To the Editor:
Alisa Starks supports the proposed changes to Jackson Park, which she has every right to do. I would like to respectfully disagree with several of her statements.
The individuals involved with Jackson Park Watch have never opposed the Obama Presidential Center, in fact they have applauded its arrival in Jackson Park. They have questioned the secrecy attached to the roll out of what is planned and have called for transparency in both the planning and the overall costs to the taxpayers.
They have asked that the Chicago Park District and President Obama identify the site of the parkland that will replace the land being taken in Jackson Park.
When it comes to the Tiger Woods Golf Course there has been even greater secrecy attached to this proposal. The claim that it will cost 30 million dollars, which private sources will cover 24 million dollars, is not believable. Just to rebuild the shoreline between 67th Street to 71st Street will cost at least 15 million dollars, adding two new pedestrian underpasses is another 5 million dollars, add to this the cost of building a clubhouse for the golfers in the area of 63rd Street and Cornell Drive, moving the Chicago Police Mounted Unit, extending the golf driving range plus the new golf course will cost a great deal more than what we have been told.
I fear that if the Tiger Woods Golf Course is built it will be surrounded by a security fence that will block public access to the course, which means the proposed underpass at 66th Street and Jeffery Avenue will be for the golfers use exclusively. As for the claim that new landscaping will prevent residential windows from being broken I find that to be laughable.
Will this proposed golf course bring economic development to the South Shore community? I seriously doubt it. It could help the Woodlawn area as that will be the entrance point for the golf course but it is too far removed from 71st Street for that area to benefit.
I would also like to point out that the Chicago Park District loves to issue press releases that claim they are going to upgrade or create facilities in this area and when the time comes for them to proceed they forget about what they offered. Examples of this are the Children’s Garden on Midway Plaisance in 2001, the shoreline improvements between 45th and 51st streets in 2015 and the Clarence Darrow Bridge in 2014. The Chicago Park District also fails to maintain what they currently are responsible for maintaining including the pedestrian underpasses at 59th Street and 66th Street and Lake Shore Drive.
I believe that the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, CDOT and the Chicago Golf Alliance should be transparent and especially be honest about the total costs that they are asking the taxpayers to be responsible for!