JPW Update – April 8, 2016

Greetings all!

Project 120 and Community Input

We met earlier this week with Bob Karr, president of Project 120, to explore whether his stated commitment to community input on Project 120 plans extended to a thorough review and possible revision of the  current Phoenix Pavilion plans posted on that website (and also on the website of the Garden of the Phoenix Foundation).

We observed that the pavilion plan as presented now on the website is a lightning rod for major negative reactions for reasons ranging from its size, design and location to noise, its impact on parking, its potential to harm birds, and the absence of any viable business plan for its operation.  We noted that while many support the idea of a pavilion, we have encountered no discernible support for the particular pavilion concept as portrayed on the Project 120 website.  We said that if Project 120 made clear its intention to include the pavilion plans in an effective community review process – such as, for example, by a public statement from Bob to that effect and by modifying the website to clearly indicate that the pavilion as presented there is not a final plan but is a “concept” that is subject to thorough-going community review and potential revision – we believe that there could be good opportunities for productive collaboration on plans for improving the Park going forward.

Considerable discussion ensued, including about the role of the Park District and possible elements of an effective community review process.  Bob reiterated his support for community input as stated at the March 14 JPAC meeting. We restated the need for a clear and public sign that the pavilion concept presented on the website is not final, but rather is subject to review and revision.  The meeting ended with Bob saying he would get back to us on possible next steps.  We await his response.

FOTP’s Listening Tour

We had learned that Friends of the Park was planning “listening tours” in selected parks this spring, and that one would take place in Jackson Park at the request of Alderman Leslie Hairston.  Thus, we met with FOTP Board President Lauren Moltz, Executive Director Juanita Irizarry, and Nicole Machucha, Director of Environmental Education and Neighborhood Parks, to learn more about what such an event would look like and whether it might be of interest to JPW participants.  We think it will.

The Jackson Park event will likely take place in May, and we will let you know when the specific date and place are set.  FOTP’s goals are to find out the major questions and concerns on people’s minds and to create a space for discussion of park-related issues already known to exist. To allow that to happen, the event will feature facilitated round-table discussions of open-ended questions.  Depending on what transpires, FOTP, which has a major focus on assuring community input on park-related issues, may then be in a position to foster community discussions and actions to address the issues that surface.

Spring Awakening

Many on the JPW list continue to inquire  about Spring Awakening.  Despite the Park District’s Kim du Buclet saying at the March 14  JPAC meeting that the event would not take place in the Park, the event sponsor continues to sell online tickets for June 10-12 in Jackson Park.   Recently we heard that a key CPD official gave very ambiguous response when asked whether that electronic dance festival would be held in our Park. We have contacted Du Buclet directly to ask for confirmation of the cancellation, and will report her response to you.

Jackson Park Advisory Council

The next JPAC meeting is Monday evening, April 11.  JPW has not asked to have anything on the agenda.  JPW coordinators Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid will be in attendance and will report on anything of note.

In the meantime…

Let us know your top five!  In our March 18 JPW Update we suggested that JPW can begin to develop a list of three to five key elements in Project 120 plans that are top priorities for community review and input.  We have received some useful responses, and urge others of you to also send us your thoughts.

Share the news of our website and Facebook page! As some of you have observed, the Jackson Park Watch website and Facebook page are in fact up and available at  and .  We urge you to share these links with your friends and neighbors and organizations that are or should be interested.  Publicizing our questions and concerns is an essential step in ensuring that the community voice is heard and effective.  If you have suggestions about the JPW website, please let us know at .    We are greatly indebted to Eric Allix Rogers and Susannah Ribstein for establishing these additional lines of communication for JPW.  Thank you, Eric and Susannah!!

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Jackson Park Watch
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