To the Editor:
This is the season to express gratitude for the Hyde Park Herald which has been there reporting the events and changes in our community and have those stories preserved in its archives. It is said that if you put two Hyde Parkers in a room you will have 3 to 4 different opinions. The Herald has covered those different opinions throughout its history.
I am a park person. I believe great parks make great communities and can make healthier kids and adults, so I am focusing my gratitude today on the Heralds coverage of our parks. News coverage provides information and influences community opinions for or against projects.
In 1931 the Flora Sylvester Cheney and Katherine Hancock Goode Memorial Bench was dedicated at Stony and the Midway IC. Banks and the Herald covered the women’s suffrage movement and the memorial event and suggested the area be renamed Memorial Square in honor of these first locally elected women state legislators. The Herald covered the negative naysayers whose views were that women did not deserve a Memorial in our park. The Herald covered the news again just a week later when a group of teen boys defaced and damaged the Women’s Memorial.
The Herald covered the event and the community views when local teen boys reportedly burned and destroyed the Japanese Gardens and Tea House planted and rebuilt on the World’s Fair Japanese Exposition Site by a Japanese community member during World War II.
The Herald was there and reported on the tiny and open ice skating pond and shack on the Midway near International House where my boys all learned to ice skate in bitter cold with an open barrel warming fire as our only warmth in the bitter cold.
The Herald was there when the new Ice Skating Rink and Field House were built for our children and community to skate in winter and play sports or have community meetings. The Herald was there covering the views of those who did not want a new Ice Rink and Park Fieldhouse and our team who were and are grateful for this ice skating and indoor and outdoor play space for our kids.
The Herald was there at each of the re-plantings of the Japanese Garden and the subsequent damage and destruction of the gardens by local teens.
The Herald covered the community controversy over the park restoration of The Iowa Building into a kids Summer camp shelter and Picnic building. It was used by thousands of community kids in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The Herald covered the community controversy over building the new Space wing and underground parking lot at the Museum of Science and Industry, which is used by thousands of kids and families to educate and inspire them to greater science and technology careers and understanding.
The Herald was there covering the planning and controversy about building of the life-saving underpasses which stopped kids and families from running across busy Lake Shore Drive to get to the lakefront on hot summer days to reach the 57th, 59th, and 63rd Street picnic and beach areas. It gave community members safe biking/running paths along the lake front and park green space.
The Herald now has the online edition which allows friends and family to access its stories from all over the country. I get emails and calls from previous Hyde Parkers asking me why is the Hyde Park Herald against the Obama Presidential Center? It is the perception they have from reading the Herald.
Obviously, we who are advocates for this once-in-a-lifetime gift from the Obamas to build new park space and facilities for our kids in our park need to speak up more in the Herald to get our positive stories into the Herald. So, thank you Herald for your legacy of reporting on the past park changes. Today we have an opportunity to add our positive voices to explain the OPC gift to our community children. Thank you for being the voice of not just the vocal few, but of our diverse local and online community.