Obama Presidential Center puts cart before the horse

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A detailed site plan for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park | Obama Presidential Center

As noted by Openland’s CEO Jerry Adelmann at a public meeting last week, there are significant problems with the process the city is following as it conducts a required federal review of proposals for the Obama Presidential Center and the related road changes.

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First, the city’s Department of Transportation and Department of Planning and Development have omitted the necessary first step of including public participation in developing the statement of “purpose and need” that defines the project for review. Second, they have instead drafted their own “purpose and need” statement without public input. And rather than take the current configuration of the park as the starting point for assessing the impact of the proposed changes, their statement disingenuously presumes that all of the construction and road work has been completed and that only the resulting traffic problems need to be addressed.

There is an ongoing attempt to put the cart before the horse.

Also of note at the meeting was a new proposal to take the eastern portion of the Midway Plaisance – land that the Obama Foundation previously hoped to use for a parking garage – for use as “replacement” land for one of the baseball diamonds to be displaced as a result of the presidential center sitting in Jackson Park. This proposal could result in a net loss of park space unless the city fully meets its commitment to give the Chicago Park District new open green space equal to that taken for the presidential center.

We hope that the haste with which the city and the Obama Foundation are pursuing their objectives does not result in mistakes that ultimately will slow the entire project down.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid

Jackson Park Watch

Trump’s Easter insult

You really could not capture a more crystalline moment of cluelessness as to what Christianity is all about than President Donald Trump’s racist comment, as he left church on Easter Sunday, concerning DACA and people supposedly wanting to game the system. Jesus was a refugee at one point of his life and a poor person his entire life. All Christians are called to protect the poor and serve the refugee. Trump’s statement is an insult to all Christians.

Edward David Juillard, West Beverly

Warrior Ramblers

Hold your heads high Loyola Ramblers. You were Warriors!

Mike Rice, Jefferson Park

Where were the principals?

As a union member for 44 years, I am elated that such a great paper stands with the working men and women of Chicago and the metropolitan area, however your editorial on the deplorable conditions in Chicago’s public schools misses one obvious point. Why didn’t one principal or teacher stand up for these kids and invite reporters in? Take pictures?

Bill Murphy Mt. Greenwood

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