To the Editor,
 
Prior to the onset of the construction of the Obama Center shouldn't the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago take steps to repair the crumbling infrastructure that already exists within Jackson Park?
 
The Clarence Darrow bridge has been closed to public access for at least ten years. We have been told at community meetings that plans have been completed and the funding has been identified and encumbered and that construction will start next year. That was five years past and absolutely nothing has been started.
 
The historic seawall adjacent to La Rabida Hospital is crumbling and needs to be repaired. Again, the Chicago Park District claims they have a plan but again nothing moves forward.
 
The comfort station located at 58th Street and Science Drive was severely damaged three years past. Since then, the roof and part of the walls have been removed but no effort has been made to repair same.
 
The Burnham-designed comfort station located on Marquette Road just west of South Shore Drive has been closed for years. It is now in such a state of disrepair that I doubt it can be salvaged.
 
The historic Coast Guard station located at 64th and Lake Shore Drive is in need of a great deal of maintenance. 
 
The Chicago Park District has moved to install cyclone fencing around all of these sites but has done nothing else.
 
Prior to moving forward with the building of the Obama Center I believe that the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District should maintain and repair what already exists within Jackson Park.
Michael Hoke

(3) comments

jaye els

Thank you Michael Hoke. Yes, we need to repair existing infrastructure. I'd also like to cull some or most of the ~ 20,000 Canada Geese that have occupied Jackson Park, Washington Park and our lakefront parks. These Canada Geese poop ~ 1 lbs a day. This is a big reason we never see youth sports activities in Jackson Park - who wants their children to play in piles of excrement? My suggestion to rename Andrew Jackson Park "Obama Park" seems to be getting some traction. I think if the Obamas and their extremely wealthy friends and supporters had Obama's name on the park we could shame them to actually caring about the park, investing in the park in just basic maintenance. It does increasingly look like the Obamas have dined and dashed from the South Side of Chicago and will just heliport in to attend personality cult Obama worshipping events at their 23 story high rise Obamanation OPC temple.

Ross Petersen

I think this writer makes some good points. The Comfort station / bathroom at 62nd and Stony Island, next to the running track, has been closed for repairs for the last three years. Where is the advisory council on the Darrow Bridge? They can find millions, for Yoko Ono's work on Wooded Island, but the balance of the Park is neglected.

Ross Petersen

The Park's field house, dating from the 1950's, is where programming, activities, sports take place. It has been left out of the Obama Center plans. Then there is the Iowa Building, also underutilized, and ongoing maintenance issues at the 63rd St. beach house. The lakeshore revetments, combined with rising lake levels, these promise some costly repairs. It is sad that we can find money to pour into widening Lake Shore Drive at a time where other Historic assets in the Park crumble. The Comfort station at Science Drive was an original feature, dated from the Columbian Exhibition. What will happen to the Statue of the Republic when they widen Hayes Drive? There are a Lot of things they haven't figured out. The OPC charges ahead like a runaway locomotive. Fix the Park. Move the OPC. Buildings go in the City. Trees grow in Parks.

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