Park District to host more Lakefront Framework Planning meetings

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

The Chicago Park District will host two community meetings at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Drive, on Thursday, Dec. 7, and Monday, Dec. 11, as a part of its ongoing South Lakefront Framework Planning process that began over the summer.

The meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and are an opportunity for the Chicago Park District to gather feedback from residents on park uses and capital improvements to Jackson and South Shore parks.

The meetings will be centered on options for the rest of the park systems, building on plans for the Obama Presidential Center and traffic mitigations that were previously presented to the public, said the Park District in a written release.

There will be no new information presented on the Obama Presidential Center or related roadway changes. The meetings will be focused on recreational and cultural park uses.

“The Chicago Park District looks forward to developing a Framework Plan for the South Lakefront that is sound and steadfast for the enjoyment of current residents and future generations,” said Chicago Park District CEO and Superintendent Michael P. Kelly in a written statement. “We will achieve this goal by continuously hosting community meetings and soliciting input from residents at every step of the way.”

In June, July, and August, the Chicago Park District participated in large-scale community meetings with the City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Transportation, and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).

The meetings served as the start of the planning process for a new South Lakefront Framework Plan, which will be an updated version of the 1999 framework plan that includes Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the South Shore Cultural Center.

The framework plan will first focus on the changes to Jackson and South Shore parks, with a discussion about Washington Park to be held at a later date.

The purpose is to create a long-term plan that incorporates a vision for improvements for the parks over time it also functions as a planning tool for the community and the Chicago Park District.

The meetings are styled like an open house and will start promptly at 6 p.m., the presentation of the scenario plans will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The scenario plans will be exhibited on boards that will be on display for attendees to observe and comment on.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about and weigh- in on three options that outline potential recreational and cultural park uses as well as capital improvements,” said the Park District in a written statement. “These options were developed based on feedback from residents, existing park conditions, and potential new projects.”

Each of the three options highlights different aspects of the parks. The goal is to offer three options “based on a reasonable balance of uses that also provide the greatest public benefit,” said the Park District in a written statement.

This last group of meetings on the South Lakefront Framework Plan was held in September.

In September, Park District officials provided updates on recreation, ecology, and programming in Jackson and South Shore parks.

Updates that were presented were compiled based on feedback from the public during large-scale community meetings that the Park District participated in alongside the City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Barack Obama Foundation and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) over the summer.

Park District officials took stock of park amenities, evaluated current conditions, recreation and passive usage and linked it with feedback from the community.

t.hill@hpherald.com