To the Editor:
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Logan foundation, for their gift to Protect Our Parks. This is a gift not only to our park, but also to social justice, to competent urban planning. This is a gift to all the people of Chicago.
We do want and are excited to have the OPC come to Chicago. The question is the location, is the park the best place to locate it? We feel a case can be made that a location on Stony Island is far superior to a park-based plan. We don’t want to have to trade our park away to get the OPC. Locate it on Stony, the park is their front yard.
Now, this group ‘Southside neighbors who hope’ says we have neglected that part of the park. I think the local advisory council (JPAC) would take issue with that claim, as they have been in existence since the mid-1960s. We had the first volunteer natural area workdays (in the city), starting in the early 1990s. They continue, to this day. Thousands of hours are contributed, by untold numbers of volunteers, year in, year out. I would not describe that part of the park as ‘neglected’ or ‘decayed’.
Further, the advisory council has worked, for years, to see Cornell Drive “reconfigured to original specifications” – meaning returning it to two lanes in each direction. It is hardly neglected.
Ms. Adams also injects false claims of racism into the debate. This is not the case, it is an issue of where to build, not do we build. She is conflating issues of park advocacy and preservation with the race card. I assure you, there are Black and White people, from all over the South Side, who oppose taking up park land, while the U. of C. has sites up and down Stony Island. Why take up the park? Parks belong to all people. Stony Island is the better site. This is a ploy, owing to a weak argument. Shame on her.
What does the U. of C. have planned for the 5600 block of South Stony? All the people who signed her letter work for or are affiliated with the U. of C.
I don’t think this group understands the impact of this 235-foot-tall tower, the four buildings, 20+ acre campus they are proposing, inside of the park.
Why not move it across the street? It is still on the park. A competent architect could connect the building, by way of a land bridge, to the park.
There is room for the OPC on Stony Island. The park – is irreplaceable. The best way to honor the president is by building along Stony Island. The park needs to be preserved.