McMobil threatens our village

To the Editor:

Some time ago, upon meeting a young New Yorker, he asked why I had not been to New York in decades. In response to my comment that I don’t like to visit large cities, he then asked me why I live in Chicago, a large city. I told him that I live in a village, Hyde Park. Living in Hyde Park, we can live in a neighborhood that is part of the city of Chicago.

When articles in The Herald change “McMobil” to “Vue53,” that does not change the fact that the proposed building is vastly inappropriate for that site. The question remains whether that design is appropriate for any site.

Recently, we, residents of Montgomery Place, a retirement community, saw slides along with a talk about changes being made in Hyde Park. I had begun to think that if people wanted to see just what a 14-story building looks like, they could look at our building at 5550 South Shore Drive. Our building is appropriate for the site, similar in appearance to other buildings near us; we have indoor parking. The parking on the street is tight; however, nothing like how difficult it is now to park on Kenwood Avenue and/or 53rd Street.

When the slide of the proposed building was shown, it is a monstrosity of design, going along with nothing in Hyde Park, specifically at the location of 53rd Street and Kenwood Avenue. Seeing the design of McMobil’s proposed building and hearing about the other buildings being planned for 53rd Street was disturbing to anyone who loves Hyde Park.

On March 20th, Amanda Englert’s letter spoke of what a 13- or 14-story building would do to this neighborhood where she has lived for 13 years since she was a student at the University of Chicago. No one close to that proposed building would have sunlight because a building of that size would block the sun that those people have enjoyed.

The Herald of May 1 had a letter by Marc Lipinski that told about other University of Chicago-built buildings that conform to the vicinity in which they were built. Why not use this common sense in planning a new building for this site? This is a prime location for the proper building.

Driving west on 53rd Street from Lake Park Avenue is already a challenge due to the traffic. When people write about how Hyde Park needs more density, we know that they are interested in possible profit to be gained, not for the convenience of residents. Looking at the large building that was built for a new bookstore on the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue and what has become of it is a sign that we don’t need huge buildings. The Hyde Park Herald of June 26 has an article about the fact that we are losing yet another local “Mom and Pop” book store because they are moving to Indiana — O’Gara and Wilson, 1448 E. 57th St.

What will Ald. Will Burns (4th) get from his approval of this planned controversial building as well as other plans on the books that do not take into consideration the wishes of many Hyde Park residents?

Donna Graham