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Turning South Shore Golf Course into a luxury course would be a shameless move

Instead of investing millions to subsidize a playground for the privileged, why not make this Chicago Park District gem into a more robust center for our neighborhood’s kids?

A photo taken Wednesday and posted on Twitter of the South Shore Nature Sanctuary that Ald. Leslie Hairston claimed was “all dead.” The nature area would be sacrificed in the proposed merger of the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses. 
Susannah Ribstein/Twitter

Should I yell at the little kids playing ball in the middle of the street in front of my house?

I’m worried they could get hit by a car, but where should they go to play?

Across the street is the green expanse of the South Shore Golf Course. This site on Chicago’s far south lakefront belongs to all Chicagoans, as Park District property.

There’s a plan afoot to spend tens of millions in tax dollars to help transform it into a luxury golf course catering to big events and PGA tournaments (“EDITORIAL: Bold proposal for South Side golf course still hooking and slicing” — Aug. 16).

This shameless move to repurpose public property does nothing for these kids or our neighborhood’s families.

There’s no benefit to our working-class community, certainly not jobs or economic development. No doubt there are millions to be made by PGA corporate sponsors, but those millions will go to investors far away.

How would such a golf course be a catalyst for economic development?

Can you picture jet-set golfers and their followers picking up some potato chip cookies at a bakery on 71st Street, or doing their back-to-school shopping at a store down the block?

No, they will limousine in and limousine out. Our children, as teens, will have jobs that are limited to being the occasional parking lot attendant. I envision a no-man’s land, with a golf course surrounded by parking lots, like the United Center, which only comes to life during sports events.

The plan’s millionaire promoters have a clever public relations campaign going, to sell the idea by linking it to the popular Obama Library proposal.

Instead of investing millions to subsidize a playground for the privileged, why not invest and make this park district gem into a more robust center for our neighborhood’s kids?

I’m a 40-year South Shore resident and visit the beautiful nature preserve almost every day in every season. Preserving that slice of heaven is only one reason to take the golf course plan out of play.

Roberta Wood, South Shore

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Vaping is not harmless

The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a recent alert about several cases of “severe respiratory illness among individuals who have a recent history of vaping.”

The patients in question were young — between 15 and 27 — and most required hospitalization, with symptoms including “progressive respiratory compromise,” fever, chest pain and nausea. All reported vaping in the weeks to months prior to their illness. One person has died.

These cases of severe respiratory illness are troubling but not surprising.

Who would have thought it might not be safe to regularly vaporize and inhale a mix of chemicals that might include propylene glycol, nicotine, glycerin and any number of other additives, for no good reason?

Of course, some will say, “Vaping is still less harmful than smoking!”

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Allow me to suggest, then, that “less harmful than smoking” is a poor standard for healthy behaviors.

Smoking is bad for you, and if you smoke, you should quit. Anecdotally, some smokers seem to have found it easier to quit by switching to e-cigarettes, then quitting altogether.

But anyone who thinks vaping is harmless is fooling themselves.

I lost both my parents to lung cancer. This is personal for me.

Anyone who is addicted to nicotine — in any form — should make quitting their top priority. You will be healthier, wealthier and almost certainly happier as a result.

Paul E. Pedersen, MD, president, Illinois State Medical Society