What is Project 120?

Project 120 is a private, not-for-profit organization that is proposing major changes in Jackson Park. The most significant proposals include:

  • Build a large multi-purpose glass-walled pavilion with an outdoor venue for amplified music performances to the south east of the Museum of Science and Industry in what is now a parking area.
  • Create a roadway with continuous traffic over the Clarence Darrow Bridge. (Note: this proposal has now been disavowed by both the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Transportation.)
  • Reconfigure Cornell Drive, now a busy traffic artery, to make it two-lanes with parking along both sides.
  • Relocate the golf driving range, clear trees, eliminate parking spaces to create a “Great Lawn” open space.

There are many Community Concerns with these and other Project 120 concepts. These were considerably heightened when Jackson Park Watch obtained the July 2014 MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Project 120 and the Chicago Park District. This MOU allows Project 120 and the Park District to replace the 1999 Jackson Park Framework Plan that was developed through an inclusive multi-step process with a Revised Framework Plan that incorporates Project 120’s proposals. For this Revised Framework Plan and the Project 120 ideas it includes to have any legitimacy, its key components must be submitted to the same sort of inclusive community review.

Project 120 (see www.Project120Chicago.org) evolved from an earlier group concerned with maintaining the Japanese Osaka Garden on Wooded Island. It became more prominent when it raised a significant amount of the local matching funds for the first phase of the current U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “GLFER” environmental restoration project on and around the Wooded Island. (Note: GLFER stands for Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Project.) This project is now underway, although funding for the final phases of the project has yet to be identified.