To the Editor:
The Clarence Darrow Bridge has been closed to foot traffic since October 2013 and vehicular traffic since 2005. The Chicago Park District has offered conflicting statements regarding when the needed construction will be completed to reopen it to foot traffic. Until this project is addressed the public must travel from the parking lots by the Museum of Science & Industry through Bobolink Prairie to access the Wooded Isle from the south.
In the August 20, 2014 edition of the Hyde Park Herald, Luis Benitz from CPD indicated that the bridge would be rebuilt in 2017. In the October 1, 2014 edition, Louise McCurry of the Hyde Park Advisory Committee wrote a detailed letter calling on CPD to move forward on this project. In the November 18, 2015 edition, Michael Claffey of CPD indicated that construction would occur in 2018. In the April 19, 2017 edition, Luis Benitz indicated construction would occur in 2019. Recently Luis Benitz told members of Jackson Park Watch that construction would occur in 2020 or 2021.
The Chicago Park District can find funding to move Cornell Drive, do shoreline improvements from 67th Street to 71st Street, build new pedestrian underpasses for the renovated golf course and to build a clubhouse for the Tiger Woods Golf Course in 2017, all newly conceived projects, but they have been unable to identify the funds to rebuild a historic bridge that has been in need since 2005. I would guess that the representatives of CPD will indicate in future years that eventually they will get around to giving the public an honest answer but then again I would not hold my breath.
-Michael W. Hoke