Hot Topics and Community Issues- HOME
in Hyde Park-Kenwood and of concern to Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference

60 Years celebrated in 2009
A 501c3 nonprofit organization
Presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, a Chicago neighborhood association since 1949,
and Hyde Park's premier website hydepark.org. Writer Gary Ossewaarde
We work toward an attractive, secure, diverse, caring, and participatory, connected community.
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Home. Site Contents by subject.
To Reports from HPKCC Anniversary Forum Feb. 2009 "Hyde Park: Challenging the Next 10 Years.

See draft-for-comment for organized community response to crime September 2015 (from public mtgs, by James Bloom)
Other alerts

Fair/equitable policing- UC Police
Trauma Center on the South Side- Dec. 2015 annt of own Class I TC on campus, new emergency room with integrated burn etc care, expanded inpatient beds and cancer hospital.
Approved by Ill Commission May 10
Obama Library In page by itself- FULL STORY
Army Corp Project in Jackson Park in page by itself
Affordable housing opps alerts
Dyett- see in Schools Committee page
Modern Metra Coalition, sends HPKCC endorsed letter to media, legislators/office holders (supported, has HPKCC liaison).
Metra page. Letter.
55TH STREETSCAPE PLAN. http://chicagocompletestreets.org/portfolio/55th-street-streetscape-master-plan-draft/

Fact: Kenwood's concerns focus on its HVAC and maintenance, which are promised redress this summer in meetings with CPS. False- that Kenwood failed water tests for lead, that MS can be transmitted through drinking water

Major schedule shift is proposed for Metra Electric, providing the often-asked 20 minute or greater frequency midday between downtown and Hyde Park and to Pullman-111th via the mainline, and reduction of the early morning train gap. These new trains-- SHIFTED FROM allegedly-underutilzed MID-DAY SOUTH CHICAGO AND BLUE ISLAND TRAINS would serve all three of the main stations in Hyde Park, but it is unknown whether and which flag stops would remain. It adds a part of what is asked (not CTA transferability or common card, and not a shift to CTA) but weakens service to parts of the South Side. (Blue Island Saturday service would be eliminated altogether.) Ridership to sHyde Park has been going up, but the branches down. It would answer a demand for service to the coming Obama Center and new UC facilities and Pullman National Monument.

4 public meetings/hearings were held about proposed Metra schedule changes that would move most non rush (early am, midday, and late evening) trains from South Chicago and Blue Island branches to the Main Line through Hyde Park to 111th Pullman, stopping 3 stops for HP - 51st, 55th, 59th 20 minutes apart in daytime.

Release by Metra on August 16 said that in response to feedback and consideration, the following changes are made in the new schedule that goes into effect September 11 (see metrarail.com for schedule). Blue Island- cuts Saturday trains from 9 to 4 instead of to 0. Says these are the least used
South Shore. Cuts 8 trains (says these are least used), adjusts early morning and late evening trains to cut gaps and fit riders need to transfer.
63rd St. flag stop- adds 5 flag stops for Mt. Carmel (and presumably eventual Obama Center)

2016 Neighborhood Enhancement Grants (Beautification Grants) announced July 6, 2016 by South East Chicago Commission and partners Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and Hyde Park Bank (A Wintrust Community Bank).
Read Release.

FIND IT AT "HOME" or by typing in http://www.hydepark.org (without extension) from the outside.
(We want the general visitor to see it first.)
YOU ARE IN HYDE PARK RECORD, THE REST OF THE SITE, mostly about the neighborhood and its hot topics from HPKCC's perspective. ALL THE INTERNAL PAGES ARE ADDRESSED http://www.hydepark.org/(extension) EXCEPT FOR HYDE PARK RECORD'S HOMEPAGE with its important links, WHICH YOU WILL HAVE TO ACCESS BY CLICKING HERE OR TYPING http://www.hydeparkrecord.org.

SECC ANNOUNCED THE 2017 NEIGHBORHOOD ENHANCEMENT GRANTS. HPKC is one of the contributing partners and reps particiapted in the selection.

From announcement by Diane Burnham of SECC:

CHICAGO (July 2017) - The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) announced the eight winners of the 2017 Neighborhood Enhancement Grants. This year, to fund the grants, the SECC received a special dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Elizabeth Louise "Betty Lou" Smith Fund, and established partnerships with the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC), Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), and the Hyde Park Bank, a Wintrust Bank.

The recipients of the grants will further the program’s goal of creating high-impact neighborhood beautification projects, as community schools, religious congregations, community organizations, park advisory councils, and block groups have done since the inception of the Neighborhood Enhancement Grant in 1999.

"This is one of many ways the SECC and our partners commit to improving the quality of life in our five footprint neighborhoods, and we could not be more pleased with the response from the community. We received 26 applications–up from 15 in 2016–for this year's Neighborhood Enhancement Grant program, so there is clearly a need and enthusiasm for community beautification projects," said Wendy Walker Williams, SECC Executive Director.

The grant selection committee, comprised of community members from the five footprint neighborhoods, selected the following community groups for the strength of their proposals and the breadth of potential impact:

Bixler Park Advisory Council: A placemaking project that will install two permanent chess tables with seating in a vacant space just south of the Bixler playlot, near 56th Street and South Kenwood Avenue, providing a much-needed table area for families and chess enthusiasts. (Hyde Park)

The Brickyard Garden: A NeighborSpace Garden, this project consists of a second raised garden bed for floral and vegetables near 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue to provide free produce to the surrounding community. (Woodlawn).

Friends of 51st Street: The 51st Street and Calumet Avenue Mural Project will contribute to the revitalization of 51st Street with inspiring and colorful mural art to attract businesses and residents to the historic Washington Park community. (Washington Park)

HelloBaby: The play center HelloBaby, which opens on July 10, will install seven flower planters in front of the business strip at 61st Street and St. Lawrence Avenue. This project has sparked the property owner to revitalize the surrounding storefronts located on this corridor. (Woodlawn)

Midway Plaisance Advisory Council: In a high traffic area once considered unsafe, this project will plant of 200 flower bulbs on east and west sides of the Metra train tracks between 59th and 60th Streets to beautify this east end of the historic Midway. (Hyde Park/Woodlawn)

Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC): Nestled away in the Oakland and Kenwood communities, and often used by local daycares and small businesses, Park 43, is a project that will install new plantings, repair a broken fence, remove overgrown weeds, and paint two benches. Park 43 is located at 43rd Street and Forrestville Avenue. (Oakland/Kenwood)

Urban Juncture: "Green Boxville," located at 51st Street and the CTA Green Line, is Chicago’s first street food market and container mall. The grant will support installation of two rooftop gardens on top of the shipping containers, demonstrating non-traditional ways to garden and introduce greenery to the community. (Washington Park)
William Hill Garden/Gallery: Once just an idea, the Woodlawn Botanical Nature Center is coming to life with native and botanical planting, fresh landscaping, and raised garden beds. The Woodlawn Botanical Nature Center is located at Hyde Park Academy High School, at 62nd Street and Stony Island Avenue. (Woodlawn)

"With so many amazing projects, it was not an easy task to select the final slate. The grant selection committee was truly inspired by the passion and dedication that all of the applicants bring to their communities. The impact and focus on long-term sustainable projects was prevalent in all of the proposals" stated Diane Burnham, Senior Program Manager at the SECC, who directly manages the grant program and selection process.

St. Gelasius/Shine of Christ the King

UPDATE: (Feb. 28 2016) Good News- The Shrine of Christ the King at 64th and Kimbark will be rebuilt. The deed is being given to the Institute by the Archdiocese. Nearly a million of needed $6 M has been raised; the Institute must raise the rest. Engineers have been hired. Stabilization will be first priority.

Update January 9 2016. Last October, the building suffered a serious fire. Since then the archdiocese has obtained a demo permit, saying it cannot afford to rebuild, and the city has said it must do something to ensure the public safety.

According to Jack Spicer, The [Landmarks Commission] hearing room Jan 7 2016 was packed with people who came to support St Gelasius. People from the congregation and from the surrounding community testified to the importance to them of the historic church building. The people asked the Commissioners merely for more time to find a way to save the building.

The Commission replied that all it could do was insist that the owner, the Archdiocese of Chicago, protect the public from potential danger as a result of the recent fire. The Archdiocese can choose how to do that -- rebuild, stabilize, or demolish; but it must do something. The Archdiocese claims it cannot afford to rebuild or even stabilize, and has obtained a demolition permit. They could begin demolition at any moment.

The people asked the commissioners to use their influence to encourage the Archdiocese to give the congregation and the community more time to save their church. If you would like to add your voice to those who are asking the Archdiocese for more time, please go to this website:


HPKCC with most other southeast and citywide transportation-interested organizations, December 2015 released a letter calling for Metra Southside Improvements. See letter and signatories. The HPKCC Board passed the Resolution at its November 2015 meeting. In January HPKCC joined the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric.

DYETT SCHOOL. Updates and background in the Schools homepage. September 19 (happened 18th?) The Coalition announced that the 30 have ended their hunger strike. They continue to insist on their demands. (ed. One hopes that with the hot-button suspended CPS and Ald. Burns, who asserted in his newsletter and the Herald that basically the problem is that KOCO wants to control the school and get contract work there), will engage in a dialogue for the best and truly open-enrollment neighborhood school. Also that CPS can somehow roll back the arrogant way it threw out the proposals and imposed a plan, perhaps now that Tim Cawley has resigned?)

HPKCC is a cosponsor of a project interviewing and videotaping youth in Woodlawn on their lives and experiences with policing. Here is a u-tube link from Gab Piemonte to part of the footage:

Sadly, Christ the King Shrine (64th and Woodlawn) church was heavily damaged by fire (unsuspicious) October 6 2015. Whether and how much will have to be demolished was as yet undetermined. A week or so before a historic home in the Kenwood District at 4819 S. Kimbark, also undergoing renovation work, was heavily damaged and perhaps destroyed by fire.
Many persons and organizations including HPHS fought to save from demolition by the Archdiocese this former St. Gelasius/St. Clara church and have it landmarked and reused religiously.

HPKCC, with CECD and the Southeast Coalition testified at the Metra board meeting July 22 2015 to push for a real seamless transfer system, as in the intent of the 2011. Read background, testimony and results, and media articles in Metra transferability. We believe this is an affordability and social justice issue.

Pat Wilcoxen of CECD reports this important City Hyde Park opportunity for seniors or other moderate-income persons and couples July 9, 2015. The rental office for City Hyde Park is in the 1300 block of East 53rd St. (MAC Properties).

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD) is concerned that Hyde Park/Kenwood remain a racially and economically diverse community. To do that, we must have some affordable rental housing.
We are currently looking forward to the opening of City Hyde Park (corner of 51st & Lake Park Ave.). They have begun taking applications for occupancy this Winter. There will be a total of 36 affordable studio & 1 bedroom apartments in City Hyde Park.
Half of them will be rented to 1 person households with incomes below $31,920 or 2 person households with incomes below $36,480. And the other half to households of 1 below $26,600 or 2 persons below $30,400.
This location is ideal for seniors....an air conditioned elevator building, on good public transportation routes, with shopping nearby. If someone you know is interested we would be happy to talk with them, or they can contact City Hyde Park directly. We can also talk about additional plans for other units elsewhere with up to 2 bedrooms and slightly higher income caps.
The rents for the higher income households cited above will be $736 for studio apartments and $790 for 1 bedrooms. The lower income limits above will have rents of $613 for studios and $647 for 1 bedrooms. In all cases the residents will be responsible for their own utilities including heating, cooling, cooking gas and other electric.
Pat Wilcoxen, CECD President phone: 773-643-7495 email: pwilcoxen@comcast.net.

Winners of the Oct. 2014 5th Wards Awards- Best comm org- SECC, Best New Business- The Promontory, Best Corp. Citizen- Walgreens, Most Improved School- Bret Harte; Best Local Event- Hyde Park Jazz Festival; Best Coffee- Starbucks on 71st; Best Pizza- tie between Pizza Capri and Italian Fiesta; Best Sandwich- Potbelly; Best Burger- That's a Burger.

See changes to UCPol. Dept. and accreditation standards, release of encounter and profiling info et al- in the Safety updates page. Major forum on UC Police transparency and policing, mod. Jamie Kalven- Wed, held Oct. 29- outcome and read more

Latest HPKCC board news: The April 3 2014 board meeting was largely devoted to frank discussion with University of Chicago Police Deputy Chief Gloria Graham about community concerns about policies and practices of UCPD. Also, a subcommittee was established to research retail realities in Hyde Park- rent trends, space and sustainability for small businesses etc. and concerns were considered regarding the teardown of historic graystones on Harper Avenue. A small grant was made to Dyett's senior class.
So, both the board and community members have expressed concern about the following. To reach a wider audience, members may want to write to the Herald about them:

MAC's demolition of 5110, -12, -14 S Harper,
the UofC's Police Department and it's effect on the community,
loss of small businesses on 53rd Street.

The Conference's mailing address is now 1507 E. 53rd St. #404, Chicago, IL 60715. Phone and email stay the same. Open board meetings at at Treasure Island lower level (Island Cellar), 1526 E. 55th St. 1st Thursdays at 7 pm. Book pickup for the HP Used Book Sale begins in mid-August in the box at bottom of the stairs at Treasure Island. Manager and phone number will be announced soon, meanwhile 773 288-8343.
At its June meeting the board voted a substantial grant to Hyde Park Herald's Andrew Holzman for a multi-faceted community media project.

Four organizations have been selected into the incubator program and seven as associates of the UChicago Community Programs Accelerator for 2015 (stating Nov. 15 2014). Learn about the Accelerator program at communityprograms.uchicago.edu.

The Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago has selected four South Side nonprofits to participate in the first round of its incubation program, which aims to strengthen organizations near the University’s campus. Due to high demand, the University also expanded the Accelerator initiative to assist seven additional organizations with specific projects.

The inaugural group of Accelerator organizations are CoderSpace, which teaches South Side youth how to write website code; the Dovetail Project, which teaches parenting, life and job skills to young African American fathers; Polished Pebbles, a mentoring program for teen girls; and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which spotlights South Side musicians through its annual festival of performances.

The first three organizations will receive up to $50,000 in funding support from UChicago, and all will receive professional assessments to determine their areas of need, workspace on campus for either one, two or three years, and technical assistance from the University and its partners to enhance their work in mid-South Side communities. The University sponsors the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, so it will not receive additional funding through the Accelerator.

“These four nonprofits are spearheading promising programs that are making a difference in the communities around our campus,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement. “The Community Programs Accelerator will provide access to a comprehensive set of resources, including UChicago students and campus and professional partners, that will help strengthen their organizations and expand their impact for the long-term.”

The seven organizations selected as 2014-15 Associates are Artifice, Chicago Hyde Park Village, Featherfist, KLEO, Quad Communities Development Corporation, WECAN, and the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Project. Support for associates will include needs assessments, planning and assistance from student interns working under the direction of Accelerator staff.

“The high level of interest in the Accelerator underscored the need community-based organizations have for expanded capacity and resources,” said Shaz Rasul, Director of Community Programs. “The Associates program helps meet that need while also providing valuable field experience for UChicago students interested in community work.” The University is currently seeking student interns and volunteers. Students can apply online at communityprograms.uchicago.edu.

Along with one-on-one assistance for the 11 selected organizations, the Community Programs Accelerator will offer a series of educational workshops open to any community-based nonprofit. The first workshop, “Doing Good, Writing Well,” will focus on grant writing and be held on Saturday, Nov. 15. Organizations can register through Nov. 14 to attend the workshop.

Programming for the Community Programs Accelerator will be provided through collaboration with various partners across campus, including Alumni Relations and Development, the Chicago Booth School of Business’s Social Enterprise Initiative, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the Civic Knowledge Project, Crime Lab, the Law School’s Arthur Kane Center for Clinical Legal Education, the School of Social Service Administration, UChicago Career Advancement, the University Community Service Center, and the Urban Education Lab. External partners include the DLA Piper Law Firm, the Law Project of the Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, and A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund.

