Mixed review for Chicago Park District’s framework planning

The Park District has earned itself some gold stars and also some demerits.

They get a gold star for putting forth a Jackson Park plan showing the Obama Presidential Center and no combined golf course, at least for the moment no golf course change.

As we asked for last week in this space, lets have separate discussions. The Obama Center and the golf course are not tied together. We asked that the powers that be say that. Well the Park District sort of said that.

As to demerits, they get some for an old bureaucratic device: Keep the community busy with busy work. They presented three different versions of park improvements, literally hundreds of options. Yes indeed let the community argue over where the picnic bench goes.

Meanwhile the Presidential Center goes “there” in their plan and undiscussed are the roadway changes that present the real challenges to the planning and are put aside for the moment.

OK the district really does get a gold star for trying to get some kind of agreement on recreational and use improvements to the park. But all of that goes into the South Lakefront Framework Plan. That’s a 10-year plan that covers far more than just Jackson Park.

What the community is going to want to know is “When.” If the Presidential Center is built on 20 acres of the park when does the rest of the park get its improvements?

Meanwhile, the district has thrown up a challenge to the community, here are hundreds of alternatives for changes in the park, what do you want.

Over the next few weeks we will ask members of the community who spend their time helping and protecting the park to weigh in on the choices. It will be interesting to see what the opinions are.