Sunday Letters: Lucas Museum ruling a setback for all Chicago

SHARE Sunday Letters: Lucas Museum ruling a setback for all Chicago

If you, like us, support the arts, education, jobs, economic investment, architectural innovation and adding nearly 200,000 square feet of new parkland along the lakefront for all the people of Chicago to enjoy, U.S. District JudgeJohn Darrah’s ruling on Thursday was a disappointment. The court allowed a lawsuit from Friends of the Parks to proceed, postponing construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

The ruling is a setback for all of Chicago, as the Lucas Museum will be the first of its kind, giving Chicagoans and visitors from all over the world the ability to explore the power of storytelling in the visual arts in a single space. Education is at the heart of the museum’s mission, creating a place where world-renowned artists and filmmakers can visit and conduct workshops for schools, colleges, and after-school programs for Chicago’s students.

The Lucas Museum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Chicago to expand its cultural horizons; a gift whose value is hard to overstate.

Further, the Lucas Museum will be financed at no cost to Chicago taxpayers. Zero. And the economic impact from the museum will be significant, adding an estimated $2 billion to $2.5 billion in increased tourism spending and $120 million to $160 million in new tax revenue in its first ten years, according to studies by the Civic Consulting Alliance and World Business Chicago.

Finally, the museum’s development will transform the current site, an asphalt parking lot, into a usable green space where museum programming and festivals will take place. Designed by Chicago’s Studio Gang, the plan will honor the history and vegetation of the lakefront, including native plantings, a dune field and a rain garden. It will create an accessible, lively and beautiful outdoor space, open to all and at no cost to the public – a fact overlooked by friends of the parking lot.

Allowing this lawsuit to proceed will significantly delay, if not deny, these tremendous benefits for the citizens of Chicago. We urge Chicagoans to raise their voice in opposition to this lawsuit.

Clarence Bourne, Board Chairman, DuSable Museum of African American History; Gary T. Johnson, President, Museums in the Park;Carlos Tortolero, President and Founder, National Museum of Mexican Art

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Friends of the Parks or a parking lot?

I’m confused by this group called “Friends of the Parks.”I first encountered them when they fought against the Children’s Museum coming to Grant Park. Now they are fighting to stop the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art from replacing a parking lot?

The Lucas Museum will draw visitors from around the world. It will be an interactive playground for children throughout the city and, I believe, a centerpiece for Chicago. The museum will bring hundreds of jobs in construction and operations.

And remarkably, this is all being done at the expense of George Lucas!!! Cities across this country are trying to get this museum, yet we have a small group trying to block it from Chicago. The location that has been selected is currently a piece of concrete used as a parking lot.It will not detract from the land, in fact it will beautify it and add value.

My question is this, who is this group, “Friends of the Parks?”Who is on their board?What is their makeup? Where do they live?How many of them live on the South or West Side?How many of their board are African American or Latino?

Are they Friends of the People of Chicago and the Children of Chicago — or Friends of a Parking Lot!

Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Pastor, Faith Community of St. Sabina, Auburn Gresham

The missing seat at Scalia’s funeral

If President Obama is too busy to attend Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral, he is too busy to be president.

Lee J. Regner, Park Ridge

Time to hit the “Pause Button”

Hearing the tributes pour in to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been a wonderful reminder of the kinder, gentler America we once cherished. Scalia loved discourse and debate, but he also genuinely respected those with opposing views. Opponents returned the respect, and friends and foes alike uniformly held him in high esteem.

Can’t we please hit the pause button on the current debates to simply honor the man’s memory and learn from the style, grace and substance he showed on the Court and to mankind?

Bob Kornecki, Evanston

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