The Community Programs Accelerator is one of several ways the University and its Office of Civic Engagement work with and engage nonprofit organizations and residents on critical quality of life issues. The Accelerator will begin accepting applicants for the 2015-2016 program year in summer 2015.
- See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/10/27/uchicago-selects-four-mid-south-side-nonprofits-first-year-community-programs-acc#sthash.vdRivAFr.dpuf

Affordable Housing opportunity alerts

City Hyde Park as of March 2015 has/will soon have a wait list, including for its affordable units, for City Hyde Park rental development. Please take Coalition for Equitable Community's Survey (with info on eligibility) if you might be interested in this.

Chicago passed a revised Affordable (ARO) ordinance March 18. See in Affordable Housing Information.



5th Ward Participatory budgeting results. (The process was changed for 2014 by 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston to have four committees, one each for the parts of the 4 neighborhoods in the Ward, and concentrated on streets, lighting, and sidewalks. Committees met and solicited much input and submitted their reports. Waiting on what the Alderman submitted and city approved.

Coming down at last- the wall of dead ash trees on 56th parkway, esp. east of Stony Island.

In May 2014 The U of C Civic Engagement announced Community Programs Accelerator Grants for Midsouth nonprofits. Call for proposals May 30-July 5. civicengagement.uchicago.edu.

US Rep Robin Kelly (2nd) has released a study of gun violence in America- http://robinkelly.house.gov/media-center/2014-kelly-report-gun-violence-in-america.

Hpkcc is very interested in resolution of the issues surrounding preservation of the FL Wright Blossom and MacArthur houses in Kenwood (esp. interiors) and vetting of proposals for a restoration with commercial use such as a bed & breakfast. (We hosted a public forum.) VISIT OUR HOME PAGE FOR INFORMATION. Also visit the site of a ad hoc group exploring solutions- http://www.wright4kenwood.org, where there is an online petition for those in favor of preserving. Latest: the MacArthur House was sold to a couple that will restore it. The Blossom House appears to have moved from contract to sold.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND OFFICEHOLDERS' RESPONSES (see full in School/Educ. News). HPKCC supported keeping Canter Middle School and now seeks public meeting on repurposing the building. Many groups support a coalition plan for keeping Dyett as a global leadership and green technology neighborhood school.
Aldermanic proposal is to move the Kenwood Academic Center (7-8th gr. selective enrollment) into the Canter building. This has been 2nded at a meeting of the Mayor, Schools CEO BBB and Ald. Burns. Groups such as HPKCC Schools Committee is concerned about lack of community input but supports the proposal while urging as much benefit from this as possible for all the middle schools as possible since KAC is selective enrollment while the closed school was open enrollment within neighborhood boundary.
A real brouhaha has sprung up over the Dyett future. Ald. Burns held a meeting Mon. July 28 6 pm at King Prep and the coalition to save Dyett vociferously supported the plan they had worked on for 3 years, and the meeting at times got testy. (see report in Schools.)
August 6 2014 th US Dept. of Education announced that it found a complaint filed in 20102 by KOCO and others about the conditions of and closure of Dyett as violations of civil rights laws credible enough to cause the DOE to initiate an investigation.

October 24 2014 CPS announced it would put out in December a RFP for community proposals for Dyett High School as an open enrollment neighborhood school. The program will be finalized in fall 2015 and the new school open for the year 2016-17. This represents a substantial community victory and reversal of the decision four years ago to phase out the school.

September 2015, after strong actions including a hunger strike by Coalition members and Allies, CPS announced a plan for reopening the school that rejected all three proposals but included parts of them as an arts-focused with technology lab that would be open enrolment neighborhood but also open the citywide lottery. The coalition rejected this and continued the hunger strike.

Alderman Burns writes to the public July 31 2014:

I want to thank everyone who offered their feedback and ideas at Monday night's Dyett Community Charette. We understand there are Fourth Ward residents who couldn't attend, and that others came, but didn't get the opportunity to have their input heard.

We welcome anyone who has anything further to contribute to the community planning process to send their thoughts and ideas to Teska Associates by emailing dyetthigh@gmail.com.

Teska Associates will compile all the feedback in a report to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This is an important measure for demonstrating our community's overwhelming support for a sustainable future for Dyett High School.

It's imperative that we continue to work together to show CPS and the Chicago Board of Education how important it is to keep Dyett open and to keep it as a high quality, open-enrollment public high school.

So please, send your feedback to dyetthigh@gmail.com.

The new area-wide Community Action Council for schools (HPKCC led its founding) is up and running, filling it its vision and ask positions, gathering data, reports and talks from experts including from CPS -- meets 4th Wednesdays. See Schools Committee for changing location.
In a talk at HPKCC Schools Committee recognition for principals and LSCs Dr. Charles Payne of U of C fingered a frequent lack of trust (schools, CPS both ways, teachers, parents, students) as a predictor of success or failure.

HYDE PARK HERALD- Has an expanded website, searchable and with subject departments, as of November 28 2012. It has received numerous compliments. You can search the latest issue like you can the archive, and news as it is known is also posted-- you can sign up to receive alerts as items are posted. http://www.hpherald.com. Watch for new community media features.

ALERTS- click here for dated alerts.

Where to go to find out reroutes, closures etc. MORE
http://www.cityofchicago.org/oemc. https://webapps.cityofchicago.org/NotifyChicago/
To sign up http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/oem/providrs/edu/svcs/sign_up_for_notifychicago.html.
Create account at http://www.alertchicago.org.
Red Line- from http://www.transitchicago.com.
Hyde Park Disabilities Task Force issues Walk and Roll 55th St. Survey report.
Questions about your city sticker- if you are a senior, go to the city clerk website and look for "Seniors and Special Pricing" http://www.chicityclerk.com.

NEW CAPS DISTRICT 002 BEATS- see new boundaries and meeting places/times. ALERTS

Start shorts on hot items. UCPD U of C policing Obama Library


The main Update pages on Hot Topics and Community Issues: Accessibility/Getting Around. Affordability. Development. Quality. Schools. University of Chicago
Skip to Hot Development for key portals to those subjects. PARKS PORTAL.

Find out more at the hubs or pages: (Learn about weatherization opportunities in the Affordable Housing page.)


To Hot Topics Navigator. Here: BY SUBJECT. Reports from officials. Obama Pr. Library- December updates, pres./disc. Jan 12 at JPAC
Recent news from the HPKCC board
Hot Now
What Folks are Saying

List of what's hot, ongoing, resolved and emerging...
(and which of these next update pages have their discussions:)
South Lakefront Corridor Transportation Study
5th Ward Spring 2011 Newsletter. Incl. HPKCC President on transparency i

Statement from Will Burns on the proposed closing of the 21st Police District. Page on the district merger issue
Libraries- cut more in early 2012 then partially restored! New ward maps. Woodlawn Ave PD43.
January 19 meeting and "final" changes.
City Hyde Park part of 53rd TIF becoming its own TIF (51st-Lake Park)- see City Hyde Park page.

Hot topics are often addressed at community meetings:
The TIF meets 2nd Mondays in odd months;
The Chamber often provides an opportunity for brief presentations and Q and A on hot topics at its Thursday ev. networking.

Find updates and events also in our Facebook fanpage.
There are many tips and hotline numbers in Public Safety and in Helpline.

RETAIL SURGE IS only somewhat HOT- businesses close, some hurt by Harper construction: SEE IN BUSINESS. Burgers and flicks coming to Harper Theater, Whole Foods coming to Village Center, Clarke's diner coming to 1400 block of 53rd, other new restaurants on 53rd, uptick in comics and records on 55th.
Chicago 2011 Transition Team report.

MOU BETWEEN UC AND CITY. Grove Parc rehab grant part of it. Plans for everywhere. TIF REFORM.

Shorts on hots

UC Policing
Obama Library

UC and Equitable Policing

July 27, 2016- President Zimmer annouced a major increase in the size of the UCPD and policing and security measures on campus and throughout its patrol area including 53rd St. Read the release and response by Coalition for Equitable Policing in our page on police and safety updates, scroll to under meetings and annoucements.

April 28. 2015. There was a big march from Police headquarters , down 35th, Cottage Grove. Police halted the majority at 55th and Cottage when there was a move to go to the UC campus, but a number made it down to the Midway where there was a rally regarding a trauma center, according to the Sun-Times. There was some scuffling in Bronzeville as police tried to keep the march on sidewalks, but the police soon gave up on that and the march was orderly. The officers were reported to be in regular uniform, not riot or swat gear. The rally and march were about police and African American youth and community relations and shootings and was said by the Sun-Times to be multiracial in composition and with mostly people "in their 20s".

1. December 30, 2015 the Herald reported that police body cameras will be extended by Chicago Police to the 2nd (Wentworth) District. The program is being studied as implemented by UIC Center for Research in Law and Justice.
Separately, Mayor Emanuel was announcing review and changes to crisis engagement and training for it, including but not restricted to deescalating first, especially when mental or emotional issues are known or suspected, and availability and use of tasers. More changes are expected in the short run as both the Department of Justice and Independent Review Board undertake a lengthy investigation and evaluation. This is in response to police shootings.

Also in the news last week of April 2015:
Obama Library bid sel. may be made known by the President in Chicago in mid-May. The president personally thanked the legislators who put the last bit in place for a library in a historic park.
Divvy bikes expanded dramatically in Hyde Park.
The U of C announced financial contraction and rethinking and is selling half of its graduate housing buildings and closing several satelite dorms.
As violent crime sees a small uptick (but far below levels years ago), the General Assembly moves transparency bill on UC Police Dept., which in terns moves some towards demands and announces a community advisory council. Rallies and a conference at the law school want more.
Park councils continue to form, clean up, get improvements.
There is disappointment that Wooded Island has to be closed through the summer; many are pleased to see big changes coming.
More proposals surface for Dyett; locals protest against Currie and demand Gen. Assembly pass an opt-out bill on high stakes tests.
Rep. Mitchell moves probe on KOCO over disputed grants. (The two have ongoing struggle.)

The October 31 2014 "Halloween superstorm" led to increased attention and urgency to the Point and north as well as the 45th-51st stretch and stretches near La Rabida Hospital.
Documentation of increased failure at the joint between the north end of Promontory Point and the concrete steps done a few years ago and at the east end of the Point, and possible washout on the south side of the Point are being turned over to the Park District, and discussion of other documentation is being held on http://www.everyblock.com Neighborhood Talk- East Hyde Park.

Planning continues on the Morgan Shoal (45th-51st) shoreline.. .

And work to the north of here along the Drive has drawn considerable attention-- first the removal of so many invasive trees and brush and so far partially complete replanting, the yearly cycles of native planting- mowing- spring burns, the oversized and inadequately serviced 31st marina, and now vast removals for the 35th overpass, with two more to come.

from Ald. Burns' Newsletter: Construction of the 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge has begun. Effective now, the bridge will be closed. The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2015. It includes, but is not limited to the following:

Removal of the existing pedestrian bridge
Resurfacing and improvements to 35th Street from South Cottage Grove to South Lake Park Avenue
Resurfacing and improvements on South Lake Park Avenue between 35th Street and 36th Street
Patching and reconstructing sidewalks on South Lake Park Avenue and 35th Street
Removal and reconstruction of street lighting on South Lake Park Avenue and 35th Street
Furnishing and installing roadway lighting and accent lighting on the proposed bridge structure
Construction of and landscaping for pedestrian plaza areas at the east and west approaches to the proposed bridge
Relocation of a cantilever sign on northbound, South Lake Shore Drive

read more

New Hyde Park Parking and Transportation Study- see description in Parking page. Video of the meeting, taken by Andrew Holzman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spHVldk8Q4. Visit South East Chicago Commission website- http://www.secc-chicago.org/primary-news/hyde-park-parking-and-transportation-study-released

Trolley trial coming 2014 holiday shopping season (and the Shop Locally as announced in next item). Presumably free, it is sponsored by the SSA 61 Special Tax district commission.

The trolley goes both ways on 53rd between Lake Park and a turn around west of CVS at Kimbark with a loop east to S. Hyde Park, south to 55th, west to Lake Park, north on Lake Park and west again on 53rd. Should take about 15 minutes per circuit with stops at CVS, eastbound at Blackstone, Lake Park, 55th, Cornell, S. Hyde Park and 53rd, Harper, and CVS (or so it seems on a marked map.

Fridays and Saturdays 9 am-7 pm (may change), certain Sundays- 10 am-6 pm on Nov 30 and 10 am-4 pm on Dec 21 and 28.
November 28, 29, 30, December 5, 6, December 12, 13, December 19, 20, 21, December 26, 27, 28.

The first public meeting in ten years on the lakeshore revetment stretch between 45th and 50th was held. Two more were held. This will have to have special treatment because bedrock is close. Attendees preferred a minimal approach. Some attendees denied that any armoring is necessary at this stretch. ironically, within days the Great Halloween Storm of 2014 with 20 foot waves of piled up water and debris and up to 60 mile an hour winds made its appearance, tearing up trails etc., and depositing large amounts of debris along much of the lakefront. On the South Side, The Morgan Shoal section received the brunt, including overtopping and some breakup and dispersal of the Silver Spray shipwreck. The manner of the destruction also raises some question about sufficiency of raw rubble mounds. More in Morgan home page.

Information on the shooting and death June 22 at the edge of Jackson Park 1750 E. 56th St. east of Everett is below in Alerts and in page Jackson Park News and Bulletins.

The Promontory restaurant and music venue has opened.

Great news for Shoesmith- in 2014 it shot up to Tier 1 status. 59% were at the 50th percentile on the NWEA in reading and nearly 55 in math, with 70% of the K and 1st graders exceeding state standards on DIBLES. The gain is 10% overall this year. The school stressed literacy and took ongoing looks and small-group work on students' actual work. It also stresses behavior expectation and works on this like it does on academics- peer on peer, peer on staff, and staff on staff. It's the climate. Achieving the required 95% attendance also matters. Parental involvement has also greatly increased with small-groups. Construction underway will solve ADA issues, exterior attractiveness, heating/cooling , and a new resource room for teachers and tutors. The mobile units will house the now-full-time arts program. Math is next...
August 25- get the school ready day. Sept 2 8:30 open house.
Congratulation Principal Gates and everyone.

Transportation and parking are important to our business and community and development and safety- SECC and an advisory council, funded by U of C, contracted with TY Linn to conduct a study. The findings and strategies were unveiled at the July 24 2014 TIF meeting. Next steps and actions will be worked out by SECC, meetings with the city, and public forums. Find the report and Power Point ANDGIVE IDEAS AND IMPUT ON NEXT STEPS in http://www.secc-chicago.org/primary-news/hyde-park-parking-and-transportation-study-released. This site summarizes key findings in our Parking page and Transitweb home. The findings have implications for planned and future, but action steps will have to be developed- public forum to consider these is included. Meanwhile the SSA 61 is eyeing a trolley in the business district, likely as a trial for Small Business Saturday in late November.
Another trolley trial will be between area museums that have hooked up as Museum Campus South-weekends in August 2014 11-4.

A recent issue raised, about a large increase in rail shipment of volatile crude oil (and other haz-mat and including (maybe here?) in substandard rail cars) through the Chicago area including some on Canadian National received front page coverage in the Chicago Tribune July 14 2014. The Feds are proposing phase out of the most dangerous cars but many consider both the proposal to be weak and riddled with loopholes and addressing just that issue not enough.

Reduced cost solar retrofit available. The city of Chicago has teamed up with San Francisco-based Vote Solar and Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center to speed up rooftop solar installations in Chicago through 2014 summer at 25% under market rate. Funding comes from a World Wildlife Fund grant and is contracted with the two nfp's listed above. A committee led by Vote Solar selected Juhl Renewable Energy Systems, Microgrid Solar, Ailey Solar and Kapital Electric to do the installations under financing to homeowners through Admirals Bank. Cost to the homeowner varies according to installation size but should be $3.49 per watt. REGISTER at mygroupenergy.com/solarchicago.

