Hyde Park Herald – Chicago Park District meets with 5th ward residents to discuss golf complex

Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly met with a packed room of 5th Ward residents Tuesday night, Jan. 24, at South Shore Fine Arts Academy, 1415 E. 70th St., to listen and address questions, comments, and concerns regarding the proposed South Shore Golf Complex.

Last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Tiger Woods, a career professional golf player, would oversee the renovations for a new, $30 million golf complex for golf courses….

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Jackson Park Watch Update – January 14, 2017

Greetings all,

JPW Issues in the spotlight

Transparency!  Community input on major decisions!  Priority in Jackson Park for local uses and local users!   These issues, first defined by JPW with regard to Project 120’s plans, have now taken front and center stage as pushback against the Chicago Park District’s plan to for an elite golf course in Jackson Park and South Shore grows.  A partial survey of recent print media shows the JPW concerns are widespread:

Yesterday’s 01/13/17 Tribune editorial takes up the issue, with a headline asserting “Big plans on the South Side for a Tiger Woods Course can’t shut out locals.”  The editorial raises major concerns about backroom decision-making, the lack of community input, and potential adverse impacts on local park uses and park users.  Read the full editorial at:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-golf-jackson-park-tiger-woods-edit-1113-md-20170112-story.html

A Tribune article (01/12/17) highlighted the contradiction between Park District assertions that the plan was “not a done deal” and the Park Board’s decision the day before to move ahead with a contract to start on the project.  Read the article at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/golf/ct-jackson-park-golf-course-begins-met-20170111-story.html.

A Sun-Times article (01/10/17) highlighted a call by Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry for the Park District board to call off a vote for the contract starting work.  Read the article at http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/park-board-urged-to-call-off-vote-on-golf-course-contract/

There have been multiple articles in the Hyde Park Herald and DNAInfo as well as in other sources.  An interview with JPW’s Margaret Schmid aired on Chicago Tonight on 01/11/17, and the controversy was included in last night’s Chicago Tonight’s Week in Review.

What’s next?

Park District CEO Mike Kelly will be at Alderman Leslie Hairston’s January 24 ward meeting to talk about the golf course.  JPW and others will be urging a huge turnout.  PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THERE – NUMBERS SPEAK VOLUMES.  The meeting will be from 6 to 8 at the South Shore Fine Arts Academy, 1415 E. 70th St. There is a small parking lot off of Dorchester, to the west of the school, and there is free parking on the streets.  You will hear from us again before this meeting with more information, including, we hope, the exact time Mr. Kelly will be there.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Coordinators, Jackson Park Watch
http://jacksonparkwatch.org
Like us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jacksonparkwatch

To unsubscribe from this g-list, simply send “unsubscribe” to jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com.

Chicago Tribune – As groups voice concern, Park District moves ahead….

Two days after assuring South Side residents that a Tiger Woods-designed golf course in Jackson Park was not yet a sure thing, Chicago park officials Wednesday awarded a $1.1 million contract to begin site planning and engineering work.

The pact with SmithGroup JJR — the park board’s first public action on a project that has been shaping up privately for months — comes as park neighbors and activists are pushing to have a voice on the project, which is queued up for groundbreaking this spring…..

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Chicago Suntimes – Park board urged to call off vote…

Arguing that the $30 million project is being “shoved down the community’s throat,” Friends of the Parks is urging the Chicago Park District board to put off Wednesday’s vote on a $1.1 million contract to design and engineer merger of the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses.

Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry’s opposition….

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Hyde Park Herald – Residents in Hyde Park and Shore Shore meet with Park District CEO….

Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) held its first monthly meeting of the year Monday evening, Jan. 9, at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.

Last night, there was standing room only as residents of Hyde Park and South Shore packed the room to voice their sentiments and issues involving the upcoming South Shore Golf Complex project. Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly was on hand to answer questions…

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DNAInfo – Remade Jackson Park Golf Course …..

JACKSON PARK — Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly started selling the idea of remaking two South Side golf courses to a packed crowd Monday night.

More than 150 people packed into a room designed for 100 Monday night at the Jackson Park field house….

