To the Editor: 
Is Jackson Park a public park, or a collection of privatized spaces requiring payment or special permission to enter and enjoy? With so much given over to golf, the MSI, and the future Obama Center, one wonders. The abrupt installation of spiked security fencing on the bridges to Wooded Island sends a clear, unwelcoming message to the public. 
What are the priorities in Jackson Park? Multiple collapsed and collapsing historic comfort stations. Flooded underpasses. Unusably deteriorated roads and paths. This weekend, North Siders celebrated the opening of a new underpass, the last link in a 1.2-mile trail stitching together multiple parks along the North Branch. Meanwhile, in Jackson Park, do we get creative solutions to the real challenges that come with growing popularity of our treasured park? No. We get spiked security fencing and limited hours.
Bynum Island in nearby Washington Park was the site of a popular adventure playground opened in about 1970. Today, hardly a trace of it remains, and the island is permanently closed to the public, fenced and locked, open only rarely to participants in special programs. This seems to be the future of Jackson Park. Our leaders do not trust South Siders to have nice things, so they take them away from us, over and over again. We must demand better.
Eric Allix Rogers

(1) comment

Ross Petersen

I remember the 'moonscape' playground, on Bynum Island. It is sad the Park district did not maintain it, preferring to close the Island, instead. When I look at the plans for the OPC, it appears they have turned their backs on the most important asset of the Park - the field house. This is where most of the Park's programming takes place - and this field house dates from the late 1940's. That they install spiked gates, while ignoring ongoing maintenance issues, including the Darrow bridge, this is short-sighted.

Wait until CDOT embarks on their 'road widening' projects - along Stony Island, Hayes Drive, Lake Shore Drive. More trees will come down, more of our Park, paved. Cost of road projects - $200 million, funded by us taxpayers.

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