The park playground renovations continue in HPK. Dedicated last year were those at Stony and 56th, Bessie Coleman and more. In spring 2014 those at 56th Cornell and Harold Washington Park (the later presided over by the Mayor June 21) and completed and dedicated and at Jackson Park fieldhouse. nearly all now done and palnning ribbon cuttings

U of C Fair Policing, Chicago policing.

March 25 2016, UCPD announced it will begin having officers wear and training officers in audio and visual body cameras. See article in March 25 Herald Digest.

1. December 30, 2015 the Herald reported that police body cameras will be extended by Chicago Police to the 2nd (Wentworth) District. The program is being studied as implemented by UIC Center for Research in Law and Justice.
Separately, Mayor Emanuel was announcing review and changes to nuanced crisis engagement policy and training for it, including but not restricted to de-escalation first, especially when mental or emotional issues are known or suspected (and how to detect that), and availability (doubling to at least 1 per squad car) and use of tasers. Also a 30 day rather than 72 hour cool down of training and evaluation for officers involved in shooting. More changes are expected in the short run as both the Department of Justice and Independent Review Board undertake a lengthy investigation and evaluation.


Gabriel Piemonte gave the HPKCC board an update in August 2015 on the youth video project - watch for it to be online at the Herald in fall and for screenings later.

In the first week of May, negotiations continued, with optimism among UC, community committees, and Ald. Hairston. To be resolved include the advisory committee to UCPD. In that week;s Herald, Jamie Kalven (involved in the negotiations) published a scathing critique of the transparency legislation under review in Springfield.

At the end of April 2015 the Illinois House unanimously passed a (modified or watered down) version of the bill introduced by Rep. Currie, HB3932. Senate passage seemed certain. The bill no longer requires disclosure"in the same manner and according tot he same schedules as" governmental police and exempts certain information of a personal nature. Critics at a rally that followed passage and at a conference at the Law School said the disclosures required by the law (which the University says will go beyond what the law requires) do not go fr enough, that the review procedure that only comments on "done" decisions is inadequate, and the profiling (which the University vehemently denies), stops and other policies have to be changed, not just be verifiable.

UChicago News posted this on their website

"The University of Chicago Police Department is establishing a community advisory committee to help the department strengthen its relationship with local residents on a range of safety issues..."


Breaking news March 3, 2015: (Hyde Park Herald e-alert)

State Reps. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) and Christian Mitchell (D-26), have introduced legislation that would force the University of Chicago Police to comply with requests for records from the public, even though it is a private institution.

The Private College Campus Police Act, enacted in 1951, allows privately-owned colleges to appoint police forces with the power to make arrests and regulate traffic. The new bill , introduced in the House by Currie and co-sponsored by Mitchell, would require the universities given power under that law to release all the information public police do.

Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, all information held by a public body must be open for copying by the public unless the agency can prove it meets a narrowly defined status for exemption.

The bill comes as a boon to activists in Hyde Park who accuse the UCPD of harassing minority citizens. At a forum in October, Currie and Mitchell both said they would explore options for increasing transparency after residents who were non-white cited stories of being followed or stopped by police.

Currie and Mitchell were not immediately available for comment; a university spokesperson did not immediately return an email.


HPKCC is working with the Hyde Park Herald in an effort to document community experiences with the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). The project theme is education and empowerment of community teens:

A videographer will record six in-depth adult interviews with UCPD, state representatives, HPKCC representatives, and other community leaders.
The Herald will choose 20 teens to tell 3-minute accounts of their UCPD experiences, along with videos that educate teens about how to file police conduct reports, how to behave and talk when stopped by police, and how parents can support their teens in making their reports. Teens would do the videography and interviews as a skills-building project.

The resulting videos would be on the Herald's site for educational use by schools, community groups, etc. The HPKCC Whistlestop / Safety Committee, which is issuing the grant to fund this project, feels it is a win-win for the teens, the Conference, the Herald, the UCPD, and the community.

From Maroon article November 21. Hyde Park H.S. students to document racial profiling. By Kelly Zhang. [Editor's comments Gary Ossewaarde]

Students from Hyde Park High School wil share their stories of racial profiling in regard to the police with the help of a grant from the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC). Stemming from a community forum on the role of the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) last month, the students will work with the local newspaper, the Hyde Park Herald to record and compile anecdotes of their experiences.

Gabriel Piemonte, editor of the Herald, came up with the idea for the project and will spearhead the effort. He will work with the Kenwood Academy journalism program to teach 20 students videography and interview skills so they can interview their peers about their experiences with UCPD.

The project is an outgrowth of the ongoing discussion about the role of the UCPD in Hyde Park, especially in off-campus areas. A number of community members believe that many complaints against UCPD are not reported because of the department's current reporting system, where reports are reviewed by a designated UCPD officer*.

[* editor's notes 1. note addition of a separate official now. 2. Knowledgeable persons say many reporting wait long to report and give few specifics or documentation.]

After attending a committee forum on the role of the UCPD a few weeks ago, Piemonte thought that teh discussion lacked stories adn input form students. "No on was speaking who was under 25." "[Piemonte] said we really need to get stories from students who have actually experienced this,"George Rumsey, president of HPKCC said.

The project intends to collect students' experiences with UCPD and show that these incidents of racial profiling are underreported which will hopefully raise community awareness about the issue, particularly as it relates to high school students. it also aims to educate and empower community teenagers and give a voice to their experiences with th UCPD.

"Part of the problem is that many of the community teenagers do not feel comfortable speaking in public about [racial profiling]. They feel that they'll be targeted in the future. They do not want to identify themselves publicly," Rumsey said.

The HPKCC [ed.- technically the WhistleSTOP/safety committee with board approval] awarded a $1,500 grant to the project. $1,000 will go to the student videographers to conduct peer-to-peer interviews. $500 will go to a professional videographer to record interview[s] with UCPD officers, state representative Barbara Flynn Currie, an HPKCC member, and other community leaders who will provide background information for the project.

"[In addition] there will be added sections educating teens about when and how to file police reports, how to behave and talk when stopped by the police, and also educational materials aimed at parents about how to support their kids whenever there needs to be a report," Rumsey said.

Piemonte plans to begin the youth interviews over Thanksgiving break. He hopes to start releasing some interviews on the Hyde Park Herald's website for educational use by schools and community groups by mid-December. The HPKCC also plans to hold a community screening of the film as a fundraising event for the conference once the project is finished. [ed. "as a fundraiser" needs to be confirmed.]


Background and moving forward

October 29 2014 Community Forum. Concerns about the University of Chicago Police Department and Its Relationship with the Community. Moderated by Invisible Institute director and journalist Jamie Kalven. Experimental Station, 6100S. Blackstone.
Getting involved with the task force: uofcpolicing.com. "contact" button to communicate or join.

Concerns about the University of Chicago Police Department
and Its Relationship with the Community
Wednesday, October 29, 7:00pm Experimental Station SW Corner Blackstone and 61st Street- enter at the Blackstone Ave. door. Street parking is available.

On Wednesday, October 29, at 7:00pm, the Invisible Institute will host a public forum on the relationship of the University of Chicago Police Department to the communities it serves. Public safety is a concern to all. The Kenwood, Hyde Park, and Woodlawn neighborhoods have the benefit of being policed by the UCPD as well as the Chicago Police Department. As is the case of the CPD, community members have a range of concerns about UCPD policies, transparency, and accountability. The forum, which will be moderated by journalist Jamie Kalven, is an occasion to voice your concerns and to hear those of your neighbors. All are welcome.

The complaints were fast and furious at the well and diversely attended meeting. The action take-away appears to have been to form a smaller group, or committee, to work on articulating next steps, including demands (another says recommendations to UCPD). It seemed that Ald. Hairston charged Jamie Kalven with heading up this process and gave her aldermanic approval. Other attendees have since referenced or are asking for a follow up assembly. Aldermen and reps of Reps Currie and Mitchell (UCPD is under state law) attended. UC PD and other university representatives declined to comment at the meeting.

A TASK FORCE HAS FORMED AND MEETING- contact rumsey@aol.com if interested and for meeting dates, or "contact" at the site below.
ITS WEB-BLOG SITE IS uofcpolicing.com. (The Maroon called Nov. 14 for publicly available police records in order to achieve accountability for a private agency doing a critical public function, and that another layer to look at complaints is not enough. Others say accountability and transparency are not enough, that policies and purposes and the interface/interactions by officers need to change.)

Letter of the task force in Hyde Park Herald November 12 2014. Progress on the Policing Front

On Oct. 29, a local cross section of the South Side gathered at the Experimental Station to share their concerns about the policies and practices of the University of Chicago Police.
In light of issues raised at this public forum, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), proposed that a committee be formed, under her authority, to research those issues and make recommendations.
The undersigned are members of this committee-in-formation: the Citizens Action Committee for Fair University of Chicago Policing.
The purpose of this statement is to set forth our understanding of the agenda that emerged from the community forum.
There was substantial consensus on two points. First the UCPD is a welcome presence in the communities it covers. Second, there is widespread concern about its lack of transparency and skepticism about its procedures for holding the department and its procedures accountable.
These broad issues of transparency and accountability played through various specific concerns raised by participants in the forum, among them alleged racial profiling of Black youth, gratuitous traffic stops, mishandling of sexual assault cases, and uncivil behavior toward neighborhood residents.
The UCPD as it exists today--a substantial force policing areas far beyond the U. of C. campus--was not foreseen when the university first instituted a security force. Nor was it foreseen when enabling legislation was enacted at state and municipal levels.
The moment is thus at hand to engage some fundamental questions. By deploying its police force across a wide area of South Side, the University of Chicago, a private institution, is performing a critical public function. What forms of transparency flow from this? What forms of accountability?
We will approach these questions both as matters of law and matters of policy. We will also address other issues raised at the forum, such as training and communication with residents.
We intend to report back to the community latter this fall.
If you are interested in joining the Community, go to "Contact" at uofcpolicing.com.

Jay Ammerman
Ava Benezra
Emma LaBounty
Timika Hoffman-Zoller
Leroy O'Shield
George Rumsey
Curtise White Scott
Jacks Spicer
Brianna Tong

Meanwhile, the Herald pushed for sunshine-- transparency, reporting of records, and accountability, if necessary by changing state law and city ordinance.

The UCPD nevertheless won its 3-year accreditation in July 2014 with highest marks from the Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA). A group tha opposed the accreditation felt UCPD does not meet standards and could not tell whether real changes had been made because the policy, they say, is not public.
The accreditation, at the highest level- Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation (the first in the Midwest) - was granted nonetheless, with lots of compliments about its leadership and ability to serve its diverse community. But that requires UCPD to regularly report for evaluation analyses on several metrics showing its operations are objective and in accord with a "comprehensive, well-thought-out, uniform set of written directives that it must develop, as well as develop a strong emergency an unusual-circumstances plan.
Student groups and others have continued to complain that the UCPD does not have to disclose records, that officers profile (a problem studies show recently continue to plague policing throughout Illinois and the country despite new training and laws) and that UC students are pampered under special procedures which others cannot enjoy from a policing org. that is allowed to act as a true police force policing the public.

TRAUMA CENTER. 1- Dec. 17 2015 ann't by UC Medicine of plan to seek regulatory approval for Level I Trauma Center on campus, new expanded ER by Ctr Care & Disc. integrated into burn etc. ctr., expansion of inpatient beds. Approved by the Illinois Review Commission May 10, 2016. Opportunity to join a community advisory committee has now closed, announcement expected in October. Ground breaking by invitation September 15. Midwifery has also been restored.

For the breaking news about the new UChicago level 1 adult trauma center, please see http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/12/17/university-chicago-medicine-build-level-1-trauma-center-hyde-park-campus

UChicago plan includes a level 1 adult trauma center on its campus; new and expanded ER; and increase in hospital beds to meet community needs

December 17, 2015

UChicago Medicine has a deep ongoing commitment to serving the health care needs of the South Side. Unprecedented growth in inpatient admissions and emergency department volume has created serious capacity constraints, and as a result, medical facilities are operating at capacity. Over 50 percent of the patients who are responsible for this growth come from the South Side, reflecting the faith that UChicago's surrounding community has in the quality of care that they receive in the hospital system.

As UChicago Medicine evaluated how to continue to meet the needs of their community into the future, they received input from community partners, members and leaders. They also conducted a careful evaluation of their capacity to meet the growing health care needs of the South Side community. In addition to this internal evaluation, UChicago Medicine continued to hear from, listen to and engage with a variety of community leaders, stakeholders and residents, who helped inform their thinking on the best way to improve access to care.

In an effort to expand access, UChicago Medicine is now proposing a bold plan to invest in facilities and programs that will deepen and broaden their commitment to the community and expand their ability to provide the highest quality health care to the South Side of Chicago.

UChicago Medicine's plan includes the following:

A Level 1 adult trauma center at UChicago Medicine that will complement the existing Level 1 pediatric trauma program and the Burn and Complex Wound Center, thereby providing an integrated approach to serving the acute care needs of patients and the community at one site;
A new and expanded emergency room in close proximity to the Center for Care and Discovery;
A substantial increase in the number of inpatient beds, which will greatly expand UChicago Medicine's ability to meet the needs of the community in trauma and emergency care, as well as offering care to patients with serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease or who need complex surgical and other procedures.

In order to make this vision a reality, UChicago Medicine needs to go through a series of regulatory and approval steps:

UChicago Medicine will file a Certificate of Need application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to expand its licensed bed capacity and emergency department;
UChicago Medicine will seek approval for a Level 1 adult trauma center from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Trauma Network;
UChicago Medicine will continue to engage the community on these issues going forward;
A detailed timeline will soon be available.

The University of Chicago Medicine
950 E. 61st Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-0025 Fax (773) 702-3171

2 (not stated whether this is still going to happen in light of the Dec. 17 notice.) The University of Chicago and Mt. Sinai announced September 10 2015 that they will jointly build out and staff a Class 1 state of the art Trauma Center at Holy Cross Hospital, 68th and California, and UC will build a new, larger, more open-to-community and state of the art Emergency Room (and seemed likely to NOT withdraw its request to increase the treatment age at Comer trauma center from maximum 15 to 17 years of age- but may be superseded by new onsite adult TC). It is not yet known how much the advocacy groups for an adult trauma center at U of C, who had been relentless in strong tactics and garnered wide sympathy, will be satisfied-- the new facility will be further west (where the trauma service need is admittedly very high) than most had sought and not increase distance of travel for trauma victims along the mid to far south lakefront/southeast. Initial responses from strong allied advocates was positive, but for now teh Coalition is concentrating on holding UC to the promise to raise the age at Comer trauma to 17. See Coalition Statement.


SCHOOL CLOSINGS, MISTRUST OF CPS, TESTING ETC. CONTINUE TO ROIL. A NEW COMMUNITY ACTION COUNCIL (residents/parents, advisory to CPS with area strategic planning responsibilities) is actively looking at such matters and how all the public schools can advance and work together. One of many concerns is unfunded mandates in arts and physical education, filling the expanded day properly with also afterschool ops, the new school funding method and complaints by principals of CPS disrespect and loss of power.
In a talk at HPKCC Schools Committee recognition for principals and LSCs Dr. Charles Payne of U of C fingered a frequent lack of trust (schools, CPS both ways, teachers, parents, students) as a predictor of success or failure.

Museum of Science and Industry honored the 70th anniversary of the capture of the German submarine U-505 in the Atlantic June 4, 1944 by receiving and honoring the surviving members of the capture team and persons who served on the involved U.S. Navy vessels. Full articles were published in the June 5 2014 issues of the Sun-Times and the Tribune.

Due in part to complaints about the Harold Washington Park playlot has led HPKCC's Timika Hoffman-Zoller and others to undertake a new park advisory council- inaug. meeting July 7, 6:30 pm at Nichols fieldhouse.



THERE IS LOTS OF BUZZ ABOUT AN OBAMA LIBRARY IN THE MID-SOUTH (proposal being coordinated by U of C, among other proposals) and community benefits. There are attempts to link it to needs of healthcare and more, including a trauma center on the South Side or at U of C.
To comment for U of C's RFQ bid (which goes in June 16) and learn more including comments and suggested community benefits visit http://www.oplsouthside.org (which says nothing about sites).


