Washington Park is a better OPC site

To the Editor:

Judge John Robert Blakey ruled in favor of the defendants in Protect Our Parks’ attempt to keep the skyscraper and four other buildings out of Jackson Park which has been  protected for a hundred years from permanent buildings not in compliance with the Olmstead Plan.

After the case began, the mayor rushed through a law to allow construction in Jackson Park in complete violation of the park planning that had prevailed until then.

The judge states, I “must deal with legislation as enacted and not with special active considerations of legislative wisdom.”  He was, of course, referring to the brand-new law.

The ruling went on for 52 pages and what got my attention was that the near Washington Park site was actually preferred by the foundation’s evaluation criteria. It got a score of 122 vs 121 for Jackson Park. One point isn’t much, but the site is far better.

As a construction person, I remember the dewatering required to build an oil tank foundation at 60th and Blackstone. That was decades ago, and the lake level is now as high as it has ever been.

The underground garages and basements will require pumping water 24/7 at the Jackson Park site.

The cheaper real estate near Washington Park and lack of groundwater would allow free, grade-level parking like that the Museum of Science and Industry visitors used to enjoy until 1980.

An appeal of the lower court’s ruling will only save Jackson Park if there is something wrong with the revised law. Otherwise, the park’s only hope is to beg the Obama foundation to save themselves and the host city a half billion dollars in construction costs and consider the convenience of the westerly location near the rapid transit.

My neighbors and I can’t afford the property tax to destroy Cornell Drive for a dubious improvement. Our taxes went up 29% to 59% from last year. It is nuts.

Terry Herlihy