Read more….https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170110/south-shore/jackson-park-golf-course-south-shore-cultural-center-tiger-woods-barack-obama-michael-kelly

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Jackson Park Watch Update – January 2, 2017

GREETINGS ALL, AND BEST WISHES FOR 2017!

Thanks to everyone who has been with us from the beginning – January 2016 – and to all who have joined us along the way. Our message is getting out there and is having an impact. We want to keep growing the JPW network, so please share this widely, and ask your friends and neighbors to sign on to receive Jackson Park Watch Updates (they can e-mail jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com with “sign me up”).

In this Update:

  • Park District officials admit no Board vote on Sky Landing sculpture, assert none needed
  • Golf course plan revealed as private deal with, once again, no Board vote
  • “No fishing in lagoons” said to be only temporary; now sign needs revision

Sky Landing FOIA leads to surprising assertions

JPW’s latest FOIA asking about the approval process for the Sky Landing sculpture on Wooded Island yielded a Construction and Donation Agreement seemingly signed after the sculpture was installed. (Those wishing a copy of the Construction and Donation Agreement can e-mail jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com and we will send you a copy. It will be posted on the JPW website in the near future.)

When JPW’s Brenda Nelms raised questions about the apparent date discrepancy and other issues at the Dec. 14 CPD Board meeting (see 12-14-16-b-nelms-statement-to-park-district-board), she was interrupted by Park District CEO Michael Kelly and Board President Jesse Ruiz, who called upon the Park District’s general counsel Tim King, who was seated in the audience.  In response to the question from Ruiz as to whether there was anything the Board should have reviewed and voted on, King responded first that the installation was not something that CPD’s Park Enhancements Committee needed to review as it was part of the Mayor’s initiative for public art, an assertion counter to the history of the project as we know it. He further asserted that because no Park District money was involved, there was no need for the Park District board to vote on it either.  On the face of it, this seems to indicate that if someone has both an idea for a sculpture and the money to cover the costs and if Mike Kelly (or perhaps Mayor Emanuel) likes the idea, it’s a done deal.

King’s statements raise interesting issues: Are there no criteria? Is there no official vetting process for permanent art installations beyond Mike Kelly? What about a religious theme? Overtly sexual themes? Or, say, a gilded statute of a current political leader? Clearly, this is something we will pursue further.

PGA golf course process questioned

The announcement by Mayor Emanuel and Park District CEO Kelly of a $30 million plan to “upgrade” the existing and much loved Jackson Park golf course to PGA standards – again without community input or Park District Board approval – immediately raised the familiar questions of transparency and community engagement among others. (see our December 17 Jackson Park Watch Update.)

As it happens, not long after that announcement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel released 2,700 pages of official communications from his personal e-mail account in response to a lawsuit by the Better Government Association. Reviewing them, Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet found e-mail traffic between the Mayor and Mike Kelly, among others, discussing the golf course plan as far back as August. ( http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/sweet-rahm-emails-reveal-secret-golf-course-planning/) Jackson Park Watch was credited as a source in Sweet’s article and was also included in coverage of questions about the golf course proposal in a report on NBC 5 Chicago News. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/emanuel-emails-chicago-south-side-golf-course-408341915.html)

Much scrutiny of the proposed golf course deal as well as more review of what else might be in the Mayor’s e-mail stash are sure to follow. Stay tuned!

That new “no fishing” rule

JPW has been questioning some of the restrictions posted on Wooded Island after it was reopened to the public, in particular the rule “no fishing in the lagoons,” which is both new and seen by many as banning a long-standing local use and group of users. We have now been told by Park District official Julia Bachrach that this is not intended as a new rule and that in any event it is only temporary. We have argued that it would be in the interests of everyone concerned – including the Park District – to amend the signs to make that clear. To date the Park District has not responded, but we will continue to push for a clarification.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Coordinators
Jackson Park Watch
http://jacksonparkwatch.org
Like us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jacksonparkwatch

(To unsubscribe from this g-list, simply send “unsubscribe” to jacksonparkwatch@gmail.com.)