How about 63rd Street Site for the OPC?

To the Editor:

I understand that seeing the park, you might be inclined to build the OPC there. But that is not the best spot, when you consider the impact this campus, this 22-story-tall building will have on the surrounding park. When you erect these buildings, it ceases to be a park. You also have to consider the precedent this sets, for future developments, in all of our parks.

There are numerous sites, like 63rd Street, that were hard hit by urban renewal and economic downturns. This was, at one time, a major commercial area, lined with businesses. This area has room for commercial and residential development. There are opportunities for businesses.  By locating the OPC on 63rd Street, this would serve as a catalyst, and bring opportunity to Woodlawn.  Much of this land belongs to the city, and there are numerous vacant lots. Think what the OPC could bring to Woodlawn. This can revitalize the community.

The OPC has been described as a museum. I think it also has the potential for being an institution dedicated to community organizing, business building, the success that comes from a strong, tight knit community. It should be located in the community, not out in the middle of the park. This reduces the OPC to little more than a tourist attraction. How does this benefit the community?

The idea of a museum campus is based on a notion that somehow, two museums will be better than one. They will point to Navy pier as proof. This is just more smoke and mirrors.  The fact is, you are better off with the OPC along the park, along the West side of Stony Island. It is the open spaces of the parks that gives them magic, and the park needs to be preserved.

Consider other sites for the OPC, in the city. The West side of Stony Island, at 56th Street; at 63rd Street, going West; even the corner of 67th and Stony Island, at the South end of the park. These sites preserve the historic park and will forever be guaranteed a front yard like no other, Jackson park. This is a far greater legacy than putting the OPC into the park. Move the OPC to Stony Island. Preserve Jackson Park.


Ross Petersen