To the Editor:
The meeting that I attended on June 21st at the South Shore Cultural Center on plans for Jackson Park raised more questions than it answered. I will start with the most general: Why are the powers-that-be only now formally asking residents what they value in Jackson Park? Shouldn’t they have done so before creating plans to dramatically reshape the park?
I don’t have space to list all my questions, but they boil down to: Where are the data? For example, why wasn’t a traffic study presented that shows the effects of closing Cornell and Marquette?¬† How many trees would have to be removed to accommodate the enlarged golf fairways?¬† Why wasn’t one of the speakers an ecologist on the stage presenting plans for enhancing the natural areas of the park? How many new golfers use the current golf courses and how many more will come to an expanded, more expensive golf course? If the public is being asked to subsidize the new underpasses, how much will they cost? Why can’t the underpasses be paid for from the private money being raised for other parts of the park?¬† Instead of being presented with data, we were shown glitzy plans and videos, and told that Tiger Woods is excited to be part of the project.¬†
I am excited, along with most of the South Side I believe, to have the Presidential Center coming here. But unlike those on the stage at these meetings, I and those who live near the park, visit it regularly, and commute through it, will be coping with whatever changes are made every day for decades to come. I ask that those with the information please let us know exactly what we are getting and what we are giving up in exchange.