Welcome to Jackson Park Watch!

This web site under revision

In the meantime, read Jackson Park Watch Updates at the communications tab on this site to get the most recent news.


JPW is a community initiative headed by Jackson Park fans and Hyde Park residents Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid that has four broad priorities:

  • Transparency in decision-making about the Park – no backroom deals
  • Meaningful community input on major changes to the Park – no top-down decisions
  • Preservation of the Park as a democratic public space – priority to local uses and local users, with maximum grass, trees, and open space
  • Development of one comprehensive plan for the entire Park  – forestall its division into unrelated segments

JPW is currently focusing on two issues that relate to these priorities:

ONE:  The proposed merger and “upgrade” of the existing Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Courses (see graphic below), developed behind closed doors and announced in December with few details. For more on this issue and what you can do, see here.

TWO: The unknown impact of the Obama Presidential Center – formerly Library – on Jackson Park (see map to the right for the location).  Expansions of the original site selected for the OPC, an Obama Foundation-built two-story above-ground garage proposed for the eastern end of the Midway, and a raft of road closures and realignments that the City proposes to accommodate the OPC-desired closure of Cornell Drive between 59th and 63rd streets make this a complex and ever-evolving situation.  For more on this issue and what you can do, see here.

ALSO:  A visitors pavilion and music venue promoted by Project 120 was the original genesis of Jackson Park Watch.  The project is no longer being actively promoted. For background information on that project, see here.

JPW’s concerns about the impact on Jackson Park of these proposed projects have been underscored by Preservation Chicago’s inclusion of Jackson Park on its recently published annual list of the most endangered sites in Chicago.

Additionally, the need for one comprehensive plan for the entire park has been eloquently argued in a statement from Friends of the Parks executive director Juanita Irizarry.

JPW collects and shares information, encourages attendance at key public meetings, urges concerned individuals to contact public officials and media outlets, and facilitates citizen participation in multiple ways.  E-mail jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com with the simple request “sign me up” to receive Jackson Park Watch Updates that to get regular information and participate in JPW’s work. Updates are sent via e-mail bcc to maintain privacy. E-mail jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com with the simple request “sign me up.”