Asking U. of C.: give new site for OPC


To the Editor:

Below is a letter I sent to the president of the University of Chicago, asking him to consider donating land as an alternative to the proposed site of the Obama Presidential Center.

Dear President Zimmer,

My name is Ross Petersen, and I’m the former president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, or JPAC. I’m a native Hyde Parker, currently living North, but my heart is still in Hyde Park.

I am writing to ask you to make a significant contribution to President Obama, to Hyde Park, to all of the citizens of Chicago. Please donate the site of the former ATS Building, at 5608 S. Stony Island, to the Obama foundation.  Alternately, you could sell the land to them.

This would expand Jackson Park, and would afford a site, on the park, that would create a new gateway to the Park, to Stony Island. It is prominent, prestigious, and it doesn’t require any changes to Jackson Park. There are air-rights, to the West, and a museum campus, South, would be achieved.

Let’s face it – the University bought that (garage) building fifty years ago. They used it for facilities, the occasional rehearsal. But nothing was ever done with it, and now, there is something we can do with it – the better location for the OPC. It is park frontage land. We want an Obama Presidential Center, and this is a far better location, than building it inside of historic Jackson Park.

If we put the OPC inside Jackson Park, the Bartlett study found that nearly six hundred trees would need to be cut down.

If we put it on the ATS site, no trees will need to come down. Not One.

I’m told that a vacant lot is planned for this site. Please give this land to the Obama foundation so they can build a truly great OPC. We want to increase the size of the park, and this location would achieve that.


Ross Petersen