By GMO. OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTRE (Library, Museum, Institute) in Jackson or Washington Park
See in its own page with more links.

OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER (Library, Museum, Institute) in Jackson or Washington Park

Jackson Selected July 2016- More

Chairman Martin Nesbitt (c/o The Vistria Group, 300 E. Randolph). Executive Director Robbin Cohen.
Vice President of Civic Engagement Michael Strautmanis (as of March 18 2016, offices have moved to Harper Court )
5235 S. Harper Court 60615, eventually with a ground floor location.) mstrautmanis@obamapresidentialfoundation.org.

Mr. Michael Strautmanis
VP for Civic Engagement, OPL
Obama Presidential Foundation
5235 S. Harper Court
Chicago, IL 60615



See architect selected.

Vice President Strautmanis introduced himself at the Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting March 14, 2016. He expects a vigorous input and an impactful result.
At the March 22 5th Ward meeting, he promised that the community will hold significant weight in upcoming dialogue and that the Presidential Center will be a community-driven institution.
“[The Obamas] want it to be a place that inspires civic engagement,” Strautmanis said. “It will tell a story of their presidency, but they also want it to be connected to the community—to be alive.” (Quote from Herald Digest.) And it will not be run by the U of C-- there are many partners besides the U of C.

Where we are now.

May 12 Obama Presidential Center (Library) News Conference - find it posted at http://www.barackobamafoundation.org.
To see the Obama's video, go to http://act.barackobamafoundation.org/obamas-message.

Return to: JPAC News and Bulletins, Jackson Park Home, hydepark.org Hot Topics Home, hydepark.org Home

Read January 12 2015 Jackson Park Advisory Council open Q and A on the Library.

Link to the downloadable draft City of Chicago Ordinance of land transfer
(Note- proposed legislation is always in a special City Clerk's office website) https://chicago.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=3452499&GUID=7CBCA487-833C-4828-B455-66C1CCD10E3F

Barack Obama Presidential Library official site. http://www.obamapresidentialfoundation.org
(University of Chicago Bid site. http://www.oplsouthside.org (The other three bids are easily found in search engines.)

Chairman Martin Nesbitt (c/o The Vistria Group, 300 E. Randolph).
Executive Director Robbin Cohen.
Director of Planning and Construction Roark Frankel.
Vice President of Civic Engagement Michael Strautmanis (as of January 2016, and offices will move then to Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Ct. 60615 and will eventually add a ground floor space.)

Some Local positions

Link to Friends of the Parks/ Hyde Park Herald poll (March 2015).

More information and links.


July 27, 2016. Jackson Park selected for the Obama Library. Formal announcement to be made next week.
Read the official Foundation Release, July 29, 2016.

According to the Chicago Tribune online, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have selected historic Jackson Park, just east of the University of Chicago, as the site for the Obama Presidential Center, a source confirmed Wednesday. A formal announcement is expected next week.

In choosing this linear stretch of green space over Washington Park, the other finalist site, the Obamas have opted for the less challenging of the two options. Both gracious South Side parks were designed by legendary 19th Century landscape designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, but the Jackson Park site is cloaked in a more powerful collection of assets.

Located near the Museum of Science and Industry, the lakefront and the eastern edge of the University of Chicago campus, the site allows for the creation of a museum campus in the heart of the park, accented by an existing lagoon, lush woods and greenery. The winding 543-acre park is an oasis on the South Side. The center would be a short hop to either Lake Shore Drive or to two Metra train stations, strong pulls for visitors.

Jackson Park's western edge along Stony Island Avenue connects with Woodlawn, an impoverished African-American neighborhood but one that is beginning to gentrify. And the Hyde Park neighborhood, just north of Woodlawn and surrounding the university, already is booming.

All these attributes give the location a leg up on the long-neglected Washington Park neighborhood.

Still, the challenge of revitalizing poor African-American neighborhoods can be overwhelming and often ends in failure—presenting the Obamas with an enormous task as they seek to position the center as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.

The hurdles would have been higher in the neighborhood near Washington Park [the Foundation felt]...


Friends of the Parks statement:

You have probably heard the unofficial news that the Obama library is coming to Jackson Park, per recent media coverage of the issue:

DNA Info
Chicago Magazine
Chicago Business
[Chicago Sun-Times]

Friends of the Parks strongly opposes the idea that parkland be used for development. Back during the period when the City was preparing its bid for the presidential library and when the President and First Lady were deciding which city to choose, Friends of the Parks repeatedly voiced our excitement about Chicago hosting the Obama Library while clearly articulating our opposition to using parkland. When the University of Chicago's bid was ultimately chosen, we again welcomed the library to Chicago while repeating our disapproval of the use of parkland. We have said over and over again that the 11 acres of vacant land--owned by the University of Chicago, the City, and the Chicago Transit authority--across the street from Washington Park are a much more appropriate site.

We are disappointed that the Obama Foundation has chosen to utilize parkland. But as that is the reality that we face, we will continue to call for minimal damage to the integrity of the historic, Frederick Law Olmstead-designed park and for the addition of green space in the area to make up for parkland that will be utilized.

Friends of the Parks will release an official statement on these issues when the formal announcement about the library's location is made by the Obama Foundation, which is rumored to be sometime next week. At that time, we will also provide more detail as to our reasons for not pursuing a lawsuit to block this project, despite our disagreement with its location in a park.

June 30, 2016. Foundation release site: http://www.barackobamafoundation.org/meet-the-architects.

June 30, 2016, The Obama Presidential Foundation announced selection of the firm of Tod Williams/Billie Tsien architects (TWBTA), in partnership with Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) (308 E. Erie, headed by South Sider Dina Griffin). Addition of Interactive, which had not been an applicant, was reportedly suggested by several of the competing design teams as a local partner. Noted was that in a diversity-challenged field, two of the three principals in the combined team are women , one Asian-American and the other African-American. Major works of Williams/Tsien are the University of Chicago Logan Center just a few blocks from the identified sites for the Library, the Barnes Foundation art museum in Philadelphia, the American Folk Art Museum in New York (torn down by MoMA), and a Highlands, NJ concrete pavilion. Williams and Tsien were awarded a National Arts award by Obama. Interactive, a qualified minority-owned firm smaller than Williams/Tsien, assisted on the Art Institute Modern Wing, the Eckhardt Center at University of Chicago, reclading of Chicago's Anti-cruelty Society, and others. Griffin is a former leader in the National Organization of Minority Architects. Dina Griffin, a native Chicagoan and Kenwood Academy graduate and her husband, who have lived in and had institutional connections in Hyde Park-Kenwood, are well known to South Siders including some members of JPAC.

Marty Nesbitt says in the Foundation release, “These two firms have a history of building spaces that tell meaningful stories—spaces that bring communities together and create experiences designed to inspire and empower people.”

Deciding factors cited for the Tsien team, architect of the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, said to have impressed the Obamas, were experience, personal chemistry with the Obamas, to whom Williams and Tsien were certainly not strangers, and sensitivity to the spirit and plans of Olmsted and Vaux. Foundation chairman Martin Nesbit, as quoted by Lynn Sweet in the Sun-Times, said "One of the things that stood out" in the Williams/Tsien proposal was the respect they showed for the Olmsted and Vaux park designs, Chicago's architectural legacy, and "the history and incredible potential of the neighboring community." Advisor and architectural critic Paul Goldberger said that the purpose at present was to choose the architect, not the design (no designs were shown at the briefing)--"The real design process begins anew, right now; it's really a blank slate." The concepts are "thoughtful, dignified, beautiful and understated." Nesbit added, "the building will have to speak for itself." The approach of each of the Obama's was said by one of the applicants to be complementary rather than identical: Barack has a strong interest in an architecturally strong, artistic building. Michelle is more concerned with the feel, flow and working of the spaces. Nesbit emphasized the latter, as quoted in the Tribune: "This building alone is not the point here, but it's what happens in the center."

The task is complex as the Center has to include the archives and library, a strongly interactive and immersive museum, programmatic space, an Institute of Civic Engagement, the foundation offices, dining, and a presidential suite-- not to mention parking/accommodation of visitors and security. Also, the Center must strongly connect with and transform the specified urban, African-American neighborhoods and have impacts throughout the entire South Side. Exactly how will the complex be welcoming and secure and respectful of park needs and heritage all at the same time and not a land-hog? How will it mesh existing community and conditions and a vision for change-- who defines these? The answers will differ between the sites.

The site selection, Jackson or Washington Park, has slipped. Any possibility of a switch to a nearby site that includes no part of a park seems to be ruled out by the offered concepts, closely honing to the requirements of each of the Olmsted parks. Selection is called "very soon" or "before the end of the year."

At the start of May 2016, the Obamas met with leading staff of the Foundation to further vet the 7 finalist architects (with each whom they had met), saying the final selection was just weeks away. Site selection wil require input from the architect as well as specialists studying economics related to the two sites.
Also, a warehouse was leased by National Archives/ General Services Administration at 2500 W. Wolf Road in Hoffman Estates to possible storage, processing, and sorting the Obama Presidential Records. Up to 120 may work at the site. Records can be released before 2022.

February 11, 2016. President Obama has approved the 5 finalist architectural firms (originally submitted) and added two firms that had not been among the submitted finalists to make up the 7. He will meet with all 7 firms twice, at the start and the end of design, according to advisor architecture critic Paul Goldenberger in an interview by Martin Pederson for Common Edge website, according to a Sun-Times story. Selection of the architect is expected in the first half of 2016, but the site may be later as the architect is expected to have a role in selection. According to Goldenberger, many of the advisors (and firms?) prefer or at least are more interested in the "nitty-gritty" Washington Park site with its "L" stop rather than that in Jackson Park.

December 21, 2015. The Foundation announced 7 finalists for architect, winnowed from about 140, of which about 100 were Chicago area. Three of the firms have or will be designing firms on Chicago's South Side and another in Chicago. Among them was the John Ronan firm from Chicago, known for among others the Poetry Foundation and on the South Side the Gary Comer Youth Center that won an AIA award and where the win by Chicago's bid was announced, and the soon to be build Innovation Center at IIT. That only one was from Chicago and did not include Chicago and Hyde Park favorite Jeanie Gang disappointed some locals, but Blair Kamin of the Tribune said this was hardly like what what happened to Chicago architecture and architects at the 1893 Worlds's Fair. The selectees are modernists (from line-and-angle style to sculptural) and it matters little these days where the firm's office is based, said Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin-- what is the "brain power" they bring to the table and the "out-of-the-box designs" through which Modernism shows it can appeal to "the masses as well as to the cognoscenti" and can be socially aware, inclusive, and contextual.

The architects will be involved in major questions involving which site and how the Center should blend with the site as well as the neighborhoods in which they are set. In the case of the latter, that they be inclusive, not mostly private-function fortresses imposed on public land and in not just engaging via top-down programs. In the case of the former, they are in iconic places that are not just public re-creational green spaces for people that are also supposed to share the city with wildlife and ecosystems but historic Olmsted parks with standards that are under constant public examination from many perspectives. For example, one would hope for a bird-friendly structure, not a glass killing field, and environmentally conscious. Having to show concepts for both sites to the Obama's as well as to the Foundation should help clarify site selection and use-- it all begins with relationship with the clients and with the site. So when and which landscape and Olmsted architects be brought in?

Four of the are based in New York, two in Europe- if one of the latter 2 are chosen, it will be the first time a presidential library is built by a non-American. Notable also is that two of the finalists have designed firms on the nearby U of C campus and one a couple miles away. Overall, the selections indicate a preference for a variety of modernist, innovative design and for very top architects. (The Obama's had input in the selection and approved the list of finalists.) The seven are to submit full proposals (responses to RFP) during the first quarter 1016 and present them to the First Couple, a process Kamin called significant and necessary-- indeed, to meet more than once. Kamin also pointed to the significance of the requirement to provide concepts for both sites, indicating the two selections (architect and site) will be done together.In the Foundation statement as quoted by the Hyde Park Herald evening digest,

"Although the RFP process is not a design competition, the RFP will require defined, visual responses from each candidate to present creative ideas in response to the foundation’s project goals,” according to a written statement from the Obama Foundation. “As the Foundation has not yet selected the specific site for the development of the OPC, the architectural firms will be asked to prepare responses for both the Jackson Park and Washington Park sites.

"The Foundation received submissions from an impressive list of architects with a range of styles, expertise, and experience,” Nesbitt said. “These finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice. We are excited to see this process moving forward because the Obama Presidential Center will be so much more than a library – this facility will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”

The selected firms are:
Adjaye Associates
of London, England (Tanzanian born) (inter National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, MCA Denver, expansion of Studio Museum of Harlem. Wall Street Journal Innovator Award. Sat with President at 2012 state dinner w. Br. PM. Has a significant, large one-man show through January 3 in the Art Institute of Chicago.),
Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York (inter alia the High Line New York, Broad Museum LA, and the soon to built Rubenstein Forum at University of Chicago. Principals were first architects to win MacArthur Genius awards),
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Paris & New York (Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, California Academy of Sciences SF, and Whitney Museum's new building (praised by Michelle Obama). Dined w. Obama at Rome dinner. Pritzker Prize winner),
John Ronan Architects of Chicago (see above),
SHoP Architects, New York (Barclays Center, Brooklyn; the Botswana Innovation Hub, Gaborone; and academic buildings at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Currently, SHoP is designing Uber’s new headquarters in San Francisco),
Snøhetta, New York, NY (National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, New York; the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt; and the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art),
Snøhetta, founded in Norway, now New York. (September 11 memorial Museum Pavilion, where Obama spoke; unusual Cultual Center in Norway ;other significant)
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York, NY (Barnes Foundation Art Museum, Philadelphia; the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago; and the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California. In 2013, the firm received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.)

So, who is vetting the architects and advising the Obamas and who is giving?
According to news reports and releases, there is a Design Advisory Team, some of (Eychaner especially) whom helped winnow the 140 from whom the 7 finalists were selected. It was not said how decisive the team will be, but they will not "vote" for an architect. the team has visited both the Jackson Park and Washington Park sites and met with all seven finalist teams (as will the first couple). Apparently there are now plans to let the public see and possibly weigh in on the designs the teams come up with.

According to foundation spokespersons and statements, quoted by Lynn Sweet in the Sun-Times, background criteria and expectation includes: "The foundation worked closely with a group of talented and experiencee advisors trusted by the president and first lady and evaluated over 140 Responses to the RFQ released in August. Based upon highly selective criteria identified by experts in design and architecture, the foundation and its advisers presented their recommendations to the president and first lady. All of the selected firms have a position of eminence within the architecture profession and have achieved some degree of public recognition. "
Bid documents stress that the structure reflect, for example, "a spirit of optimism and hope" and in the emotions it evokes resonates with both the communities and visitors "reflection, exploration, learning and conversation."

