Reactions to decision regarding the OPC

Erin Adams of Southside Neighbors for Hope speaks while Jackson Park Wolfpack Coach Rynell Morgan and Jackson Park Advisory Council President Louise McCurry listen during a press conference in the Dirksen Federal Court building. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)


Louise McCurry, president of Jackson Park Advisory Council, said in a statement: “Today, the children of Woodlawn, South Shore and Hyde Park can celebrate.  The judge’s decision to allow construction to start immediately means that youth will have a high school competition level track and field, a state-of-the-art library, an amazing history museum, a healthy foods garden to learn about growing and eating healthy foods, an indoor gym for winter sports and winter programs, and blocks of paths safely connecting our nature areas, historic areas, and recreation areas while replacing concrete expressway with  grass and native plants.  We will have easy connectivity to our lakefront parks and lakefront paths from our surrounding communities. This is a wonderful win for our diverse community.”

Margaret Schmid, who co-leads the Jackson Park Watch project, said: “The legal saga is clearly not over. No construction can start; the federal reviews are far from complete. And we and many others have been urging the Lightfoot administration to step back, take a good look and do a thorough analysis on some of the areas that have not been thoroughly, properly reviewed.”

South Side Neighbors 4 Hope issued the following statement: “We are thrilled that the Protect our Parks lawsuit which sought to block the construction of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park, was dismissed today.  This is a win for our south side communities who have waited patiently for the influx of jobs, economic development and the resources that the OPC will provide for our south side children, families and community members.  It is also a win for Jackson Park, with significant investment towards water management, ecological-minded landscaping and amenities for people visiting the park such as nature paths, picnic areas and a sledding hill.  We call upon Protect our Parks and the lawsuit’s plantiffs to acknowledge the fair process that this lawsuit was given and accept Judge Blakey’s balanced decision and to refrain from embarking on a lengthy appeal process that will only waste Chicago tax payer’s money and further delay this major investment to the south side that honors our first African American President.”

Tonya Trice, executive director of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, told reporters her organization is excited with Blakey’s ruling. “South Shore and the surrounding communities suffer from very high rates of unemployment. At the announcement of the Obama Presidential Center, things started to change in our community. We are getting phone calls from investors who are interested in opening businesses there. Home sales have increased. We have three commercial corridor studies going on right now. People are interested, and we’re very excited about the economic growth and development that this Obama Presidential Center will bring.”