REMINDER: Project 120 is having a public workshop this coming Monday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7:30 at the Refectory in Washington Park. This is a terrific chance for us to be visible with our questions and concerns. PLEASE NOTE THAT PROJECT 120 HAS CHANGED THE ORDER OF THE AGENDA: discussion of Jackson Park is now scheduled from 6:30 to 7:20, after the discussion of Washington Park.
Jackson Park Watch coordinators Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid met with Hyde Park Herald editor Daschell Phillips and reporter Sam Rappaport this past Wednesday morning and had a broad-ranging discussion of JPW concerns. Daschell indicated that they are receiving letters supporting Brenda’s and Margaret’s recent letter to the editor. In fact, one is in this week’s edition of the Herald, so keep those letters coming. Sam will be at the Feb. 8 workshop and wants to talk about JPW issues, so look for him there.
Brenda and Margaret also met on Wednesday with Alderman Leslie Hairston’s chief of staff Kim Webb and aide Lanita Ross (who attends particularly to park issues). They had a dialogue focused on the lack of community input, the ever-changing nature of Project 120 “concepts,” and the absence of an open process for making decisions on the proposals. Kim indicated that the Alderman is committed to transparency and that no “done deal” has been made. Lanita will also be at the Feb. 8 meeting and available for discussion.
JACKSON PARK ADVISORY COUNCIL: Those of you on the JPAC e-mail list have received the newsletter including the minutes of the Jan. 11 meeting. If you were in attendance, you will have noted that they do not accurately reflect the discussion or the motion that was adopted. (If you’d like an e-copy, let us know.) Brenda and Margaret are thinking about how best to advocate for community involvement and a sensible decision-making process at the next JPAC meeting, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse. Please plan to be there! We will do some advance planning, and will welcome your involvement. (Remember that you do not need to pay dues to be a JPAC member. Rather, according to Park District rules, which JPAC loosely follow, completing a membership application – which we’ll have at the meeting or can send in advance as an email attachment – and attendance at two meetings over a 12-month period qualifies you as a member.)
SPRING AWAKENING: You may have heard that the Spring Awakening 2016 Festival will take place in Jackson Park, June 10-12 because Soldiers Field has been preempted for another event. Similar to Riotfest or Lollapalooza and touted as the largest dance party in the Midwest (http://www.thegratefulweb.com/articles/spring-awakening-announces-new-location-dates-2016 ), the event organizers expect some 40,000 attendees over three days. In addition to 6 stages for music, there will be fireworks, carnival rides, and a Ferris wheel. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-spring-awakening-festival-chicago-location-dates-20160204-story.html ). Having this event in Jackson Park seems to us to be completely ill-advised: there is no proper stadium-like facility, parking and restrooms are inadequate, and there would be horrendous problems with noise, traffic, and with the impact on birds, the on-going park restoration project, and on the parkland itself. Although tickets are already on sale, we have shared our concerns. If you agree, you can contact the Herald (Letters@hpherald.com), the Park District (http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/contact/), the Alderman (http://hairston.squarespace.com/contact-us/) and/ or JPAC (Louise McCurry, firstname.lastname@example.org and Gary Ossewaarde, email@example.com).