Thanks to Alderman Hairston!

To the Editor: 

Editor’s note: An open letter to Alderman Leslie Hairston from Jackson Park Watch

Dear Alderman Hairston,

Jackson Park Watch wants to thank you for convening and leading the May 31 community meeting on the future of Jackson Park.  The fact that over 170 residents from communities surrounding the park came out on a very wet and stormy night to listen to and question Park District CEO Michael Kelly and others indicates the depth and breadth of interest in and concern about the proposals for the future of our park that have been promoted by Project 120.

We congratulate you especially on a well-run meeting that, in spite of the overflow crowd, allowed participants to give voice to questions on a variety of issues representing many points of view  — the history of Project 120, the role of the Park District, the scale and location of the proposed Phoenix Pavilion (including whether any new structure is needed at all), concern about loss of trees, green space and parking, as well as about the fates of the golf course and driving range, basketball court, and tennis courts, among them.

We are particularly pleased that the meeting provided the community with clarifications on some key concerns: 

  • Contrary to Project 120’s recent presentations, traffic over the restored Darrow Bridge will be limited to pedestrians, bicycles, and emergency vehicles only.  There will not be a road for regular automobile traffic leading over the Bridge with parking along both sides.
  • The pavilion proposal is a concept, not a done deal.   Because the idea of a road across the Bridge is off the table, there is a great opportunity to revisit not only the proposed location of this pavilion (on the current parking lot), but also its size and scope.  A relocated, down-sized, simplified pavilion could far better align with community views.

We are grateful that you are committed to working with Mr. Kelly to develop a procedure and process for community input that will fully represent the Jackson Park community in all its diversity.  The May 31 meeting was a great step toward that goal, and, once again, we thank you.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Coordinators
Jackson Park Watch