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Old Posted Jan 8, 2015, 7:56 PM
Vlajos Vlajos is offline
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Originally Posted by SSideAtty View Post
Long time reader, first time poster.

Attorney and lifelong South-sider. I am not trained in Architecture although it was truly my first love. In college it became apparent that my ability with complex math was suspect at best but that I was given an ability to think quick on my feet and lead and inspire with rhetoric - so I chose law. As for writing, it comes and goes depending upon what time of day it is

I have played golf at Jackson Park many times over the years - drove the green for the first time in my life at Jackson Park - believe it was the 8th or 9th hole. I have also played softball in Washington Park and have also gone to a number of cookouts on the park grounds. As someone who has been intimately associated with the park, this issue of the Obama Presidential library location and its proposed attendant use of park grounds matters a great deal to me.

THIS ISSUE... the Obama Library issue... was enough to get me off the sidelines and take a few moments out of my day to give my 2 cents. The question I have is WHO ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS? Who are those people who stand to gain the most by having this library in Washington/Jackson Park?

Is it the people who care most about history and preservation? Those same people who rarely if ever have even bothered to set foot in either one of the parks in question? And if they did bother to come on the south-side and set foot in the park was it in passing or did they stay and continue to use the park on a consistent basis? Do those people live in the neighborhood surrounding the park? Do they even live on the south-side?

See, it is easy to sit back and dictate what others should do while sitting in an ivory tower far removed from the day to day life that others live.

The U of C proposal says that they will replace the park space that will be utilized for the library. As someone who has seen that neighborhood, I believe them. And I am sure friends of the park and neighborhood groups will ensure that they make good on their word - and it will, of course, all be in writing at the appropriate time.

There are plenty of blank lots in that area and other lots with dilapidated homes on them where you will likely find the homeowner amenable to sell for the right price. I believe the new park space can be contiguous. Will a road run through that newly contiguous space? Probably but there are roads that run through parts of the park right now. As long as the ball fields are saved, areas to golf are saved, as long as areas to cookout and gather together are saved, and as long as the wide expanse of land is saved for parkland... helping to maintain the general character, essence and feel of the park, I think this can be a win/win for all involved.

I would submit to you that the real stakeholders are the people who stand to benefit most from seeing the areas in question being reinvigorated, revitalized and gentrified. The real stakeholders are the people who actually use the park and live in neighborhoods around the park. And for the those people, most (not all, but most) would surely welcome the tremendous boost that this Library would bring to their long forgotten, long dilapidated, crime infested neighborhoods. And most (not all, but most) of those people would gladly give up a small portion of either of the parks in question if it served the greater good and improved quality of the quality of life of the people in that neighborhood and of the people that actually use the parks in question.

And finally, EVERY Chicagoan should have an interest in seeing the South-side come to life. As long as the south-side is viewed worldwide as a forgotten crime infested wasteland to be avoided and Chicago is viewed as a city of two cities - one for the haves and the other for the have-nots - one to be lived in the other to be avoided - as long as it is viewed like that, Chicago will never reach its truest potential and be as great as it can be. It wasn't until New York gentrified Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc. and lowered crime did it reach the favorable world view/peak in popularity that it now enjoys. Chicago must do the same. If Chicago hopes to continue to thrive well into this century and the next, it must eliminate the negative stigma of the south-side because whether you like it or not it is a driver -- that perception drives the news media, drives the news coverage that Chicago gets, drives perception, drives away some potential businesses and drives away potential new residents.

I submit to you that the South-side is our Bronx, Harlem, etc. And I see nothing on the horizon quite like the Obama Presidential Library proposal that has the potential of a 5/10 or even 15 year complete turnaround for that area. And if that area is turned around, it could spur a complete turnaround of Bronzeville, Woodlawn, and eventually Grand Crossing, etc. This is the gift horse. This is the potential catalyst. We would be fools to turn it away.

Thanks for sharing, great post.

Looks like you're not the only local resident in favor of this

In a joint letter, the four—Aldermen Pat Dowell, 3rd; Will Burns, 4th; Leslie Hairston, 5th; and Willie Cochran, 20th—said they are "committed to doing all that is necessary" to bring the library to the South Side, where Obama lived during much of his professional career.

"As elected officials with responsibility to represent the interests of our constituents, we are determined to make appropriate locations available in a timely manner," as the foundation planning the library has requested, the letter states. "The bid enjoys enormous support from civic leaders, community organizations and residents."

Last edited by Vlajos; Jan 8, 2015 at 8:42 PM. Reason: update
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