Three ideas for an Obama Center redesign that enhances historic Jackson Park

First, preserve the iconic Frederick Law Olmsted design by keeping open Cornell Drive and its connection to Midway Plaisance,

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The OPC from the South West, showing how the Museum Building, Forum Building, and Library Building will surround a public plaza. The Center is oriented to the neighborhood just west across Stony Island Avenue and extends a welcome to the community, inviting all to come learn, exchange ideas and stories, and play. | Obama Presidential Center

The OPC from the southwest, showing how the Museum Building, Forum Building, and Library Building surrounding a public plaza.

We appreciate your assessment that caution is warranted as plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park move forward.You call for thoughtful and well-designed responses shaped by public input and note that “Anything less could lead to a design that spoils this jewel of a park rather than enhances it.”

In that spirit, we offer three suggestions for modifications of the current design, which we note was established by mayoral fiat rather than developed through constructive public discussion and which would have severe adverse effects on the historic park, according the ongoing federal reviews.

First, preserve the iconic Frederick Law Olmsted design for circulation in the park.Keep open Cornell Drive and its connection with the Midway Plaisance, but narrow and calm them as true park drives.This would re-situate the OPC on the site that was originally offered to the Obama Foundation after public discussion and was approved in the 2015 ordinance.

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Second, right-size the museum tower to make it compatible and harmonious with the Museum of Science and Industry and the overall cultural landscape.

Third, provide replacement public parkland in Woodlawn and South Shore equivalent to the 19-20 acres that will be controlled by the Obama Foundation for the next 99 years.Space under the control of a private entity isnotthe same as public parkland.

With these three modifications, the plans for the OPC could be a net positive both for Jackson Park and for the South Side communities that see the OPC as an economic catalyst.Let us all opt forboth/andrather thaneither/or.

Brenda Nelms & Margaret Schmid, co-presidents, Jackson Park Watch

Thanks to our pro-life president

What a juxtaposition we saw from Washington, D.C. The first sitting president to address, in person, a very large, orderly March for Life eventvs. a monotonous, meaningless sham show put on by the pro-abortion, anti-Trump Democrats who have nothing better to do. Along with millions of other pro-lifers in the U.S., I say, “Thank you, and God bless you, Donald Trump, for being bold, forthright and supportive ofthe God-given rights of the unborn.”

Allen Klay, Wheaton

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