Barack Obama did a great job as president and deserves a great presidential center, but Jackson Park is not the best location. Other sites would be far better. And the president would be demonstrating a commitment to the environment, to free and accessible parks, and to historic preservation.
Consider what Chicago has lost before, prior to a greater appreciation of architectural preservation. The book “Lost Chicago” offers a partial account. Relics of these lost buildings are now on display at the Art Institute. The loss was tragic and avoidable. Even Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Hyde Park once faced the threat of demolition.
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Are we not committing the same mistake again? Jackson Park is the work of the fame landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. It is a sister park to Olmsted’s Central Park in New York. How does historic landscape design differ from historic architectural design? Does it not get protected?
How would a 22-story building in the middle of Jackson Park “honor” the former president? Wouldn’t building the Obama Center elsewhere in the city afford the same honor?
I’m also disappointed that there is no community benefits agreement for the Obama Center. I fear it will become a force for gentrification.
I suggest that the Obama Presidential Center be moved across the street, west of Stony Island.
Ross Petersen, Lincoln Park
Our most brutal sport: politics
The baseball season has silently crept up on us, even as March Madness approaches its conclusion. But is there really any doubt that the hottest sport in this country is politics?
While boxing and football are forever attacked as too violent, there is nothing to compare to the brutality of politicians squaring off against each other in public. Besides having no brackets and no betting, the biggest difference between politics and recognized sport is that there are no winners — there is only an erosion of the competitive spirit in us all.
Instead of feeling exhilarated watching two great teams go head-to-head, we are left to feel embarrassed that we are card-carrying members of either side.
What a sad commentary on today’s political scene that we long for the gentility of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.
Bob Ory, Elgin