Jackson Park Watch Update – October 2, 2017

Greetings all,


  • Reviewing the Park District’s open house meetings 9/25 and 9/27: what we learned, what we didn’t
  • Obama Foundation CEO David Simas offers one new bit of information


  • Check out JPW’s improved and updated web site at jacksonparkwatch.org. Share it widely!
  • And Heads Up: be on the lookout for an important JPW announcement coming soon


Park District Open House Sessions, September 25 and 27, show OPC, South Lakefront Framework Plan on different tracks

Track 1: South Lakefront Framework Plan process extended, still nothing new on golf course proposal

  • The Park District announced on 9/25 that it was extending the timetable for the Framework Plan process to January 2018, at which point a draft plan would be presented to the CPD Board of Commissioners. This is welcome news, although it remains unclear whether the extension will result in a plan reflecting community views. Note, however, the Obama Foundation is still aiming to submit its plans to the Chicago Plan Commission in November or December. (See below)
  • Presentation boards offered a wealth of visual data about the history and current usages of the parks, providing among other information ample evidence of the dependence of residents of Woodlawn and South Shore on Jackson Park for public recreational facilities such as the basketball and tennis courts and baseball and soccer fields that are targeted for removal by the golf course proposal.   Park District staff and consultants answered questions and took comments, but notably absent, despite earlier assurances, was any new information about the PGA golf course proposal. (The boards are viewable at https://southlakefrontplan.com/documents .)
  • The next phase, “Scenarios,” is projected to occur at some as-yet-unspecified time in November when the Park District will present “conceptual alternatives and design recommendations” for public review and comment. While it was good to hear that various options would be forthcoming, it was also clear that the Park District’s options are entirely constrained and driven by the plan for the OPC.   That is, the framework for the South Lakefront Framework Plan is being dictated by the Obama Foundation and not by public input on needs and preferences.

Track 2: Obama Presidential Center and traffic reconfigurations

  • There were a few posters about the Obama Presidential Center and the proposed traffic reconfigurations. They were entirely separate from the Park District’s presentations, and are not included in the documents available on-line. Both presentations were basically the same thing the community has seen before — neither showed any modifications or acknowledgement of the many concerns expressed about the current proposals.
  • There was no information about when there would be additional public meetings to review the next iteration of CDOT’s traffic maps.
  • There was no information about when or if the Obama Foundation would hold additional public meetings to review the plans for the OPC prior to their submission to the Chicago Plan Commission in November or December, as originally scheduled.


Obama Foundation CEO Lecture

Obama Foundation CEO David Simas spoke to a moderately full house at the Harold Washington Library on Monday evening 9/25.  Those who have been following the descriptions of the planned Obama Presidential Center programs — exciting and visionary as they sound — heard nothing new.  What was new was Simas’s suggestion that an amphitheater with capacity for 3000-5000 persons would be part of the OPC complex. JPW will be on the lookout for more information on this.

As always, feel free to share this Update widely.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Co-founders, Jackson Park Watch




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