To the Editor: 

Under political pressure from the Obama Foundation, the City will be spending hundreds of millions of dollars building the Obama Presidential Center on Park Land. The City Council approved the plan, ignoring the damage that will result to the park, the traffic changes on Lake Shore and Cornell drives. I drive south on Stony Island Avenue and there are lane closures, the park is being violated, the Woman’s Garden is being destroyed. Driving north on Cornell Drive there are lane closures and slowed traffic. The present situation will get worse.

The issue that prompted me to write this letter is the well-researched article that appeared in the New York Times’ Sunday edition by Dan Egan. Its title is “The Battle Between a Great City and a Great Lake”, and it presents a comprehensive account of the effect of climate change on Chicago. It especially emphasizes the danger of flooding of the neighborhoods along South Shore Drive.

The City plans to spend $47 million adding a lane to Lake Shore Drive and closing Cornell Drive, which is the only possible alternative in case of the flooding that, according to the article, is inevitable. The Obama Presidential Center will also be at risk for flooding and the garage most certainly will be affected. The money in making all these changes could and should be used to protect South Shore Drive and the neighborhood beyond. The Obama Presidential Center would be safer and less disruptive in a different location away from the lake (Washington Park). Politics, special favors in Chicago always win over what is the best for the community.

Pablo Denes

(2) comments

Ross Petersen

We know just how difficult it is to maintain an underground garage based on our experiences with the garage at the Museum of Science and Industry. Keeping the water out is an ongoing challenge. When first constructed, there wasn't capacity in the local sewers to handle all this water - so they constructed a pipeline, beneath the Museum, and they discharged this water into the Park's lagoons. That still doesn't handle all the water that flows in, so the sewers were enlarged. Water infiltration is an ongoing challenge, and the OPC will face the same problems. Recently, estimates of construction costs have gone up by forty percent, from $500 million to $700 million; Where is this money coming from? Make no mistake, this will be a costly boondoggle.

Our Lakefront Park will now be an amusement Park, which isn't a Park, at all. This is a shrine, to one guy's ego; it is a huge mistake. Save Jackson Park, Move the OPC.


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