Jackson Park Watch Update – July 8, 2016

Greetings all,

Another positive development

It was good news last week when Alderman Leslie Hairston announced that she plans to use a community engagement process to further review of the plans for Jackson Park currently being advanced by Project 120.  In another positive development for the community, the Chicago Tribune published a major article on Tuesday, noting the controversies about proposals for music venues in Jackson Park and several other city parks.  The article mentioned Jackson Park Watch and included a lengthy statement by Margaret outlining concerns about the need for and appropriateness of Project 120’s proposed pavilion.  Of equal importance the article highlighted a significant public policy issue:  are our public parks meant to be free and open for the public, or should they be seen as tourist attractions or commercial ventures that can generate revenue for the Park District and the city?

This question has been at the center of controversies throughout the history of our city, with notable conflicts over proposals to erect buildings in public parks along the lakefront.  Many of us know of Montgomery Ward’s long, lonely, and successful struggle to prevent construction in Grant Park.  The fight over building the Lucas museum on the lakefront is the most recent example.  Community voices calling to keep Jackson Park free of an out-sized visitors center/music venue and to preserve large numbers of healthy trees slated for destruction to create a “Great Lawn” echo many of these themes and assert the need for transparency and community input in Park District planning.

(Read the article at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-parks-music-venue-jackson-douglas-montrose-met-20160704-story.html.)

JPAC monthly meeting, Monday, 7/11

Note special location:   Iowa Building (on 56th Street, across from Montgomery Place)    —-6:30 p.m., Picnic (potluck);  7:00 p.m., Business Meeting

At its June meeting, the Jackson Park Advisory Council considered a proposal to amend its bylaws regarding the definition of voting members.  Concerns were voiced about the imprecise wording of the amendment, and there was also a suggestion for an alternative proposal.  JPAC officials decided to bring a revised proposal to the July meeting.  Here are the variations, as we understand them:

  • Current rule:  A member may vote if s/he is attending at least the second meeting in the preceding 12-month period.
  • Change proposed by JPAC board:  A member may vote if s/he is attending at least the fourth meeting in the preceding 12-month period.
  • Alternative proposal from the floor:  A member may vote after having attended two meetings in the preceding 12 months (i.e., may vote at the third meeting).

If this is an issue on which you wish to weigh in and you are qualified under the current rule, please come to meeting so that your vote for or against can be counted.  We will be there.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Jackson Park Watch
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