Logan Foundation funding suit to block Obama Center in Jackson Park

Rendering courtesy of the Obama Foundation

By AARON GETTINGER
Staff writer

The Reva and David Logan Foundation has approved a $100,000 general operations grant to Protect Our Parks (POP), the group suing the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to block construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

“We believe that this ‘land grab’ is both legally and morally wrong, and that the City of Chicago, the Obama Foundation and their partners need to reconsider their choice of location for this project,” said board chairman Richard Logan in a statement. “There are so many sites in the city that could benefit from the kudos, the opportunities for employment and the neighborhood regeneration without taking public land and destroying historic city parklands.”

The Logan Foundation grant comes with few strings: it “may be used to pay the ever-mounting legal fees or for whatever purpose Protect Our Parks feels will further its just cause.”

Protect Our Parks president Herb Caplan was ecstatic over “this generous grant to support a successful conclusion of our pending lawsuit.”

“We appreciate the Logan Foundation’s understanding of the importance of our efforts as well as the demonstration of a common interest in protecting historic Jackson Park from illegal exploitation from a misconceived non-public park use,” he said in a statement.

In an email sent to the Herald, Caplan said that his attorney Mark Roth “casually let it drop to the defendants that a major foundation (one that UChicago knows well) has agreed to support POP all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary and to aid us in further fundraising with other foundations and the public.”

Reva and David Logan, now deceased, donated $35 million for the performing arts center at the University of Chicago that bears their name. Their Chicago-based Foundation is known for its support of social justice initiatives, scholarships and investigative journalism.

Protect Our Parks v. Chicago Park District is still in the discovery process after U.S. District Court Judge John Robert Blakey rejected the defendants’ bid to have it dismissed earlier this year.

a.gettinger@hpherald.com