Grass or concrete?

To the Editor:

It is ironic — and amusing — that some members of this community, normally environmentally sensitive and eager to preserve nature, are casting a vote in favor of traffic and pollution.

The uproar about the idea of closing Cornell Drive is truly curious. I recall that in the 1960s, when my family moved to Hyde Park, there were individuals who chained themselves to trees to protest the idea of widening Cornell Drive. I seem to recall a photo of Herald photographer Nancy Hays, tethered to a tree, on the front page. Now we have a proposal to replace this swath of concrete with grass and trees, so one would think people would be thrilled.

But no.

Many people in the city are concerned about the loss of green space, so here comes a proposal to increase the amount of green space in Jackson Park and people are opposed? This doesn’t make sense.

Not all that long ago, the Peggy Notebaert Museum was built in Lincoln Park. Nearby, there’s the Chicago History Museum, also in Lincoln Park. Downtown, we have the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Planetarium — all in city parks. Moving down to Hyde Park, we have the Museum of Science and Industry and the DuSable Museum. All located in city parks. The idea of locating a museum in a park is hardly new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is.

Green space can be removed, but green space can also be increased. Remember that the Northerly Island, now a natural area and a gathering spot for birds and other wildlife, was once a slab of concrete known as Meigs Field.

Carolyn Ulrich

Chicago