To the Editor:
I attended the February 8, 2016, presentation by Project 120 representatives and am concerned about their plans to build a music pavilion in Jackson Park east of Darrow Bridge and to put a regular traffic-bearing road across the bridge. The resulting noise and crowds are not what Jackson Park needs, nor what I expect the Army Corps of Engineers anticipated when it allocated several million dollars to restore the habitat in the park. Moreover Project 120’s planned building would have large glass windows, a death trap for the birds that migrate through the park in spring and fall.
I am also concerned that Project 120 is getting a bit ahead of itself. While their website currently says, “Project 120 Chicago and the Chicago Park District have selected” an architect to design a music pavilion, the Chicago Park District has not even approved the project, let alone selected an architect. I gathered from the Feb. 8 meeting that Project 120 and the Park District entered into a Memorandum of Understanding only for documenting Project 120’s funding commitment for the Army’s restoration project and having Project 120’s landscape architect participate in the planning of the project. If that is correct, then now that the restoration project is well underway Project 120 no longer has the right to speak on behalf of the Park District about future plans for the rest of Jackson Park.
But those of us who use Jackson Park regularly and want to preserve it as an urban wilderness should be speaking up now. Yes, Darrow Bridge needs to be fixed and it would be wonderful if there was more interpretive material for park visitors. But now that the Army project is in its final phases, perhaps the park’s next door neighbor, the Museum of Science and Industry, could be persuaded to help out by guiding some of its visitors out of its doors, across a repaired Darrow Bridge, and onto a newly planted Wooded Island.
Jackson Park is an oasis that does not need a new permanent building, or a new road cutting through the park, despite what Project 120 says.