Douglass Park music festivals cause noise, traffic problems for nearby hospitals

Public parks provide respite for city dwellers from the congestion and pollution of the city. Hospitals care for the ill and injured. Neither purpose is served by the intrusion of private mega-festivals.

Thousands of people attend Riot Fest, one of the mega-festivals that the community around Douglass Park have complained about. This photo is from Sept. 18, 2022.

Thousands of people attend Riot Fest, one of the mega-festivals that the community around Douglass Park have complained about. This photo is from Sept. 18, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Time

“And then there is the noise,” writes Dr. Ronald Meyer in a recent op-ed regarding the Northwestern plan to rebuild Ryan Field. His concern is how the large concerts will affect Evanston Hospital, “just 2,000 feet away from the proposed arena.”

Here in Douglass Park, two (two!) hospitals stand across the street (about 35 feet) from where mega-festivals have been held every summer for eight years, in spite of increasing community opposition. Meyer vividly describes the experience of staff and patients during fraught medical situations as noise interferes with communication, concentration and ability to function.

“Think of the patients,” Meyer admonishes. So true!

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Also, please think of the medical staff at all levels, as well as the emergency medical technicians and ambulance drivers. Douglass Park, one of the city’s great parks, is in a residential community that otherwise lacks recreational opportunities for youth, and public open spaces with trees and natural habitat that are well known to be essential to physical and mental health.

Public parks were designed to provide a respite for city dwellers from the congestion and pollution of the city environment. Hospitals are intended for the treatment and care of the ill and injured. Neither purpose is served by the intrusion of private mega-festivals that block people from entering their park and create disturbance and disruption to the hospitals.

Around Douglass Park, ambulances going to Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Anthony Hospital have been delayed and rerouted during the festivals. Meyer is sounding the alarm about an anticipated situation in Evanston that already exists here in Lawndale: all the evils he predicts (and more!) regarding Evanston Hospital and Ryan Field have been experienced here for years.

These private, for-profit mega-festivals bring an insignificant financial benefit to the park district and to the city, while endangering lives and preventing the public use of public land. Please — “think of the patients” — and think of the community — and think less about how to make money from public space.

Rebecca Wolfram, Lawndale

Case of 10-year-old who fired gun at cops shows need to enforce gun laws

Happily, the 10-year-old (who fired a gun at Chicago police) was OK. But my question is, why wasn’t the mother arrested and charged? Was the gun even legal? Did she have a FOID card?

If, as the article states, it was in her purse, did she have a license to carry? Why wasn’t she charged with child endangerment, or failure to secure a firearm?

We have gun laws galore, but they are worthless unless they are strictly enforced. The way existing gun laws are enforced by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is ludicrous, but uninformed people scream for more laws. Hold people accountable and publicize the jail terms or fines so others may think twice before breaking them. It’s a shame people arrested for gun crimes are back on the street before police finish the paperwork.

M.J. Smith, Oak Lawn

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