Today Protect Our Parks filed its 55-page motion for summary judgment which moves to have the court rule in POP’s favor and require the Obama center to be relocated to a south side Chicago neighborhood location and NOT located in historic Jackson Park.
February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, a special day of the year set aside for expressing feelings of love and appreciation.
For us on the Protect Our Parks team, it will a day spent in federal court spent expressing our feelings of love and appreciation of the rule of law and of Jackson Park itself as we continue our fight to keep Jackson Park “open, clear, and free” from illegal private development.
Please return here for more details of our court date as things are rapidly evolving with our lawsuit.
Show YOUR love and appreciation of Jackson Park…
On another note, and in the spirit of love and appreciation, we decided it would be interesting to see how our intelligent, fun and creative readers and Facebook followers would create Valentine greetings and show their feelings using our lawsuit and Jackson Park as the theme.
Here are the submissions so far:
We’re really looking forward to seeing what you come up with! We’ll be posting the submissions here on our website and on our Facebook page. And feel free to let anyone who might be up for a Valentine’s Day challenge know about it!
- By your submissions you authorize Protect Our Parks (POP) to publicize your work and use them to advance the successful outcome of the lawsuit against construction of the Obama Center in Jackson Park.
- Protect Our Parks reserves the right to determine which entries to display.
- Entries must be emailed to [email protected] or posted to the Protect Our Parks Facebook page by midnight, Monday, February 11, 2019.
- Entries will be displayed on the Protect Our Parks Facebook page and our website at protectourparks.org.
At one time the now world acclaimed genius and beauty of the Chicago lakefront was just a derelict treeless wasteland of squatters, trash collections and garbage dumping, pollution, and ever scheming land developers; and would have become swallowed up and soon overbuilt with commercial buildings owned and controlled by private interests, blocking the open lakefront, and barring the public from its access and use.
It took the inspiration and dedication of heroes like Aaron Montgomery Ward and decades of his litigation efforts, together with the brilliance and creativity of tireless public leaders like Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead, and the fortuitous 1934 landmark creation of the Park District Consolidation Act to secure the world famous 26 mile long Chicago lakefront public park system extending from north to south, including the incomparable Jackson Park, the largest public park on the south side of Chicago, created in the aftermath to the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and designed by Olmsted & Vaux, known for also creating Central Park in New York.
But maintaining and keeping the lakefront public parks open, clear and free as they were dedicated to be has proven over the years to require a dedicated and endless watch as politicians and their cronies keep trying to find ways to appropriate and exploit that irreplaceable public land as if it were a grab bag of goodies just waiting to be seized to profitably benefit a private interest. And the latest incarnation of Chicago government and Chicago Public Park Commissioners have seemed to forget why they hold office and there is need to have those open, clear and free public parks as a little bit of easily available nature in an otherwise teeming city.
And when those who have taken a public oath to protect those public parks choose instead to violate their duty and become blinded to the miracle of finding fresh air and sunlight, spashing lake waves, green grass, trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, wild animals, casual picnics, and unregulated play by an addiction to building unnatural edificies in its place, as Hamlet put it “The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite, That ever I [Protect Our Parks] was born to set it right!”
And Protect Our Parks, with the help of all those who believe in these same values, has taken on the task of defeating and setting right the wrongful taking of Jackson Park.
We have published the complaint in it’s entirety for transparency and clarity. Included in this post you will find links to download all of the attached exhibit items associated with the complaint filed with the United States District Court For The Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
We have included the updated complaint as filed.
Case Number: 18-cv-3424
Judge: John R. Blakey
Magistrate Judge: Mary M. Rowland
Jackson Park, located on the Mississippi Flyway along Lake Michigan, is internationally recognized for its protection of huge numbers of migrating birds (many endangered). Here more than three-fourths of all migrating bird species seen in Illinois pass through. These exquisite birds sometimes pause to rest and feed, providing memorably beautiful views. In April, May, August, and September, scientists (ornithologists), bird watchers and nature lovers gather to view what is an internationally famous spectacle. Observers count at least 25 species of warblers here, along with orioles, grosbeaks, hummingbirds, vireos, flycatchers, sparrows, swallows and martins. Peregrine Falcons hunt for shorebirds and other species. Myriad duck species, scoters and loons also fly along the shoreline during these migrations.
The Park’s Beginnings
Jackson Park was designed in the 1890s by the world famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted as an unbuilt, meadow, lagoon and tree-filled antidote to the stress and artificialness of Chicago’s urban life. By 1906, the entire park had been transformed into a pastoral urban setting for Chicago residents to escape the confines of the city and connect with nature.
The Need For Protection
Conflicts arose between the city’s moneyed and political interests, and its preservation and restoration-minded residents.
Coordinated and single-minded efforts by powerful politicians and wealthy corporations succeeded in intimidating and silencing even the most committed environmentalists. Few to none have dared to speak up and protest the city’s gift of 20 acres of a beautiful lakefront park – that belongs to the public – to a private foundation.
Jackson Park is on the brink of permanent transformation from a magnificent scenery-dominated outdoor space dedicated to the enjoyment of nature and outdoor sports. Will the Obama Foundation’s vision prevail and turn Jackson Park into a Millennium Park-like park for tourists, featuring a 12 story tower (bird trap), a plaza designed to hold food trucks, and a 450 car/bus exhaust spewing garage?
Here they go again. This deal is exactly like the one we fought in Lincoln Park in 2008. The state of Indiana entered into a secret deal to privatize park of a public park.
Guest Commentary: Privatization of Dunes State Park pavilion and conference center at the beach draw fire
By Michael T. Sawyier
I read with some concern the celebratory article in the February 27 issue of your newspaper about the Indiana Dunes State Park Pavilion “rehabilitation” project that is now (finally) under way. My concerns are as follows.
First, as the lawyer for a group of very prominent local residents who had sought to carry out that same project, and submitted a bid to do so, some years ago by means of a publicly supported 501(c)(3) charity and its wholly-owned “L3C” operating subsidiary, I can state categorically that the DNR’s request for proposals ruled out any such additional construction as the massive new convention center next to the Pavilion that the private developer has now planned. Thus, I have a concern about the process that led to the DNR’s initial acceptance and two-year continuance of the private developer’s bid that was evidently conditioned upon that additional construction.
Second, despite the encomiums about that conference center offered up by the private developer’s paid public relations spokesperson in the article, I question whether the construction of such a purely commercial, private facility on the public beach itself alongside the Pavilion is consistent with the emerging public trust doctrine of beach property law. That is the doctrine which prohibits the State from selling off the public’s beach as so much supposed “excess property” to the highest bidder.
Some things never change. In 2008 it was the mega-rich Latin School that attempted to seize a few acres of priceless public Park land for a private soccer field. In 2015 the University of Chicago wants 22 acres of Washington Park for the Obama Library.
The University, which has annual endowment income of over $420 million, owns a ton of property across the street from the public park land they would appropriate for the library and they would profit hugely from locating the library there.
The advocacy and service organization Friends of The Parks says “NO!”