If you read the letters in the Herald, you can't help but realize this Obama Presidential Center in the park is a very poor plan from the start. There is simply no reason to plow up our historic, Olmsted-designed park when vacant lots lie all over the neighborhood.
It's a poor location for a mid-rise building, smack in the middle of the Park. If you looked at US Fish and Wildlife studies of migrating birds, you'd see that. It is also a poor idea to cut down 800 to 1,000 trees from the Park. Have you considered urban heat islands, global warming, habitat for wildlife?
Why this group insists on the park, and only the park, this makes me nervous. Why can't this be built in the city? What magic ingredient does the Park bring to your plan?
Do you really believe Obama will pack up, move? He's already said that isn't the case.
There are many Chicagoans who remember the destruction of our historic buildings, such as the Stock Exchange, demolished in 1972. What we are witnessing here is a similar desecration of our cultural legacy, in this case historic landscape design. Tearing down historic buildings is one thing. This — this is just a crime.
In order to build the OPC in the park, all manner of road revisions are required. This will pave even more of the park (28 acres), and cost taxpayers $200 million.
Cornell Drive will be removed, but now Hayes Drive becomes a highway. I don't see that as an improvement. Traffic will be worse with these road revisions.
I'd point out that over the years, we've created new habitat areas, we've strived to make our Parks wildlife friendly. Environmental impact does not seem to have been considered in these plans. Did they consult with biologists or ornithologists on these plans? There is no evidence of that.
This is a twenty-three-story tall building, it lacks windows, and birds will go crashing into it. This belongs in the city, not in the park. This isn't a Presidential library, but a community center. Let's be honest — the OPC robs local residents, local children, of their park. There is no make-up land provided. The Midway is already a park. To say that it is now magically make-up land does not make it so.
This does not protect or preserve our Park. The Obama Center will function as a museum, and they will charge admission.
Why not move it across the street? Plaisance Hotel site? Or along M.L. King Drive? This would enlarge these parks. The park would be their front yard.
Letters from the staff
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