More join in the call for a transparent and comprehensive planning process for Jackson Park, a process grounded in robust community input. See What can you do? (below) to keep the momentum rolling.
The end of the month brought two promising developments:
Alderman Hairston steps up: At her monthly 5th Ward meeting on February 28, Alderman Leslie Hairston spoke of her hopes and intentions for the Jackson Park/South Shore Golf and Community/Leadership Advisory Council that she has recently formed. Hairston reaffirmed her recent statement to the Obama Foundation, stressing that there has to be comprehensive and coordinated planning for Jackson Park as a whole. According to Hairston, the Advisory Council will serve as two-way conduit of information between her and neighborhood residents regarding all of the many changes being proposed for Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center. The council’s first session last week featured a general discussion, and the only substantive news was that the Park District’s consultant is behind schedule in preparing a preliminary design for the golf course. We will report to you as the Advisory Council’s work becomes clearer. There may be opportunities for you to join in the process through topical subcommittees.
Preservation Chicago sounds the alarm: Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center have been put on Preservation Chicago’s 2017 list of the most endangered sites in Chicago. Recounting the important legacy of these parks and the threats to them represented by private-interest groups with no public accountability, Preservation Chicago aims to provide a preservation-oriented voice in the conversation about the future of the parks. We urge you to read the full statement on-line. We applaud the assessment of the issue by Preservation Chicago and welcome its valuable input.
Where is the Park District? What about the Obama Foundation? These important new actions are supported by the repeated calls by Friends of the Parks for comprehensive planning, by the Jackson Park Advisory Council’s newly-established and soon-to-meet coordinating committee, by the ongoing discussions led by Dr. Byron Brazier about Woodlawn’s aims for Jackson Park, and by parallel conversations in South Shore and Washington Park. Yet to date the Park District and the Obama Foundation, the two 800-pound gorillas in the game, are on the sidelines or watching from behind the curtain.
What can you do? E-mail Obama Foundation’s Vice President for Civic Engagement Michael Strautmanis (firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your message to Park District CEO Michael Kelly (email@example.com) and Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz (Jesse.Ruiz@dbr.com). Ask them to step up, engage the Jackson Park community, and join the conversation about comprehensive planning for the future of the park.
Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Jackson Park Watch
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