Dear Editor,

The defendants in the Protect Our Parks lawsuit have now taken to falsely proclaiming that "it's a done deal" and that in April they intend to be cutting down 1,000 mature trees in the pristine park and breaking ground to start construction on the OPC.

In fact, if they were being honest with the public, they would have instead admitted that the most recent court ruling was painstaking in not ruling on the legal merits of the case, and actually directed that new litigation be filed in both federal and state court on those very issues, and that is exactly what is now taking place.

Moreover, what the Obama Foundation and City Defendants still refuse to acknowledge is that POP has always favored construction of an OPC in a legal South Side location in need of of investment and development, and has not only identified an available legal site in the nearby Washington Park neighborhood, but has prepared detailed architectural plans to advance that construction. So what is the problem? Never once has there been any explanation why, with all the ideal nearby South Side locations, world famous Jackson Park has to be defiled in conscious violation of all the existing park protective laws and the doctrine of public trust.

Herb Caplan

President, Protect Our Parks

(7) comments

jaye els

t Thank you so much to Herb Caplan and "Protect our Parks" and to everyone who did principled activism against this theft of our Lakefront Jackson Park for the OPC. Unfortunately it does now appear that the OPC will be built in the terrible location on the West end of Jackson Park. This is just something that happens in a corrupt one party City State that is Chicago, Cook County Illinois. I recommend Park activists now work hard to mitigate the worst elements of the proposed OPC plan. The OPC tower doesn't have to be over 22 stories, it can be scaled down to ~ 7 stories. The East End of the Midway Plaisance doesn't have to be torn up to create an eye sore parking garage. The proposed plan to bring an annual ~ 700,000 automobile and bus visitors to the OPC, that should be shelved and a new OPC Metra train stop should be built adjacent to the OPC. LakeShoreDrive and Stony Island traffic is going to be a mess in any event. But the Obama entourage doesn't live here anymore and doesn't have to deal with local traffic - as was candidly said: Cornel Drive and Stoney Island are mostly used by Hyde Park workers that live in Indiana. The private groups profiting from the OPC doesn't care about Hyde Park workers that live in Indiana. Let’s all try to make the best of a bad situation.

Ross Petersen

Originally, the tower was 180 feet tall. Obama increased the height of it, up to 235 feet.

That is equivalent to a twenty-three story tall building.

I don't think they are agreeable to reducing it to seven stories. The projections, of 700k visitors per year is also quite a stretch. This center faces many legal challenges.

You'll be pleased to hear, they moved parking underground. Bad news - you, the taxpayer, are now paying for it, along with 175 million in costly, unnecessary road revisions. A competent judge will recognize, this isn't a center, it's an environmental crime. Time to recognize climate change, global warming, the healing powers of trees.

Ross Petersen

With the filing of this second lawsuit, I think it is clear, a majority of Chicagoans are opposed to this take-over of a public, Lakefront Park. We will never know, though, as nobody ever had a chance to vote on, or even express their opinion. The Lakefront is our greatest asset, most Chicagoans want it Preserved. Numerous parcels, vacant lots lie all over the South side, yet Jackson Park it must be. This strikes me as some sort of royal edict, not good for the Park, and not good for democracy.

Jaye V Els

Let's just rename "Jackson Park" to .... "Obama Park". We've been getting very positive responses to this simple, park name change that doesn't cost us $ tax payers $1, doesn't involve cutting down hundreds of trees or creating traffic nightmares. This is a simple win, win situation for everyone - a win for park lovers, tax payer and Obama supporters - we'd be basically giving Obama supporters... the whole park and we could probably shame the Obamas in to spending a few weeks a year living in their Kenwood mansion and actually helping to upkeep the park because it would be named ....."President Obama Park" . The current name "Andrew Jackson Park" honors a fierce Indian fighter and slave owner - President Andrew Jackson. Does anyone want to help with this project - do a petition drive, write City Council members to rename "Jackson Park to Obama Park?

Ross Petersen

On a project of this size, in this (Park) location, an Environmental Impact Statement is required. The City is now balking at this requirement, and that is a mistake, as well as a violation of federal law. They need to consider the impact of this 235 foot high mid-rise building, directly in a migratory flyway. The loss of trees, along with road widening projects throughout the Park - this will forever change Jackson Park.

Someone needs to have a talk with Mr. Obama on the environmental impact of his center, on our Park. Like why does this have to be inside the Park, when there is urban renewal land, vacant lots, all over the South side? Instead of plowing up Jackson Park, he should transform a neighborhood in the City. Parks are Public spaces, sacred.

Please move the OPC to a site in the City.

Dadev3

I agree. Too bad there is the assumption that the community must pay for $173M road closures that lead to terrible traffic plus have historic parkland taken away from the public. But as Michael S. said, you get the Obama Center. "Nobody but folks from Michigan and Indiana use that. We don't care about them."

Ross Petersen

I'm not sure about this statement that "nobody but folks from MI and IN use that, and we don't care about them". In fact, a majority of the traffic presently on Cornell Drive continues South on Stony Island, they aren't headed to the skyway. To say this will be somebody else's headache - that simply isn't true.

This is a radical departure from our path of the last fifty years, to be environmentally sensitive, to preserve these Parks. The Lakefront is open, free space, dedicated to nature, for the benefit of all citizens. The OPC belongs in the City, not taking up this Historic, National Register listed wildlife sanctuary. An impressive, World class center could be built on any number of sites, in the City.

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