Jackson Park Watch Update – October 7, 2016

Greetings all,

Yoko Ono sculpture update

Unanswered questions remain concerning how a private entity (Project 120) could have erected a permanent sculpture on Wooded Island immediately adjacent to the Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary. Nonetheless, the sculpture is there, and you can see a preview on www.facebook.com/jacksonparkwatch. The official “unveiling” is scheduled for Oct. 17, and will include an event on Wooded Island itself as well as an evening gathering at the Stony Island Arts Bank. We’ll share information as we know more.

Keeping in Touch

As previously noted, JPW coordinators are staying in touch with many individuals and groups that are focusing on planning for Jackson Park in the wake of the Obama Library siting.

Brenda and Margaret recently participated in several FOTP-convened discussions considering the increasingly frequent usage of Chicago’s public parks for private, for-profit activities. The many examples from parks across the city paint a distressing pattern of privatization and appropriation of public space to the exclusion of local residents and regular park users.

We also attended meetings organized by the coalition working to secure a Community Benefits Agreement with the Obama Presidential Foundation , the City and the University. The initiative has embraced as one of its Development Principles a commitment that directly aligns with JPW’s priorities:   to sustain, increase, upgrade and maximize green open space for local uses and local users.

Both the FOTP discussions and the CBA initiative highlight concerns that are central to JPW’s participants and indicate that these concerns are widely shared. The challenge is to move from discussion to actual solutions. In this effort, JPW will continue to push for Park District transparency and inclusive community engagement as essential elements in planning for Jackson Park.

Dog park comparison amazingly revealing

You may have noted the “Dogged determination” article on the front page of the 10/4/16 Tribune chronicling the major obstacles that the Park District has erected in the way of South Siders wanting to have dog parks south of 18th Street. (Here is the link to the article as it appeared online — http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-dog-parks-south-side-met-20161003-story.html). This is yet another example of disparities between park facilities on the north and south sides. It also offers a fascinating comparison between the obstacles facing regular Chicagoans wanting amenities in their parks and the special treatment afforded Project 120 as it installed the permanent Yoko Ono sculpture on Wooded Island in Jackson Park. Take a look below!

A comparison that speaks volumes:

CPD requirements for (regular) Chicagoans to establish a dog park in a Chicago park


CPD requirements for the private, not-for-profit Project 120 to erect a permanent sculpture by Yoko Ono on Wooded Island in historic Jackson Park adjacent to a nature sanctuary




Location Mandated by Park District Chosen by Project 120
Application process Residents committee must submit application Secret, if any
Site requirements Must be close to water and sewer, distant from neighbors, have open and shaded areas, not adjacent to nature areas Site chosen by Project 120 (adjacent to Douglas Nature Sanctuary) no known requirements
Mandated show of community support Petition from community; letters of support from alderman, others; three public meetings; other requirements None
Financing Funding plan as part of application. Residents committee must raise 100% of the funding to build and maintain the park (est. $150,000 ). Unknown who paid for the sculpture, the site preparation, and the installation or will pay for maintenance. Is some or all at taxpayer expense?
Building and maintenance Layout plan and maintenance plan as part of application; permanent residents committee to provide ongoing maintenance No record of any CPD review or action other than site survey and construction crew permits.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Jackson Park Watch
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