Here is a quick look at some points of South Side park activity
Cast your vote for the Parks on Feb. 28
If you are still undecided about voting in the municipal election, the Hyde Park Herald offers a useful guide to 5th Ward aldermanic candidates’ positions on key issues, including several specific questions about public parks:
- Do you support making Promontory Point a Chicago Landmark?
- Do you support the November referendum to preserve trees in Jackson Park and South Shore Nature Sanctuary?
- Do you support the currently proposed overhaul of the public golf courses in Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center Park?
- How would you work with the Chicago Park District to ensure that residents have a say in developing plans for these local parks?
Do your homework and vote for the candidate whose responses most closely match your commitment to and concerns about South Side parks.
Join ongoing park discussions
- Jackson Park Advisory Council – Getting organized into topical committees. Next meeting March 13.
- Midway Plaisance Advisory Council – Still opposing UPARR designation for eastern tip of Midway. Next meeting March 8. (Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Washington Park Framework Plan – in progress; next public meeting TBA
Preservation of Promontory Point – two more steps
The US Army Corps of Engineers announced on January 30 a new process for the Chicago Shoreline Project that is to protect Chicago’s lakefront from storm damages and erosion. In a shift from the prior plan, Promontory Point will now be treated separately from the other stretches of the lakefront that have not already been covered with concrete-step revetments. There is funding designated specifically for Point planning and there will be a separate NEPA environmental review and consultation process for the Point with opportunities for public input. (The Corps has clarified that any public comments relating to the Point that were already submitted last month as part of the NEPA review for the general shoreline project will be redirected to the new NEPA review when it begins.)
As previously noted, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved preliminary City landmark status for Promontory Point at its January meeting. On February 15, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners gave its unanimous consent to the proposed landmarking of this particular CPD property, setting the stage for final approval by the City Council, perhaps in April.
These actions both seem positive steps for efforts to preserve the limestone revetment and other historic features of the Point. However, as previously noted, the devil is always in the details and continued engagement with the governmental agencies is necessary throughout the NEPA review (which should include a full Section 106 historic preservation review as well) and the development of engineering designs for repair and restoration (significant terms consistent with historic preservation guidelines that have so far been avoided by city and federal agencies).
We will keep you posted at each step. You can also stay up-to-date at https://www.promontorypoint.org/.
Renovation of Midway Plaisance Metra Station – inching along
The project to renovate the 59th St/60th St. Metra Station, which has been on a slow track for more than a decade, is taking another short jerk forward. Plans for the project were outlined in March 2021, detailed in a Section 106 Historic Preservation report released in May 2022, presented to consulting parties in June 2022, and awarded federal funding in December 2022. Now the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is the federal lead agency funding the project, has scheduled a March 6 session with consulting parties to discuss changes to address the comments submitted last June.
There is a long Supplemental Report, but the substantive changes to the plan are few; all relate to the design of the two track-level headhouse structures and are intended to address concerns by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office about the contemporary design not fitting with the surrounding historic context. Changes are now proposed for the tint of the glass, the size of signs, the design of the roof trusses. Concerns mentioned by various other consulting parties are given minimal attention: Lack of toilets (which could be used by park visitors) – not standard for Metra stations; coordination with the Park District regarding its plans for the eastern tip of the Midway – something that will be done; bright lighting and loud platform announcements bothering nearby residents – will be minimized as much as possible; tree removal – will be kept to a minimum and not in parkway. So concerns are acknowledged, but the cursory responses provide little satisfaction.
If you have reactions or comments to the revised plan that you would like submitted to the FTA and Metra, you can send them to email@example.com by March 5.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS!
Thanks to all who have supported us financially. As always, we welcome your contributions. If you have any questions about contributing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
You can contribute in three ways:
- You can contribute via checks made out to Jackson Park Watch sent directly to Jackson Park Watch, P.O. Box 15302, Chicago 60615.
- You can contribute via PayPal here. (If you encounter difficulties with PayPal, please let us know.)
- You can contribute via checks from donor-directed funds sent to our fiscal sponsor Friends of the Parks at FOTP, 67 E. Madison St., Suite 1817, Chicago IL 60602, ATTN Kevin Winters. Such checks should be made out to FOTP with a note stating they are intended for Jackson Park Watch.
As always, we thank you.
Brenda Nelms and Jack Spicer
Co-presidents, Jackson Park Watch