About Jackson Park Watch

Jackson Park Watch is a community-based initiative coordinated by Hyde Park residents Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid to promote community input and engagement in decisions about significant changes to Jackson Park.  Initially focused on concepts advanced by Project 120, a private, not-for-profit group based outside the community, for a large-scale visitors center/music pavilion in Jackson Park, JPW has broadened its scope as a result of several new developments.  One was the announcement that the Obama Library was to be sited in Jackson Park.  The second was the installation of the Project 120-sponsored Yoko Ono sculpture “Sky Landing” on Wooded Island in Jackson Park absent any public review, something that raised serious concerns about process and precedent.  Most recent was the announcement that the Mayor and Park District CEO Mike Kelly plan to “upgrade” the existing Jackson Park golf course to a professional level golf course, this again decided in a behind-the-scenes deal lacking transparency or community input – or even a Park District Board vote.  Again, this raises urgent questions of policy and process.

In 2017, JPW will:

  • Continue to oppose Project 120’s pavilion/music venue proposal;
  • Continue to uncover and reveal the opaque arrangements by which the Yoko Ono installation on Wooded Island was authorized so as to prevent that secretive process from being used to construct Project 120’s proposed pavilion/music venue;
  • Work to maximize preservation in Jackson Park of existing green space, grass, and trees for play, picnics, sports, birding, bicycling, and other local uses by local park users no matter what projects eventually move ahead;
  • Work to bring a halt to all of projects – pavilion/music venue, Obama Library, golf course “upgrade” – until there is one overall comprehensive plan for the entire park that has been developed in a transparent process with substantive input from all of the affected communities.

JPW collects and shares information, encourages attendance at key meetings, urges concerned individuals to contact key officials and media outlets, and facilitates citizen participation in multiple ways.  Read the latest updates and learn how you can get involved»