The Design Advisory team (about 10) includes
Don Gummer (sculptor in steel, stone, bronze and marble who is also married to actress Meryl Streep, whom the president greatly admires),
Ed Schlossberg (who heads design firm ESI, was appointed by Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and is also married to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy),
Fred Eychaner (Chicago radio station owner and board chair of Newsweb and Democratic and Obama Foundation ($500,000 to 1 M) donor who had his Chicago home designed by Pritzker-winning architect Tadao Ando and whose Alphawood Foundation among its many other good works pledged $10M to restoration of FL Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park);
Bob Clark (CEO of Clayco Chicago building firm, appointed by Obama to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House);
Theaster Gates (artist and sculptor, U of C visual arts prof. and administrator and Rebuild Foundation that has transformed and repurposed many structures for arts and public life purposes);
Christine Forester (architect whose firm declares it is "at the intersection of business, marketing and design," a very early donor to Obama and appointed to the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities);
Margaret Russell (editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest and a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts);
Michael Smith (interior designer who redecorated the White House for the residence for the Obamas and appointed to the Committee for teh Preservation of the White House);
Kathryn Chenault (attorney and wife of Kenneth Chenault, chair and CEO of American Express. Mr. Chenault is on the Council on Jobs and competitiveness and Smithsonian Institutions's Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture);
Oprah Winfrey (possibly less formally? Donated to and is heavily involved in the National Museum of African American History and Culture)

Who is funding and in charge; financial reports. Meanwhile, the Foundation has slowed to a crawl its fundraising until the President is our office. it was also slapped by Lynn Sweet in the Sun-Times for its lack of transparency and promptness in reporting donations (using the quarterly foundation and only in big brackets rather than amounts, and unclear identities, vs. the Obama campaign-derived legacy foundation, Organizing for Action-- The Obama Foundation last, more detailed 990 for 2014 was filed in May 2015). Raised in 2014 was $5.4M and 2015 $2.4. Two new donors were in half to one million range, Scott Miller with Tim Gill (Quark and Gill Foundations) and Ian Simmons (ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund, married to Liesel Pritzker). The Joyce Foundation paid more of its 2014 $1 M pledge. Other new donors gave between $200 and $100,000--Nicholas Alexos, Alison and John Shulman, Sheila Anderson, and the Lawrence Z. and Jacqueline A. Stern Foundation. Past donors according to IRS filings have been mainly Chicago and New York investors who gave heavily to the Obama campaigns. Another 2014 pair of donors were Tom and Sonya Campion (Zumiez Clothing) of Seattle, $500,000.

Major donors reported for first quarter of 2016- the Lucas family (Star Wars) between $500 K and $1 M. John W. Rogers and Victoria Rogers- $250 K to $1 M. Robert C. Clark (Clayco) $100K-250K. Steve and Lisa Gerber in the $200 to $100K category. Additional: Scott Miller and Tim gill with Gill Foundation $500K-1M and Sheila Anderson $200-$100K.

April 22 2016- According to the Sun-Times, three more major donors were added to the board of the Foundation, growing it from 7 to 10. (The foundation had dinner with the Obamas April 1.) Two of these, Michael Sacks and John Rogers, Jr. are tasked with figuring how the library is to fit into the "civic fabric" of Chicago. For example, Michelle Obama is thinking of ways to keep initiatives such as "Let's Move" alive, including through the Library ("the new platform" as Michelle said at a meeting with kids. As of late April, the Obamas have met with all 7 architects. The new board members: John Rogers, Jr. (Ariel Investments; Rogers and daughter Victoria have given between $50,00 and $500,000.) Michael Sacks (GCM Grosvenor, vice chair of World Business Chicago, vice chair of th Mayor's Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. Sacks and wife Cari have given between $500,000 and $1M.) Robert Wolf (founder and CEO fo 32 Advisors in New York and chair of Measure-Drone ; he and his wife have given between $100,000 and $250,000.)

2015 donors were included in the May 2016 2015 tax filing. According to the Chicago Sun=Times (inclu9ding Lynn Sweet) and Tribune. Tax filings have more info than the nonprofit donations filings, in which donors are put into very large dollar buckets. In short, 6 major donors, individual and foundations, were recorded (Some donated in 2014 year also.)
Gill Foundation, of Colorado (Scott Miller adn Tim Gill f. of Quark. Supporter of LBGT and HIV causes)- $347,000 (in addition to $432,876 in 2014)
Sacks Family Foundation of Highland Park (Michael Sacks CEO of GCM Grosvenor Capital Management, investor in company owning Chicago Sun-times, ally of Mayor Emanuel and a new member of the Foundation's board)- 333,384 (2014 $666,666)
Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly with Marilyn and Jim Simons of New York (Gallogly- Centerbridge Partners investing, former member of Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Simons net worth $15+ B, hedge fund Renaissance Technologies)- $330,000 (2014 Strickler and Gallogly gave $340,000). Possible duplicative listing in the Tribune, or Sun-Times listing may combine two sets of donors who gave the same amount: The Simons, founders of Renaissance Technologies gave $330,000 in 2015 and $340,000 in 2014.
David and Beth Shaw of New York (David Shaw net worth $5 B, quantitative trader who founded d.E. Shaw & Co. - $250,000, also $250,00 in 2014.
ImpactAssets of Maryland (promotes investments with social, environmental and financial impact)- $250,000 (in addition to lead Ian Simmons gift of $500,000 in 2014-- Simmons' wife is Liesel Pritzker Simmons).

Total public income 2014- $5.434,877, 2015 $1.916,247 including small donations not itemized in tax returns.
2015 expenses $2.820,908 cf 2014 $1,952,254. Funds on hand $2.62 M.
Compensation: (no highly paid employees in 2014.) 2015: Robbin Cohen (ex dir) $244,838; Justin Rosenthal (strategy and operations) $131,596; Jamison Citron (external affairs) $137,500; Jonabel Russett (accounting and admin) $121,329. The board is not paid.
Main expense activity in 2015 was architectural competition, followed by researching the mission, role and programs of the Foundation and Center as well as what the first family might do after the President leaves office.

Fees. Accounting. Lynn Taliento of McKinsey firm's social sector practice. This firm is helping the Obamas shape develop long-term post White House strategy.
Legal- Law firm of Katten, Muchin, Rosenman $296,759
Marketing- Blue State Digital, New York- digital marketing; SKD Knickerbocker, D.C.- communications and marketing
Real Estate consulting- Peter Edward Arendt, Fort Worth- $150,000.

New first quarter 2016 donors were reported by the Foundation, according to Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times.
The Lucas Family Foundation (which includes Melody Hobson)- $500,000 to $1M category.
John W. Rogers and Victoria Rogers - $250,00-500,000.
Robert G. Clark (Clayco, member of the team advising on selection of architect) $100,000-250,000.
Steve and Lisa Gerber of Indiana between $2009 and $100,000.
Past donors giving additional amounts in the quarter: Scott Miller/Tim Gill/Gill Foundation $500,001-1M
and Shiela Anderson of Ocala FL $200-100,000, called a "Grass roots donor".


November 23 2015, Foundation Chair Marty Nesbitt and Executive Director Robbin Cohen announced appointment effective in January of Michael A. Strautmanis, long-time friend of frequent aide to the Obamas and in the White House including heading the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chief of staff to Valerie Jarrett, as head of Community Outreach (Vice President of Civic Engagement) and public face for the Foundation. To date the foundation's engagement, other than solicitation of comments and ideas, has been largely at second-hand. Strautmanis is a native Chicagoan who is a lawyer and has much experience in public relations and community engagement. For the past two years he has been vp of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney Co. Also announced, the headquarters of the Foundation until the Center is completed will be in the Harper Court tower at 53rd and Lake Park (University of Chicago is providing the space free of charge) starting in January, moving into ground space probably a little later as the space is built out.
This raised the question of a community benefits agreement (starting with local jobs but including real economic development and tangible institutions and programs, something that Nesbitt has said is unnecessary as the whole Center is a community benefit.
Cohen said, as quoted in the Sun-Times, "We are delighted to have Michael join the foundation, and we look forward to his leadership on how to best engage the dynamic South Side and greater Chicagoland community throughout the construction of the Obama Presidential Center and beyond."
As quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Strautmanis said, "Civic engagement has been at the center of President Obama's career in public service, from his start as a community organizer on the South Side all the way to the White House. I am honored to bring his unique and effective approach to civic and social change to the foundation's work with the vibrant community on the South Side, along with other communities across the city and beyond." Strautmanis' written statement included, "My main focus will be building meaningful pathways for citizens to engage with the foundation, strengthening connections with the vibrant communities we’re a part of on the South Side, in greater Chicago, and around the country...”

November 10 2015 Foundation Chair Martin Nesbit, in his first public address since the South Side was selected, warned the City Club of Chicago- before we open the Library, Chicago has to come together and get its house in order-- especially the South Side violence. With the emphasis that these problems are precisely what the President had in mind resolving when he chose the South Side. (The President has said repeatedly that he will be working on several interrelated issues once he leaves office including violence, race, and criminal justice and he has frequently cited the violence in his home city). Nesbitt specifically called attention to the concurrent funeral for 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee and said that we can't expect to invite the world and make the Library a first-class attraction and bring in jobs with these problems in place (a warning echoed separately by scholars and leaders evaluating Chicago's prospects as a global and global-issues think tank and foundation center). The fiscal situation for Chicago and Illinois, while not mentioned must have been the 500-pound gorilla in the room. Nesbitt has recused himself from Chicago Politics since becoming chair of the Foundation, so his words now on the city situation count.

Apparently not counting on the extensive, but criticized by many as biased and incomplete, the community engagement conducted by the University of Chicago and others of the "Bring It Home" campaign, Nesbitt emphasized that the Foundation will soon start its own process of seeking out the input and priorities of South Side residents, businesses, et al and urged them-- and the city and state to engage and "work with us as much as they can. We need local businesses to take a risk on the potential of the South Side. Most importantly we need local residents to embrace this opportunity to create a better future for our children". He said that a coordinator of civic engagement and idea-exchange will be hired by early in the next year. He stressed that the center must work with the community-- "Yes We Can," not "Yes I Can". "In the coming months, we will be talking to and collaborating with people who live here, so their perspectives and ideas are fully considered during the process," as quoted in the Sun-Times. He said, as quoted in the Tribune, "I encourage local businesses "to take a risk on the potential of the South Side" in an enterprise both local and worldwide since the the President consciously chose to place the library on the South Side, in a public park in the middle of a low-income African-American community that would benefit most from the jobs, money, and foot traffic the center will bring, and also become a destination providing experiences that can't be had anywhere else in the world. As quoted in the November 11 Tribune, Nesbitt said, "Chicago has a long and proud history of civic engagement, of harnessing the ingenuity and compassion of our citizens to solve problems in ways that no one every has before. In order to realize our vision, we have to start preparing now." He also emphasized, citing park designer F L Olmsted's principle of "the genius of a place," "We are going to be extremely mindful of our relationship with the Olmsted parks and our impact on the surrounding environment."

More specifically, Nesbitt, as quoted in the November 11 Tribune, told the City Club, "Right now, there is a funeral taking place for a 9-year-old boy who was gunned down. We can't forget that. The world is already watching. We can't invite the world to the South Side without demonstrating that we can fix our own problems. I came to ask everyone to roll up their sleeves and get involved. We are about to invite the world into our living room, so we need to get our house in order." "We are trying to build a platform that helps facilitate change across a broad array of issues. So when we think about the the most important quality for this institution to have, it is the capacity to change, the capacity to adapt to circumstances and fulfill needs where they are. As part of that, I hope we have created a mechanism that allows us to step in and have an impact on something like the issue of violence." "I encourage all of us to come together in the spirit of community to seize this opportunity to be a source of hope and inspiration (for our children)."

The Foundation will release a list of fewer than 10 architects by the end of the year who will be asked to submit proposals. Revising the timeline, siting having to vet 140 architects and with the architect now having a major impact on the site selection (and maybe vice versa), the architect and site selection are now said to be in the first half of the new year, not early in 2015.


August 26 2015.


The Obama Presidential Foundation on August 26 issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to an undisclosed number of architectural firms who may be interested in designing the Obama Presidential Center (aka Library). Jackson Park between Stony Island Avenue and Cornell Drive, 60th and 63rd is one of the two finalist sites for the Center, on the South Side of Chicago—the first Library to be built in a predominantly African American and low income urban section. It would also be the first in a truly historic park—given overview in the RFQ without comment on issues raised for or against that siting. Site selection is not expected until about the time the firm has been selected in early 2016. The firm may or may not have much input about which site. Meanwhile economists et aI are studying how to (and which site can best) create a revitalizing public/private economic engine. In an unusual, perhaps unprecedented procedure, the firms solicited (and others who wish), are invited to document their credentials, financials, samples of their work and vision, but not a design, by September 16. At least 90 percent solicited are U.S. firms, heavily weighted in favor of Chicago. The Foundation hopes to get a wide range of options and styles. Firms will then be winnowed by the first couple late in the year, into a few finalists that will be asked via RFP to submit Proposals--actually “creative ideas” according to news reports—there will not be a full-fledged design competition. Pulitzer Prize-winning N.Y. architecture critic Paul Goldberger is advising. The president and first lady will make the final selection, but how involved they will be can’t be easily predicted. The Foundation’s website specifies that the Center to include—A LOT!--community gardens, “quiet spots for reflection,” convening spaces for “activists, thinkers and leaders,” innovation labs, a “healthy dining” facility, indoor and outdoor sport and performance space. The core will have the archives, “interactive and immersive” museum with live and recorded video production, foundation offices, and a Presidential Suite—all having to be run by a multi-party collaboration. The object is to be “inspiring and empowering people to take action on the big challenges of our time.” (The city’s new mantra for destination facilities is “open, accessible, and green.”) Construction cannot begin until after President Obama leaves office and is projected to be completed 2020 or 2021 at a cost of over $500 million, almost all yet to be raised.
See more at barackobamafoundation.org, hydepark.org/parks/jpac/ObamaPLibrary.htm.
The Foundation reported Sept. 17 that 140 firms responded to the RFQ, and therefore the award of commission will be delayed, and likely also site selection, beyond early 2016. According to media, it is still unclear whether the architect selected will play a role in site selection, which would push the latter back even further. 99 firms from U.S. applied, "many" from Chicago, firms in total are from 60 cities in 25 countries. The foundation did not identify the number of firms contacted for RFQ (said to be over 3 dozen) or which firms were contacted/requested to submit RFQ's to avoid pressure on those asked, it said, and perhaps to avoid embarrassing those who were not asked but volunteered. Clearly there were a lot interested firms that were not originally asked. But and RFQ is relatively easy compared to a Proposal, and is free advertising! so one would expect some to be simply fishing. So among the heavies who acknowledges they were asked? The Chicago Sun-Times says Chicago firms Perkins + Will; Jeannie (Studio) Gang (which declines to say so); and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; New-York's Ennead Architects LLP (Clinton Library) and the MacArthur-winning Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Lincoln Center redesign an the High Line. Also London-based Adjaye Associates (thought by some to be the front-runner, National Museum of African American History and Culture). The Chicago Tribune said it identified 11 selected architects including Chicago-based Helmut John, New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Italian Renzo Piano. Adjaye (whose large exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago has just opened ) and Gang are among those that declined to say whether they were contacted by the Foundation.
The list will be reduced to 9 or 10 (depending on the source) or fewer who will be asked to respond to a as-yet-unreleased (or unprepared?) RFP and at least some present to the Obamas. The Foundation plans to release the list of finalists.

September 10, 2015 the University of Chicago appears to have gone a long ways towards dispelling opposition to its involvement by collaborating with Sinai Hospital Systems in proposing a jointly financed and run Class I adult trauma center for 68th and California, serving most of an area in deep need, and in opening to a new, larger emergency room at U of C. Persons speculated that if the Library were sited on the South Side, somehow a new trauma center would be created nearby, if only for security concerns related to Obama visits. That a trauma center is now announced for so far west of U of C could be either a hint that Washington Park is the choice, or could factor in that choice. Among remaining hostility-generating relationship issues is equitable and transparent UC policing.

Media reported starting April 30 that a decision has been made by the President and First Lady to site the Obama Presidential Center (Library, Museum and Institute) in Chicago under the University of Chicago bid. The Foundation with the Mayor made the formal announcement and released video from the First Couple May 12 at Gary Comer Youth Center. Site selection between Jackson and Washington park was said to be 6-9 months away, after selection of and evaluation by an architect. Also, it is expected that there will be a presence at Columbia University in Harlem in New York City and some satelite in Hawaii.
Lynn Sweet in the Sun-Times said favorable factors for the Chicago-UC choice include UC partnership with and plans to advance local elementary and high schools and universities, support from communities, strategy to optimize tourism and for economic development of "this historic place." Likely also: the strong connections of the first family and their friends to the South Side of Chicago and the University and that government bodies bent over backwards to secure the land and create legal presumption that the library can be built in historic parks. The site-selection process was led by Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who lives in Hawaii.
Pundits are now putting out the pros and cons and drawbacks of the two sites.

