Survey work in Jackson Park to start on Monday

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

Jackson Park will be humming with activity next week. Archaeological investigations will begin within and near the park, according to a public announcement made by the Chicago Park District on Friday, Nov. 10.

“As part of the due diligence process pursuant to several state and federal regulatory requirements for upcoming improvement projects in Jackson Park, including the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), the Chicago Park District (CPD) announced today that Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) will begin archaeological investigations,” said the Park District in a written statement.

The Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) will begin survey work on Monday, Nov. 13, and it will continue through February 2018.

Survey work, according to the Park District consists of ISAS staff taking soil cores and performing hand excavated tests to “investigate potentially historically significant subsurface deposits or features.”

The Park District said in the announcement per an agreement with the ISAS that work will “avoid the driplines of trees, any utilities, and pavement.”

ISAS will repair any areas impacted by the survey, said the Park District.

No roadways or park areas will be closed as a result of the survey work.

The project boundaries within the park are between 55th Street to 68th Street. The survey will also include a portion of property between 59th and 60th east of the Metra tracks.

The property included in the survey is likely the location proposed by the Obama Foundation for a two-story above ground parking garage, for the OPC.

The Obama Foundation revealed its proposed plans for a parking garage structure in August, which is above the grade of the present parkland at the eastern end of Midway Plaisance between 59th and 60th streets and Stony Island Avenue and the Metra Tracks and would be able to hold about 400-450 cars.

The facility will be covered and surrounded by a 3-4 acre park open to the public for use and include a picnic area, a children’s play area and other amenities.

The structure would also include off-street bus drop-off and pick-up, bicycle parking, and a connection to Metra. The size of the site in total will be about 26 acres.

t.hill@hpherald.com