Even Protect Our Parks, that is prosecuting the lawsuit to protect the historic park, supports an OPC. The POP lawsuit would be voluntarily dismissed if the Obama Foundation agreed to the relocation, and the OPC could start construction whenever it pleases, with everyone together in support.

Herb Caplan

President, Protect Our Parks


(1) comment

Ross Petersen

The Plaisance Hotel used to stand, at Stony Island Avenue and the Midway Plaisance. It was torn down during urban renewal, presently contains a parking lot. This would be a better OPC location because it would increase the Park. I'd return Cornell Drive to its original layout, two lanes in each direction. I'd install pedestrian underpasses, to improve access. But what is suggested here, a 235 foot tall mid-rise building - that size building needs to be located in the City.

What makes Chicago beautiful is its Parks, along the Lakefront. These Lakefront Parks should not be built on, they must be protected.

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