Watch for:

Selection of an architect - there is already a favorite, South African David Ayoale, and touting of other architects, particularly African American. The architect will likely be involved in evaluating the two sites, as well as others who will do through soil, water and environmental and traffic evaluation.
An article in the August 18 2015 Chicago Tribune said that the Foundation's international rfp search for an architect will start "soon." Meanwhile, the Foundation is conducting its own research and the opinions of economists and related experts as to which of the two sites is more likely to spur economic development and neighborhood revitalization impacts. Earlier reports had said there must be environmental impact studies of the site.

A lawsuit? Likely now not--Friends of the Parks issued a statement May 12 that, according to the Tribune, "urging the foundation to take all necessary steps to minimize the impact on the parkland and ensure that any construction fits with the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Washington Park and Jackson Park."

Who will run the show? Probably the Foundation will take the lead at least until the President leaves office; the Foundation will have to sign a formal contract and lease with the city. The Foundation is to work with the city and UC to set up structure for going forward including what infrastructure and transportation enhancements will be needed (very expensive with the city in financial difficulty). Also parsing National Archives rules and requirements that are quite meticulous.
Regarding UC, there is no mention of an "academic institute" or co-degree program, and both Marty Nesbit and President Zimmer made it clear the two institutions would be "good neighbors," this being a uniquely urban presidential center. The University is expected to be strongly involved in community engagement (including what is wanted for the community) and in bringing programs and resources together for revitalization. There could be some sharing of facilities abut other institutions will also be collaborating-- and it seems that the Foundation and the University agree with media urging that there needs to be a firewall and not one bending the other. (Media is also calling for the institute and library to be honest and not propagandistic or partisan in programming.)

Fundraising (UC says it will not be involved in this)-- up to 500M, including a large and sustainable endowment. In any case there are restrictions on this until the President is out of office.

What about community benefits? A geographically broadbased coalition has already drawn up draft for Benefits Agreement especially for Washington Park selection. Some groups in Woodlawn insist on the same should the choice be Jackson, but others including Rev. Brazier do not-- but put forth a set of objectives. UC Vice President Derek Douglas said he prefers an area Master Plan.

April 22, Sen. Raoul introduced a leadership fast-tracked amendatory-statute bill providing interpretation of common law public trust doctrine to the effect that the city has the right to lease land and allow construction of a presidential library or museum on public parkland even if "located on formerly submerged land" as long as the public can access the grounds "in a manner consistent with its access to other public parks." The bill promptly passed committee without dissent and then the Senate 39-13. Thursday it passed the House 94-16 and went to the Governor, who later signed it with enthusiasm. This is an 'extra chance' devised by the Mayor, Foundation, and (Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times said) a group of powerful allies and friends of the President and Mayor ready to arm-twist, since the selection of the UC bid is all but done save for the state uncertainty. The President and Foundation indicated their pleasure with the state action and personally thanked the legislative leaders and the Mayor's team. . Whether or not coincidentally, President Cassandra Francis of Friends of the Parks resigned the day before-- although FOTP emphatically said their suits and threats to sue continue. And the legislation could conceivably be voided on federal law or constitutional supersession. The mayor took the broadest view of the state bill by saying it protected all museum uses including the present museums in the parks. But it is significant that the bill upholds public access to museums and their grounds on the same basis as for parks in general and specifically requiring 52 free days a year for these two new museums.


January 12 JPAC open discussion and public comments on the Library proposal.
Some local organizations' positions.

An excellent background article on presidential library history, context for the Obama library, and analyses on benefits is in the November 2014 issue of Planning, article by Ruth Knack (past editor of the publication and immediate past president of Hyde Park Historical Society.)
https://www.planning.org/planning/2014/nov/presidentialattics.htm (Ms. Knack tells this editor she thinks non subscribers may be able to read but not download-- she is glad to furnish a link for that- contact garyossewaarde@yahoo.com.)
An excellent summary and analysis from the opposition side is provided by Charles Birnbaum of the national Cultural Heritage Foundation is in Huffington Post Jan 12? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-a-birnbaum/will-part-of-chicagos-his_b_6455036.html. HL is one of several national groups taking notice of the controversy.

Find information below the January 12 2015 JPAC meeting extended discussion and Q and A held with the UC presenters Derek Douglas and Sonya Malunda as well as the Jan 13 and 14 public hearings.

c. January 16 2015. Here is the University's perspective on the hearings and support. http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/01/15/public-hearings-reflect-deep-support-obama-presidential-library-south-side?utm_source=%2A+UChicago+News+-+All+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4041787bc9-2014-01-15-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4d15d79ba2-4041787bc9-154060717.
The University's bid website is oplsouthside.org. This site has blogs etc. on the various meetings. and support
A very negative view of the University and the proposal to use park land can be found in the Reader online by Ben Joravsky. Similar with a different slant by Phil Rosenthal in the business section of the January 21 Tribune).
A Chicago Maroon editorial January 16 called for using the UC acres northwest of 55th and King for the Library rather than parkland.
The Herald online already has two articles posted online in the January 21 issue, by Lindsey Welbers on the hearings (in addition to one on the JPAC meeting and Jan. 14 issue on background) and by Jeff Bishku-Aykul on a meeting on broader Jackson Park planning and possible projects.

Recent developments. As predicted here, the Foundation and the Obamas have postponed their selection (or announcement ) of a winning bid until after the April 7 election. March 9 the Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved the land transfer ordinance. March 11 a joint committee of City Council unanimously approved the transfer and March 18 the full City Council unanimously approved, 47-0 after Ald. Fioretti changed his vote after making a point for local hiring and make sure the facility is affordable for Chicago students. About an hour was devoted to statements, including some that preferred the West Side but would support any in Chicago. mayor Emanuel urged Friends of the Parks to become part of the "Chicago Team" rather than sue and that the city would work with them regarding parks and parkland issues.

Meanwhile, Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times elucidated emails obtained under FOIA and going back to April 2014 among the Foundation, the University and others regarding siting and parkland. They reveal several meetings between the parties, some rather urgent. They seem to show that the Foundation (or Obama's) were at least aware, if not initiators, of the use of parkland, and apparently did not raise any concern about such use except wanting to secure good title to the land. The emails including between the Park District Board President Bryan Traubert (in Washington at the time) and U of C officers about use of park land started at least as early as April, 2014.(In November Mr. Traubert recused himself from PD deliberations and negotiations about the Library.) (Exactly when the UC proposal definitely became for parkland (plus 6 acres of UC land) is unclear, but Ms. Sher in a statement of March 2016 that they began mentioning it to stakeholders "over a year ago" starting with the Community Board February 7 2014. But recollection of this party is that the University only mentioned or confirmed to outsiders that parks were proposed when directly asked in stakeholder meetings, and sometimes deflected the question. Emails indicated that both sides were aware there would be problems and opposition. Once siting was made public in the December 2014 Initial Bid, U of C officers asked whom this was coming from at least once said it was the Obama's and Foundation, which felt the library needed to be in an historic park.
c March 18 Mayor Emanuel proposed Hyde Park High School as the "primary site for school partnerships" if the Library comes to the South Side. The U of C in its emails touted urban agriculture to the Obama, according to Sweet in the Sun-Times, At that time Dyett was to be closed. Since it is to be reopened in 2016 and has a strong agricultural component and a community proposal for a green and agriculture component, perhaps if Washington Park is chosen, Dyett could be considered as another primary center.

February 11 2015 the Park District Board passed its ordinance of land transfer after over an hour of public testimony and a 45-minute closed session. The vote was unanimous except that Commissioner Koldyke was absent and President Traubert recused himself. Vice President Avis Lavelle is quoted in the Herald as saying "We don't want you to think your voice wasn't heard. Without your voices there would probably be moe inclusions in park space."
The Foundation responded with the following release: "The Foundation welcomes the action of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners which improve Chicago's bids for the Obama Presidential Center." "We appreciate the City of Chicago's efforts to develop a competitive and robust proposal and the engagement of the community and City Council in an open dialogue about the potential of a future Center. The Foundation is continuing to work with each institution to ensure we are able to make a comprehensive final recommendation to the President an first Lady."

Friends of the park sent a letter to the Obamas asking them to pick a non park site and continues to explore legal action.

Is it becoming political? It sure is. With run-off challenger Jesus Garcia issuing a strong statement February 26 opposing any placement of the library in parks and the Foundation citing its polls and seeming to insist on park siting and apparently still looking to a late March decision on bids before finding out April 7 who will be mayor! it looks like brinkmanship and muscling is the order of the day.
Chicago Forward, an Emanuel PAC, was conducting polling Feb 28 and March 1 with (to many Hyde Parkers writing in Good Neighbors) very leading questions and slamming Garcia for going against what "66% of South Siders" want. Expect more of the same from multiple sides.
The Garcia campaign issued the following statement Feb. 28/March 1- but their (Garcia's voice) robocalls have a shortened version that leaves out the reservations about it being in the park expressed in the release below.

"I have never wavered in my full support of bringing the Obama Presidential Library to Chicago. I served with the President in the Illinois Senate. I have always supported President Obama. His legacy -- and his library --belongs right here, in Chicago."

"While it is my view that the library does not have to come at the expense of public park land that has enormous historical significance for everyone in Chicago, I will support the South or West side site. As mayor, I will do everything within my power to make certain that the Obama Presidential Library is built in Chicago, and that the jobs and contracts that go with it benefit the community, as well."

Between the Jan 13-14 hearings and the Park District passage. Mayor Emanuel said the hearings show support, even if the library requires parkland. He would meet in short order with the Foundation, U of C and Park District "to come up with a consensus of what we do next" according to a Sun-Times article January 17. "I'll bring the parties together. Make sure I know what the remaining issues are and then we'll address them so that the President and his foundation can make the right decision. I want to remove any questions so that... it's an easy decision." He said it is "premature" but an ordinance would be drafted regarding transfer and what guarantees there would be on replacing parkland.
Jan. 21 the Mayor introduced an ordinance in City Council for vote March 18
(City Council skips Feb. this year for "election season"-- an open three-committee joint hearing is to be scheduled, but had not been as of January 28) which ordinance will "allow the library to be built in one of the parks"- to frame an intergovernmental agreement for the February CPkD board meeting (because the Foundation wants to pass on its recommendation for the Obama family decision in March--which will cut it close for the expected March selection of one of four bids by the Obamas even though sources to the dailies that have by implication seen draft) say it will be many months before which park and the actual site would be selected should the UC bid be selected).
Two provisions said in the Sun-Times Jan. 21 to be in the draft -- [it is] "expected that the foundation" [would use up to] five acres for the "presidential center" with the rest of the land "to remain landscaped open space"
- Tribune quote says "open space on the presidential center grounds" (which may mean the ordinance doesn't deal with whether that remaining acreage can be fenced and made off-limits to non-Presidential Center visitors-- how is "open space" defined?). Draft section that has been read to this writer explicitly says the library can only have up to 5 acres- this change was made after aldermen indicated the 20 acres was too much. So that rest will be maintained as landscaped. Caution: page 3 of the draft still says up to the c20 acres, or as much of that as the Foundation wants, but only up to 5 for the facility, the rest to be landscaped open space. SO 20 WILL BE CONVEYED, UNLESS THIS IS TO BE CHANGED WHEN IT COMES TO COMMITTEE. (Note, changes are often not incorporated in the body until the markup stage as presented to the committee or full City Council.) Alderman Hairston (pers. communication) is certain the land to be transferred and built upon is now 5, recognizing there will be much to discuss about public use and access in the re landscaped area.
LINK TO THE ORDINANCE (downloadable)-

There was a fuss when it became clear that only the up-to-five acres for the "Center" will be replaced with new parkland, however that is understandable if the land to be ceded is indeed only up to 5 acres.
The Mayor boasted and took credit for, as he and the Park District have in the past, for the hundreds of acres that have created new parks and green spaces in recent years-- and at least implied that is enough new parkland. This appeared at least to media that replacement for only the 5 acres is low-balling the value of parks (ed.- cheapening?), and the PD, which only gets one dollar for the swap. The Mayor and at least two (Will Burns and Pat Dowell) of the supporting aldermen said that is enough, but also seemed to introduce confusion about what is "open" land (let alone "free" or "clear") citing restrictions now on public use and access, so what's the difference if someone can't use the other 15 acres either- one can't do anything one wants anyway. So the concept of "open" land as well as its value is now in controversy. And apparently there is not a provision in state law or municipal code governing conditions and amounts of land trades, just that it can be done. Whether there is any provision in the Park District Code would have to be researched.


According to the Sun-Times, the Mayor/ordinance has also (a second compromise in addition to limiting the acreage) committed to "assembling a group of leaders from open space and community groups to identify nearby land (but Tribune says the draft says elsewhere in the city) that can be converted to green space to replace the green space lost [and to look fo opportunities to reinvest and restore Olmstead [sic] parks" -- the Tribune says only the 3-5 acres for the Center will be replaced to the park district-- so the ordinance will have to be read carefully (after it has already passed).. The Tribune says (quoting its unnamed source) the committee will also develop guidelines to make sure the Olmsted vision is maintained in the acres surrounding the Center as well as throughout the park: "That... is why we're creating an open space committee aimed at figuring out how to revitalize and invest in the park now that it has such a major anchor investment in it. That committee will focus on the other 15 acres and the remainder of the park"). The draft is said to spell out how the foundation, city, and Park District relationship would operate. Such agreement will very likely transfer land to the city (c. 20 acres) in whichever park is chosen, ensure reversion to the park district if the Library is not built at this or the other location or closes, provisions for respecting Olmsted design though apparently not boundaries, as well as specifics of governing land replacement and park improvements, and cost - the PD would lease the land to the city at $1 (the nom-selected park(s) land reverting to PD control) and eventually a long-term land-lease with the Foundation (involving operations by the National Archives) would be signed. Chicago Park District will take up the agreements at its February 11 board meeting, 3:30 pm, expected to be at hq at 541 N. Fairbanks 4th floor, probably with a committee meeting a bit before. Sign up to speak can be online until the Tuesday evening before or in person up to one half hour ahead of the meeting. City Council will take it up March 18.
What is the authority cited in the ordinance (according to the Tribune) for such a transfer? An Illinois law that authorizes municipalities to convey, grant or transfer real estate held by the municipality to any other municipality upon the agreement of the respective parties. Nothing seems set a guideline for how this is done-- unless CPC Code does.
What does the ordinance say is the reason for this agreement (as quoted in the Tribune): "The city wishes to demonstrate its robust commitment to brining the Presidential Center to Chicago as it would indelibly seal President Obama's close and abiding relationship to the city as well as provide a unique cultural and economic opportunity for Chicago's residents."

Unknown is when the Foundation will disclose which park the President prefers-- Commentators have suggested that having one site indicated now by the Foundation would make it easier to both frame the intergovernmental agreement, make the process more transparent, and simplify things. One source to media suggested this may not happen until fall or winter. Noted: Jackson Park sites would have to be approved by the Plan Commission because under the Lakefront Protection Ordinance (but Washington site is important enough and a "planned development" so one expects it would also go to the Commission, as well as Community Development Commission and maybe others. However, that might not happen until an agreement with the Foundation is inked-- no one has said that the intergovernmental agreement would by itself go to the Commission. Ed. comment: the Plan Commission almost always goes with what a Mayor and the aldermen - the four involved have signed letters in favor-- want.

