Build the OPC along Stony Island

To the Editor:

I think this proposed design for the OPC looks more like an Epcot center than a presidential one. I cannot get over the amount of concrete – these buildings, plazas, a twenty-two-story tower. What is being suggested is a redesign of the park, and the idea of a museum campus would not suffer from being located along three or more sites along the west side of Stony Island.

What has been lost here is the opportunity to make the OPC a multi-site facility, with the OPC located on several sites along Stony. Yes, there is a museum component, but we would also have spaces for a community building, an educational component, communal kitchens, gymnasiums, indoor basketball courts, and the like. I’ve heard yoga studios, sound studios, why are they putting all of this in one building (twenty-two stories tall) when, ideally, this deserves multiple sites. Yes, they will charge admission to the museum. But there will be other facilities that are free. There is room to grow, with connections to other cultural organizations, including South Side Art Bank, 63rd Street, South down Stony. The park is their front yard.

This plan to confine the OPC to Jackson Park is very controversial.  This park was designed by Olmsted, it is on the National Register.  I have not heard from any of the so-called park advocates who support building this on park land, (and only on park land). Why is it that park land is any different from land on Stony Island? A building of this size is out of scale with the site. Stony Island is vastly superior.

Yes, we want an OPC, but we want it along Stony, where this will have a positive impact. This neighborhood would see benefits that a park plan would isolate it from.

The current plan is flawed, from a standpoint of (Historic) park preservation, adverse environmental impact, and it is going to change that park forever. Yes, we want to build an OPC, but we are not interested in any gimmicky type project right in our park. This is a second-rate plan, cramming this up against the MSI.

We demand better – Three sites on Stony. What does the park have that Stony doesn’t?


Ross Petersen