Dismal MOA signals end of Section 106 process
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued the long-delayed draft Memorandum of Agreement, the final step in the Section 106 (Historic Preservation) federal review of the impact on Jackson Park of the proposed Obama Presidential Center and related road changes.
A Consulting Parties’ webinar to discuss the MOA will take place July 16. The draft MOA has been posted on the City’s website so that, in addition to formal Consulting Parties, the public may review and submit comments during the comment period that will close on August 10. Unfortunately, but typically and tellingly, instructions for submitting comments have not been posted on the City’s website, so here is that information: Submit comments on the MOA to FHWA (Matt.Fuller@dot.gov) with a copy to the City of Chicago (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sadly, JPW sees no reason to believe that critical comments or questions will have any impact.
Although JPW had no hopes for the MOA given the FHWA’s practices to date, it is nonetheless striking that the proposed terms of the MOA signal the end of the defining form and feel of Jackson Park as it has stood for over a century. Key portions of the circulation patterns designed by Frederick Law Olmsted will be destroyed. The Women’s Garden will be dismembered. The community will not be compensated with replacement parkland for the 19.3 acres of Jackson Park that will be occupied by the OPC for the next 99 years. Hundreds of healthy mature trees will be clear cut. And more. JPW will not be signing off on the draft MOA.
JPW will send out a complete commentary and analysis after the webinar session.
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Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Jackson Park Watch