Open space groups are opposed not only to building in the parks but to any transfer or lease to the city (understood for purpose of leasing or transfer to a third party and are considering a lawsuit (even though buildings including for special uses or groups are often approved for parks, historic or not and land is frequently traded between the park district and the city and its sub agencies-- the groups cite a slippery-slope precedent and Friends of the Parks President Frances have said no amount of land would compensate and "park positive" is off the table ). they suggest with current move to digitalization the library and archives could be smaller than in the past and easily fit in 11 acres.
Among the groups that have sent FOTP letters in opposition to the library in parks:
Preservation Chicago
Cultural Landscape Foundation
National Association of Olmsted Parks
Landmarks Illinois
Bronzeville Historical Society
Washington Park Conservancy
Chicago Maroon (UofC student newspaper)
Hyde Park Historical Society

Thinkers about park and open space and architecture and the environment have written extended pieces with suggestions-- the Ranney's Mr. Birnbaum are referenced here. February 22 Blair Kamin published in the Tribune a very thoughtful piece on options and guidelines. His first concern is to not "trample on Olmsted's park treasure: Any Obama library plans must respect historic landscapes... proceed with caution." His choice would be to have it outside a park, such as along side Washington Park. He cites the newly published Olmsted Papers--Omsted's care with details as well as the whole, his aversion to adding different structures to the parks as compromising the purpose of large urban parks.
Kamin says the right question is not can the 11 acres accommodate the Library but rather, "Is all this acreage necessary?" It should be built on an urban model that encourages access by transit, walking and biking, and no surface parking lots.
But if the insistence is on having it in a park.... it has to stress sustainability and sensitivity and not be a detracting spectacle. His ideas include:

Planning: All the Olmsted parks have benchmark design years or "templates" and have undergone framework planning over the around 16-14 years ago and there has been revisitation, starting before at least most people were thinking Library and continuing now. The park district website, chicagoparkdistrict.com, Assets section, has the framework plans and much else about the parks- see for Washington http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/assets/1/7/Washington_Park_Framework_Plan.pdf.

What about historic register and other status? One would guess the change in registry park would have to be substantial, like that to Soldier Field, or to a section such as the arboretum and the Hyde Park London-type forum in Washington Park, but not necessarily. Opposition or reservation from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which reviews projects using federal funds for the National Trust and Park Service/Dept. of Interior, is among the reasons killing the proposed substantial change to the Washington Park lagoons in 2009. But IHPA did not object to the ACE project in Jackson Park. Sam Cholke in DNAinfo.com has reached out to the overseeing agencies for guidance. According to Cholke, Karen Mudar of the National Park Service said transfer of land from CPD to the city would not trigger their intervention. But request for federal fund use permits, licenses would trigger a "Section 106 Review." This would involve notification to and review of documents and testimony by many "interested parties." A 106 review is not about stopping but mitigation of plans-- of course if the mitigations asked were considered too onerous or counter to purpose, the project might be dropped. IHPA would also be involved in any request for state funds. Rachel Liebowitz, Spokesperson for IHPA told DNA that the state would also want to conduct archeological and other reconnaissance/survey before approving a project, for example in Jackson, where the site had several Columbian Exposition buildings such as Horticultural-- it is not clear (to this editor) whether such would apply only to the chosen "5 acres" site. It should be noted again that these kinds of reviews have not stopped structures in parks, including long-term leases (free for the Art Institute at least) to private institutions for as long as they forward their original mission.

Environmental impact studies would also be required -- how deep these are varies from project to project.

Questions include- what is the purpose of a park, especially one with historic design and protection? How special does a change or building have to be to past muster and be added to cluster already there? How does the proposal enhance the park and or the visitor experience or serve immediate and larger communities? How much restriction of open access is too much? How important, historic, nature-serving or replaceable are the current uses, features or spaces? And should the Library be considered public, private, or a partnership?

What do the local elected officials say? Those who have spoken in general strongly support the library, even if it has to go in parks, and the 4 closest aldermen signed a letter to the Mayor but have not commented to press. Alderman Burns, 4th Ward, seems to spoken at the most length. He told the January 24 HPKCC aldermanic candidate forum, as heard by this writer and confirmed in the January 28 Herald, that the President will decide the what and where adn will have to explain its value to the South Side."We don't know what the President is going to do... but if he chooses Washington Park he'll have to provide a design to the community for what that library will be. He'll have to talk about how that library is going to enhance open space. There will have to be a full conversation about the commitments that will be made to improve open space on the South Side of Chicago and that's where the community's opportunity is to engage with the presidential foundation to make sure that the presidential foundation becomes a win-win if it's selected for Washington Park."
Alderman Hairston has told groups that the University was secretive and disingenuous and invited problems. She was not asked in this writer's presence whether she will oppose or vote against the ordinance of transfer.

What does the public say? The Foundation took a poll Feb . 9-16 in wards near Washington and Jackson Parks (3, 4, 5, 20), administered by Cornell Belcher's firm. 603 voters were asked, first if they supported the library on the South Side (90% for, 6% opposed), then, would they support if 20 or so acres were used in one of the parks (or similar)- opposed went up to 24%; finally they were told that if the parkland were not provided the library would not come- opposition dropped to 14%. The Foundation did not poll near any of the other bidders, where is not dispute over their siting.

A Tribune poll Friday Jan. 30 shows 62% of city residents supporting using parkland. The largest demographic supporting is 77% among African Americans. Supporters of Rahm Emanuel (supports) strongly support the library in a park, a slightly less majority of supporters of Chuy Garcia (wlho opposes) support the library in a park-- perhaps reflecting that non-Rahm supporters break towards Garcia, but a goodly majority of Fioretti's (who also opposes) supporters oppose the library in a park.
The University of Chicago also commissioned a survey in late January/February, which they say shows 80% support. The survey questions have been questioned. They can be read in the OPLSouthSide site.
BTW, according to the Tribune,
almost every demographic (except whites-majority for) is indifferent or unenthusiastic about both the Lucas Museum and the lawsuit against it (pluralities opposing the lawsuit).
Letters and comments and columns for and against continue to pour into media and social media. These range from view that the parks or park parts are underutilized or poorly kept up and well worth the cause especially since we've used parks for even private uses and structures seldom for celebrating blacks to view that these parks are specially designed and historic, that open pace should not be given up period and especially when there is long-vacant land in the area, and that the proposed spaces currently have many and diverse uses important to many-- in Jackson Park the track and field and in Washington the arboretum, public forum of especial importance to blacks and black history and the running bridle path. Also fear of spillover degradation of natural area and its experience in Jackson or playing fields an picnic and Dyett in Washington, and fear that there will be an escalation of public restriction in either-- people (especially black neighbors) feeling they and their uses are unwelcome, restricted permitting, and policing.


Updates December 31, 2014 and January 3 forward 2015-- expect further updates and discussion. The recommended sites are in Jackson Park between Stony and Cornell, 60th and 63rd (larger than most had expected) and Washington Park between King and Elsworth, 51st an 55th/Garfield- the later including 11 acres owned by U of C CTA and possibly others on the NORTH side of Garfield Blvd.

The matter was presented and discussed (no action taken) at the January 12 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting. Most of the 20 or so speakers were for the Library on the South Side but opposed or had reservations or questions about siting it in a park, particularly the historic Olmsted parks and in Washington at the arboretum, or about transfer of land in an Olmsted template from CPD to the city. Some strongly supported the library if in a park and said the Obama Library meets the bar for park appropriate. No actions were taken. The JPAC board's position was simply that "JPAC welcomes the Obama Library on the South Side of Chicago."
January 13 an evening public hearing was held at Hyde Park High School and January 14 a noon public hearing was held in Washington Park fieldhouse. Both had overflow audiences of more than 1,000. There have been differing takes in media and blogs about how well the overflow was accommodated, orderliness (moderator Avis LaVelle had to call for order several times at the Hyde Park High meeting), significance of demonstrations mostly on side issues for which the demonstrators wanted linkage, and the degree of support vs opposition. Most agree that the proponents outnumbered the latter, but many noted that large numbers were bused in by churches, schools, arms of the University and the city-- and certainly were (allowed or simply signed up first) allowed to speak first after the elected officials. Many of the opponents and some supporters recommended most or all at lest of buildings be on the 11 acres west of the park currently owned by U of C and CTA and currently on the table along with the 20 acres along the west edge of the park. . A short presentation of sites and benefits preceded by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill architect Philip Enquist.

January 5-forward 2015. The daily papers announced that Mayor Emanuel took control of the land acquisition and siting issues of the UC bid. THE CITY SET UP TWO HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK, RULED OUT SOUTH SHORE CULTURAL CENTER AS A SITE, AND PROPOSES THAT THE NEEDED LAND (particularly any needed park land, which could be over 20 acres) BE CEDED FROM THE PARK DISTRICT TO THE CITY.

January 8. After lengthy board discussion, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference affirmed its support for having the Obama Library on the South Side of Chicago; it did not offer an opinion on the siting or conditions in the U of C bid.

January 11 Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-chicago-washington-jackson-park-obama-library-south-side-perspec-0104-20150109-story.html) carried a feature by highly respected George and Vicky Ranney with 5 points for principles and compromise on the Library, largely endorsed in the Tribune's editorial that day. (Perhaps these could be recommendations to the Foundation for developing its plan.)
The p0ints
(in addition to a brief history of the historical character and footprints of the two parks and what kinds of "make-ups" would not be acceptable): 1. Minimize building in the parks and greatly reduce the amount of acreage to be used to c. 5 (observation: the 20 in effect becoming nothing more than an "in this area" For Jackson that is harder, suggested was at or near a place in the proposed site suggested by Olmsted in 1871 for an admin. bldg. For Washington the building should be outside the park.
2. Replace used land with new or reclaimed park acreage, including removal of service yards in both parks. (Observation: The Project 120 framework already designated many blocks of acreage reclaimed for traditional park uses.) The Ranney's also propose putting Cornell Dr. underground to reconnect the west edge, and library, to the lagoon natural area. (Observation-- this would difficult, expensive and possibly harmful to the natural areas and water table; suggested in the new framework is a drastic road diet and calming for Cornell Drive.) They also suggest, as do others, reopening the south entry and pavilion of the Museum to the park--which was the main entry to the Palace of Fine Arts.) (Obs.- the west is already so done, could have a walk from there around the north side of the Basin including to the South Steps MSI entry and pavilion.)
3. Convenient public access and transportation including hubs and shuttles. Place parking outside the parks or underground; if Jackson find a way to share with MSI's.
4. Exploit synergies with existing community and cultual institutions including the University and its Harris (Law, SSA...) schools.
5. Restore and revitalize the parks.


The Tribune emphasized that the designated acreage is way too large, that no acreage elsewhere would make these historic parks whole. The Tribune hopes that by the time of the hearings a way will have been found to leave the parks alone, else UIC has to be considered or other sites such as Lakeside have to be brought back. It asks, what does the President wish for his legacy-- revitalizing distressed neighborhood or grabbing priceless legacy park land?

Lynn Sweet in the Jan. 13 Sun-Times urged that an oversight board be set up with authority. She said the President favors the Washington Park site.

An excellent summary and analysis is provided by Charles Birnbaum in Huffington Post Jan 12? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-a-birnbaum/will-part-of-chicagos-his_b_6455036.html.

The U of C after these announcements says it wants 22 acres in Washington Park or 20-21 in Jackson. Washington's would be on the west edge west of Ellsworth between 55th and 51st and would go with 11 acres outside the park. Jackson's would be on the west edge west of Cornell between 60th and 63rd. In both cases the library would be expected to take up between 5 and 10 acres with the rest green space and a non-concrete promise of more parkland "nearby" than lost and park improvements. All 4 aldermen whose wards include the sites signed a letter of support qualified with need for "oversight." Ald. Burns and Dowell and the Sun-Times call for a spelled out agreement including benefits but support the move, Burns calling it a matter of equity esp. for WP neighborhood and Bronzeville, touting development for every South Side community. Ald. Hairston had not yet revealed a position. Ald. Moore was said to be very concerned about the loss of parkland and city takeover. Marty Nesbit of the Foundation tried to downplay the concerns and said that all 4 bidders were upgrading their proposals and praised UC for releasing more information and more community engagement. Sen. Durbin said the first family is concerned about the "loose ends" in Chicago. Of the park councils. Cecilia Butler of WPAC told the Sun-times she had lunch with the UC team leaders and told them of her strong opposition to the WP plan (that, inter alia would threaten the arboretum). (The main facility threatened in Jackson is the track and field paid for by NFL and Take the Field Foundation led by Park Board president Bryan Traubert and his wife Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.) Jackson PAC so far has said only that it would like see the Library on the South Side. Based on statements, Bronzeville groups support but want benefits agreements, South East Chicago Commission enthusiastically supports. Friends of the Parks has again issued a clarion call for not in parks but supporting west of Washington Park or the UIC bid.
Public opinion ahead of the hearings, as gauged in Good Neighbors block is strongly divided, with lots of cogent points made by the writers.

Further Updates December 31, 2014 and January 3 2015-- expect further updates and discussion at the UC/CPD presentation at the January 12 JPAC meeting at the fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island, 7 pm.

In the January 3 Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet reported that in response to concerns of the foundation about the UC Bid, specifically lack of progress and progress on land assembly and control and land being currently under 2ndary municipal agencies including the park district and CTA, the Mayor's Office will take charge and announce a process in the following week. Meantime, she said, the University has put the most problematic site, South Shore Cultural Center on a back burner (being lakefront and landrmarked, so likely to invite a lawsuit and opposition as well as being out of the university's area of closest convenience and interest) and is giving priority to the 55th-King area- whether that continues to include library partially in the park or some improvements/adjuncts in the west edge of the park was unsaid.

The December 31 2014 Chicago Sun-Times (Lynn Sweet) and Chicago Tribune (mmharris) and other media reported that the Foundation told the remaining Chicago bidders (UC and UIC) and the city that it has serious problems with the bids. How serious is hard to determine. The main concern with UIC's is with lots of turnover in leadership at the campus and UI and the state, concerns that are likely answered with strong letters of endorsement. That with UC seems to be more serious-- lack in the bid of a plan or assurance to have the property in hand and ready to convey. According to the articles, the Foundation wants at least that the city control the land and be in a position to commit it, if possible by the end of the first quarter of 2015 when the Obamas are supposed to select the bidder-- but that may be allowed to slip. It is also possible to read in the articles that, based on reports and Mayoral spokesmen statements which indicated ongoing meetings of foundation representatives with the city as well as the University, the Foundation would like the site to be theirs-- which the Mayoral spokesperson said is off the table-- it must remain "public"-- notice, did not say "parks." Reports say that the land being now in Park District rather than city property ready to convey (particularly Jackson and South Shore Cultural Center and part of Washington) is at the heart of the Foundation's concern-- they don't want stages of transfer and negotiation or the land belonging to a party that is not clearly the City of Chicago and think the city should have had control of the land at this stage regardless of whatever swaps are needed to ensure no loss of parkland, public access, community input etc. All parties (Foundation, city, UC...) say they are fully aware of the obstacles presented by opposition or concern to use or giving away of park land and threats of litigation, but seem to think they can get around it, but that would seem difficult in the short timeframe-- and taking longer may solidify opposition. (Friends of the parks has recently sent a letter directly to the Obamas asking them not to choose park land but rather the site west of (and to be outside) Washington Park or else choose the UIC bid.) Friends of the Parks says conveying land the park district for new parks and or improvements to the selected or other parks is unacceptable and the "the land is not the U of C's to offer" and that transfer-- calling it city land-- is not acceptable. Compounding this is that the bidder has not submitted a formal ask to the Park District (although they have been in discussions.) Park Board President Bryan Traubert (whose wife Penny Pritzker is a member of President Obama's cabinet and who with his wife is a prospective donor to the Library) recused himself in fall 2014 from dealing with or voting on the matter when it comes up, putting in charge vp Avis Lavelle, who insisted there must be community process and cannot be loss of (total?) park land.

June 23, 2014 JPAC members were surprised to see in the Chicago dailies in early June that that one of the close-in bid RFQ applicants with sites for the Obama Presidential Library, the University of Chicago, was said to propose three sites in or at parks, including Jackson, north of 63rd across from Hyde Park Career Academy between Stony Island and Cornell Dr. and one possibly spanning 67th at the shore into South Shore Cultural Center property. According to quotes and attributions in the July 2 Hyde Park Herald with UC VP Derek Douglas, the University did not propose sites but said they would like to see the library on the south side but would support what the Obama's want and work with any institutions they designated. Nevertheless, he said, the bid "suggested" three locations that it thought could benefit economically from the library, apparently the sites they say they did not propose. (Leaders of the UC bid had previously told community organizations they would not be specific but hinted a preference for the E. Garfield site west of King Dr.-- more recently that site would take a small part of Washington Park such as for a garden.) In December, the Chicago Maroon quoted University Communications officers as saying UC is exploring a collaboration with the University of Hawaii wherein the physical library would be on the South Side of Chicago with a virtual link or site in Hawaii. Final bids from the final 4 are due December 11 with Obama/foundation decision as early as January.

