Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Thursday Letters: Turn South Works site into a park

SHARE Thursday Letters: Turn South Works site into a park
SHARE Thursday Letters: Turn South Works site into a park

It’s now, sadly, official: the development project known as Chicago Lakeside, centered at 87th Street and the lakefront, is dead in the water, a state of affairs that some people, myself included, felt to be the case since last summer. The cancellation of this project is a nothing more than a strategic blow to the city.

In Tuesday’s Sun-Times, Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza of the 10th Ward called for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to be built on there on the former U.S. Steel South Works site. Hardly original thinking I would say, and the project is so small that even if the Obama Presidential Library would, by some quirk of fate, be thrown into the mix, there would be vast tracts of acreage left empty. Instead, I have a different idea for the site.

The State of Illinois is broke, a known fact. However, the state should go deeper into debt and buy the 600-plus acre site from U.S. Steel outright (or perhaps in partnership with the city). Make it a flat-out, take it or leave it offer, and don’t be surprised if U.S. Steel takes it, just to have that millstone lifted from around its corporate neck.

The site should then be turned into a state park dedicated to recreational activities, conservation efforts, and environmental education. No other American city would have such a park within its borders, and it would bring in tourists, anglers, boaters, bikers, birders, and students from Chicago area schools. Admittedly, the project wouldn’t produce the number and kind of jobs as the original Lakeside plan, but it would be strikingly fresh, daring, and green.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Be bold, be decisive, and act on this now!

As for Ald. Sadlowski-Garza’s equating of the Lucas Museum to the Palace of Versailles, well, historical analogies are often problematic at their best, laughable at their worst.

John Vukmirovich, Lemont

Why I’m saying no

Nine years ago I contributed $3,000 so my twins could have a full day of kindergarten. Almost every year since I have been asked to help cover the costs of basic necessities ranging from paper towels to teachers. Now with my children in eighth grade, I am again being asked to help fill gaps in the CPS budget. This year, I am saying no. The city continues to make decisions that demonstrate they are not at all serious about fixing what is a severely broken system.

CPS Supt. Forrest Claypool recently stated he would not scrap plans for a new $60 million selective enrollment high school that just a fraction of students will benefit from and for which he has no funding to support its operations.

The City Council recently approved the sale of city land valued at $755,000 for just $1 so the University of Chicago can erect a new building for its charter school. Those proceeds could have gone a long way to help CPS.

The most recent round of school cuts could have been averted by a City Council proposal to use half of the city’s surplus TIF funds to address CPS’ budget shortfall. Instead, the resolution was sent to Committee, presumably to die.

With actions like these, I can no longer ignore the rumors that there is a purposeful effort to destroy CPS, beyond the blatant machinations of Gov. Bruce Rauner. My writing another check will not contribute in a meaningful way to a sustainable solution. If our leaders are not going to help, neither will I.

Erica Salem Lake View

Release grand jury info

Sun-Times reporter Frank Main certainly captured the mood of many Chicago officers who are sworn to serve and protect us during a very difficult time. The mood of some of the officers working the streets and captured in his reporting runs from caution to confusion to out-and-out hesitation to do what is necessary to combat the violence this city is experiencing.

They have been accused of being fetal, of having a code of silence. They have been accused of racial profiling, they have been accused of insensitivity. No doubt some of those accusations will be proven to be true.

In my opinion a big step in going forward would be if Judge Toomin heeds the Sun-Times editorial request to release the grand jury results of the Dan Webb-led grand jury investigation. A good rinsing of the past is desperately needed for this department to move forward and dig deep into just what clout and its effect has on the men and woman who swore to serve and protect our city.

Leadership and accountability are in my opinion the answers to the problems, not only for the past but also in the future. Our department has been down before and we have always managed to bounce back stronger and become a better department ,and I for one am confident this will be the case again.

Bob Angone, South Loop

Breadth of vision

We are writing on behalf of the Coalition to Save the Shrine. The Shrine of Christ the King is the church in Woodlawn formerly known as St. Gelasius, and the Coalition consists of its neighbors and friends. The Coalition has the support of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago, the Northern Illinois Historic League, the Hyde Park Historical Society, the Woodlawn Residents Association, the Woodlawn Peace Center, the Kimbark Avenue Block Club, the Kenwood Block Club and the Wedgewood Condo Association.

Archbishop Blase Cupich had the breadth of vision to recognize the significance of the Shrine, not only as a majestic place of worship, but also as an anchor for a struggling neighborhood and a treasure for the city as a whole. He had the ingenuity to find a solution to what at first seemed to be an insurmountable problem: repairing the church appeared to be cost prohibitive, $450,000 to stabilize it and much more to repair it. When he realized that donors to Preservation Chicago had already raised $650,000 to stabilize the Shrine, he saw how much community spirit this church inspires. So he found a creative solution: the Archdiocese has transferred ownership of the Shrine to the international order of priests that cares for it now, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The Shrine is in fact the American Headquarters for the Institute, which has 13 churches in the United States.

The Coalition to Save the Shrine is deeply grateful to Archbishop Cupich’s pastoral care of the Shrine’s parishioners, neighbors and friends. The Archbishop has brought about a win-win-win-win for the Archdiocese, the neighborhood, the Shrine and Chicago.

Laurie Cherbonnier, Winnetka

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

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