Buildings or park land?

 

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to the editors, it was claimed that “less than four percent of the 20+ acre campus will be covered by buildings.”

This statement is not true. Buildings occupy more than half of this site. Planting some flower boxes on the roof does not magically turn these buildings into park land. The letter also failed to mention the central building will be 235 feet in height, equivalent to a twenty-two-story building. To describe this as four percent of the campus is ludicrous.

Statements like “we will pick up more park land by removing Cornell Drive” are also dishonest, disingenuous, as the road revisions (Hayes, Stony Island, Lake Shore Drive) will consume ever more park land. Yes, we’ll get two blocks by removing Cornell Drive. Problem is, we lose far more park elsewhere. This is not a good trade-off.

Finally, I think describing sites on Stony Island as “shopping malls” is inaccurate. The site at 56th and Stony has extraordinary potential. So, too, does the stretch of 60th Street between Stony and the RR tracks. These sites would increase the park. Instead, they are suggesting this presidential center inside of our park. This is unnecessary, as sites along Stony are every bit as good at affording access to the park, while still preserving it. There is no good reason to put this in the park, while vacant lots / empty buildings lie up and down Stony.  Parks are held in public trust, for the benefit of all. Forever open, free, and clear of buildings.

Sincerely, 

Ross Petersen