The University and media are now pressing for people to go the Foundation site (obamafoundation.org) and encourage selection of the South Side stating how the library would help the South Side and what the South Side could bring to the Library. Advocacy groups on the other hand are gearing up to oppose any siting on park land. It has been pointed out that libraries are complex, with lots of security and space needs. Some councils are looking at ways the Library could be leveraged for park improvements and community benefits. University and park representatives have gone to South Shore's council to gauge sentiment and are expected to come to JPAC in January. Neither Jackson Park Advisory Council nor South Shore CC AC have take votes or positions, but have had discussion at meetings (SS more-- SS wrote a letter to Supt. Kelly asking for someone to come, which they did in November).
The December 2 Chicago Maroon reports JPAC President Louise McCurry as saying the University (sr. assoc. vp Sonya Malunda) has reached out to JPAC asking for advice and agreeing to come to the January meeting. McCurry was cited as saying at the November JPAC meeting that 63rd and Stony Island was a potential site and said in a later interview with reporter Ankit Jain that that site would work logistically. [However, McCurry appeared to this writer to be referring to the area of old shops south of 63rd, not the open space to the north, although that was not clear.] The Maroon cites McCurry as saying JPAC wil not make a decision on the Library until they see more details "The thing is, we don't know yet where they're going. We'll look at the proposal carefully and see what's there. At this point, having the Obama library anywhere close to us in Hyde Park would be wonderful."
Vice President Frances Vandervoort, the Maroon said, "warned that the council would be monitoring the potential environmental consequences of the library very closely. 'We will do our best to ensure that we hold the University's feet to the fire in terms of environmental support,' she said."

MEANWHILE ALSO DECEMBER 1, FRIENDS OF THE PARKS ISSUED ITS FIRST EVER 10 MOST ENDANGERED PARKS, as reported in a Hyde Park Herald issue that hit the streets ahead of the city dailies or broad distribution of the Release. Listed #1 was the section of Burnham Park over which FOTP is suing on grounds that the site is reclaimed landfill from navigable Lake Michigan and therefore under law in reserve in the public interest. Listed as #2 is the Jackson Park site for the Obama Library, #3 South Shore Cultural Center and #4 Washington Park as sites for the Library. FOTP's and President Cassandra Francis' public statement announcing the list says that the list "includes parks and open space which are threatened or have an uncertain future due to inappropriate development, neglect, inadequate funding, damaging policies, or harmful Administration actions." "In the next 30 years, Cook County is expected to grow by almost 17 percent, adding over 850,00 residents and over 435,00 more jobs. This growth further creates the convergence of adverse forces: the demand to build in our urban open spaces versus the need of city residents and visitors to access these open areas as a respite from increasing urban density... This is why it is so important to preserve and expand our city's open natural areas. Our parks and open spaces are the 'lungs of the city' providing not only crucial quality of life benefits but also increasing the competitiveness of Chicago relative to other North American cities."FOTP makes the distinction that it enthusiastically supports the Library, including near a great park, but opposes placing it directly IN a park", Francis adding "These are historic Chicago parks and they're very intentionally planned as large open spaces. In particular when there's so much vacant land in the city and in these neighborhoods we would oppose siting in the park and would encourage the U. of C. to look at some of these alternative vacant sites and bring the energy to a neighborhood where economic development is so necessary." She suggest a high-rise building west of Washington Park. According to the Herald, University of Chicago spokesperson Jeremy Manier cited the enthusiastic support of South Siders in over 200 meetings for the library, cited benefits, and declined to comment on the FOTP list or the library in a park.

ALSO DECEMBER 2 , it was revealed in a Sun-Times article that the Park District is taking a close look at the matter of using park land for the Library. Chicago Park District. President Traubert as of the November CPD board meeting, has recused himself from discussions and votes because of his close involvement funding park improvements and his wife Penny Pritzker's involvement in the Obama Administration (where she is Secretary of Commerce) and likely because they would likely donate to the Library. Lead responsibilities, according to the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, will be taken by Commissioner Avis LaVelle. LaVelle promises to seek "public input. over giving up public park land in Chicago, no matter how worthy the cause." Sweet quotes LaVelle as telling her "It is clear there will have to be a process... There will have to be a deliberative process that allows for full discussion, and input from all stakeholders." Likewise, Susan Sher of the University told Sweet December 1 that she has talked with Superintendent Kelly and the UC intends to be "park positive." "Of course there will be a public process. But our discussions have been about restoring park lands" and making sure the "parks are more beautiful and restored." Sweet said Sher did not specify what the UC would pledge but that lost acreage would be made up-- "no decrease and hopefully an increase in park land that is accessible to the public."

Jackson Park is in a historic, Federal Registered Olmsted park, and South Shore Cultural Center is city landmarked. Many will oppose another facility. public or private on in a park, especially on on or an extension from a Lakefront that is supposed to be open and clear. JPAC has not yet considered the matter. The bids will not be released publicly by the Foundation. Whether U of C will be more specific in the actual RFP, if asked to submit one, is unclear. The U of C bid website (which says nothing about sites) is http://www.oplsouthside.org.
Friends of the Parks may host a public meeting on the future of open space and parks tba.

Proposed community benefits agreement from Washington Park neighborhood groups

1. Develop a Southside Trauma Unit by joining Cook County Provident Hospital and the University of Chicago Hospitals
2. Retention of affordable and low-income housing
3. Training programs resulting in job creation and a living wage
4. Fence in all vacant lots owned by the University of Chicago
5. No displacement of any tenants in buildings acquired by the University and give tenants an open-infinity lease
6. Help create a Solar Power Energy Incubator
7. Share community plans, stated or unstated, with community residents
8. Provide Washington Park residents the same and/or similar benefits afforded to residents in adjoining communities, i.e., Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, and Woodlawn
9. Grants for residents of Washington Park for education, i.e., kindergarten through degree programs
10. Partner with the Chicago Park District to create a ceramics program with a kiln
11. Retain the standards of the Chicago Park District and remove all signage from within Washington Park
12. Set up a construction apprentice training program, resulting in the position of journeymen
13. Support the creation of a Green Community Co-Op grocery store
14. Support the Washington Park Historical Society with the use of the historic Green Line"El"
location on Garfield Boulevard (55th Street)
15. Through legal assistance and tax workshops, inform Washington Park residents about the services (as provided to Beverly residents) for maintaining property taxes while increasing property values
16. Support the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School and keep it within the public school system and create pre-apprentice and vocational training programs
17. Proper acknowledgement of Lorado Taft, and the prominence he created for the Midway Studios
18. Identify the real estate corporations within Washington Park that are affiliated with the University of Chicago
19. Assist in creating a recycle and reuse manufacturing site near the train tracks between Perry and LaSalle Avenues
20. Support the creation of jobs from the Industrial Corridor located within the newly formed Washington Park TIF from 63rd to 67th Streets, from Prairie to the Skyway
21. Scientific examination on the ComEd electro magnetic towers on the railroad tracks east of the Dan Ryan and their harmful effects
22. Keep the Washington Park Forum in the Tree Arboretum
23. Softball stadium on the Harold Washington Common Ground

UC releases at time of RFQ (initial) submission
(see separately Chicago Tonight program June 16 20`14)- http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2014/06/16/chicago-contenders-obama-library)

Dear Community Partner,

Yesterday, the University of Chicago submitted its response to the Barack Obama Foundation’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ). This is an early step in making the case that the South Side would be an ideal location for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, and many individuals and organizations in our neighboring communities and elsewhere in the City have been an important part of this submission.

Over the past few months, many of you have met with us or other University leaders, written letters of support, or shared your ideas about the cultural,
economic, and collaborative opportunities the Obama Presidential Library could bring to the South Side of Chicago. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this historic process.

Sometime this summer, we expect the Barack Obama Foundation to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the most competitive applicants from the RFQ phase. We hope the University will be invited to participate, and we look forward to continuing to work with our community partners, the City of Chicago, elected officials, civic leaders, and cultural and educational institutions to deliver a strong proposal to bring the Library to the heart of the South Side.

We would like to keep you informed on our efforts. Visit the oplsouthside.org website to sign up to receive regular email updates.

To read the University’s announcement about our RFQ submission, [see below].


Susan S. Sher
Senior Advisor to the President at the University of Chicago

Derek R.B. Douglas
Vice President for Civic Engagement

University to submit collaborative proposal for Barack Obama Presidential Library on South Side (news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/06.15/university-submit-collaborative-proposal-barack-obama-presidential-library-south-#hash.iZ20dA.dpuf.)

Potential partners meet to discuss ideas for maximizing library’s impact
By Jeremy Manier
June 15, 2014

After months of consultation with a broad set of community and university partners, the University of Chicago will submit a proposal on June 16 to the Barack Obama Foundation in support of locating the Barack Obama Presidential Library on Chicago’s South Side.

A UChicago faculty committee that examined presidential libraries concluded last year that it would be in the interest of the University to bring such a project to the South Side. The June 16 submission will respond to the foundation’s request for qualifications, issued in March, which asked interested organizations for a range of supporting information.

Related Content
Barack Obama Presidential Library on Chicago's South Side Would be 'economic boon,' study finds
Learn more about the effort to bring the presidential library to the South Side

Building the potential for collaborations around a presidential library has been a key part of the University’s effort. In the course of dozens of meetings, community members and organizations have expressed overwhelming enthusiasm for the potential of a presidential library to make a substantial economic impact on the South Side, and to create a vital cultural destination drawing visitors from around the globe.

“We believe this could be an historic moment for the South Side,” said Susan Sher, senior advisor to President Robert J. Zimmer. Sher is coordinating the University’s activities around the presidential library project, inviting partners from across Chicago and beyond to generate ideas for how the library could make a distinctive impact on the South Side — and how the community could provide unique opportunities for the library.

The University is proposing that the presidential library be located off-campus, in one of the neighboring communities that could greatly benefit from the economic development the library would bring. An economic impact study that the University commissioned estimated that the library project would create 1,900 new, permanent jobs, with $220 million in annual economic impact and 800,000 annual visitors. The report also projected that in the neighborhoods surrounding the library, the development could support 30 new restaurants, 11 new retail outlets and a new hotel.

Federal law provides that presidential libraries are independent, non-partisan institutions managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. President Obama’s library will be constructed with funds donated to the non-profit Barack Obama Foundation, which has announced a phased process for choosing a site. After the RFQ phase, the foundation has said it will issue a Request for Proposals to the most competitive applicants, with final selection of a site in early 2015. The decision of where to place the library is up to President Obama and Mrs. Obama.
Fresh ideas for collaboration

Although the specific nature of programming at the library will be determined by the library’s leadership at a later date, the foundation’s RFQ indicated an interest in developing partnerships with multiple organizations. The University has convened meetings with numerous groups that have expressed interest in participating, and those talks have yielded ideas from a wide range of organizations.

To highlight a few of the many promising ideas, some of the potential collaborators came together recently to discuss how a presidential library could make a difference on the South Side while educating and inspiring young people from around the world. The panelists were Torrey L. Barrett, Executive Director of the KLEO Community Family Life Center; Dr. Byron T. Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God and Chairman of the Network of Woodlawn; James G. Keane, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; David R. Mosena, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry; Kamau Murray, President and Founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation; and Sophia Shaw, President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Shaw is prepared to offer the Chicago Botanic Garden’s counsel in building garden components at the library, creating “a thriving place for learning, for inspiration, and for growth.” She noted that the Chicago Botanic Garden already administers extensive efforts in sustainable urban farming across Chicago, including a 20,000 square foot garden on the convention center rooftop of McCormick Place near downtown Chicago. Her group partners with many Chicago institutions to offer training for youth, adults, and ex-offenders.

Barrett said he is excited by the possibility of hosting joint events with the library to complement his organization’s efforts to help young men recently released from the criminal justice system. Partnering with the library could allow his group to expand its programming for grandparents raising grandchildren whose parents were victims of violence, he said. Engaging with the community would help the library inspire youth to learn how to become involved in politics, Barrett said.

The Museum of Science and Industry could work with the library to expand its outreach in STEM education and science clubs, Mosena said. That involvement also could motivate students and educators to “be part of a dialogue on how public policy about science is shaped by a president, and how it can shape the nation’s future,” he said.

Murray sees the presidential library as potentially an ideal partner for efforts like XS Tennis, which provides free tennis instruction to 2,000 Chicago students per week and is the nation’s largest minority tennis foundation. His organization is ready to work with the library on outreach to students through efforts like free tutoring and nutrition education.

“This will be a great place for organizations to come together to really change the narrative of what our youth feel is possible,” Murray said.

Such ideas give a sense of the immense possibilities that the Barack Obama Presidential Library could bring to communities on the South Side and throughout the Chicago area, Sher said.

“We are committed to working in partnership with the city, our neighbors, and organizations large and small to make this a reality,” she said.

Public Questions and Comments about the Obama Library and U of C Bid
at the January 12, 2015 Jackson Park Advisory Council
(or read/print by itself)

Edited by Gary Ossewaarde

Questions were answered mostly by Derek Douglas, U of C President for Civic Engagement, some by Sonya Malunda, Senior Associate Vice President for Civic Engagement.
Two minutes were allowed for each question and each answer. Time was kept by JPAC treasurer Dwight Powell.

Nearly everyone who spoke prefaced that they would welcome the Library to the South Side, and several told what they believe and hope it will bring or mean to communities and the city.

Q. Could you use the U of C land outside Washington Park rather than the park?
A. We need to ensure there is enough room for a campus to ensure a strong bid.

Q. How much land is available owned by UC, the city and agencies west of Washington Park?
A. About 11 acres, of which 6 1/2 is owned by the University. How to assemble it is an issue, especially since some is spoken for. A major objective is to not displace.

C. The Washington Park Conservancy supports the Obama Library on Chicago's south side, but NOT in the park. (The suggested site for the Library in Washington Park is the site of the Washington Park Arboretum, the largest arboretum in Chicago.)

C. Use the land west of King including going over roads and Green Line and nearby to north.
A. The former Robert Taylor Homes land is spoken for, including for XT Tennis.

Q. What are the organizations by the Washington Park site that support this? I don't know anyone who wants to give up our parks.
A. Washington Park Advisory Council, KLEO, DuSable Museum, Museum Campus South, businesses- a total of 89 letters. Also, there are several sites the Foundation would not accept. Accessibility is another point the Foundation insists upon. We would enhance the park.

C. The King Dr. site is ideal. The bar should be high for taking parkland for institutions-- this fits the bar. And it is Obama. And lots of museums and other facilities are in parks. Such opportunities are the only way to get resources for parks.

C. The letters you cite are for the Library, but how many of those sending knew that, support it will be in a park? Some organizations have moved to rescind or revise their letters since they found out.

C. We need to think creatively to renew our parks and communities. This has many possibilities. It will require lots of talking.

Q. Will this be done to bring real resources to communities rather than gentrify? Cited a conspiracy to clear certain populations out of the South Side.
A. Columbia is using land that displaced and was contentious; we are not. We are intentional from the start to redevelop with affordable options-- there's so much vacant land. Cited Mattie Butler of WECAN that displacement won't happen. This is not UC driven and the city has control of lots of empty land and will set the rules. We will plan and collaborate together. The Library will be transformative.

Q. Parks are an irreplaceable resource for people that can never be reassembled- once gone, it's gone for good. (Applause). Find a spot not in parks. Organizations like JPAC should carry out their responsibility and stop frittering away our parks (last remark drew a repost from the president of JPAC).
A. We will improve the park and return more than is lost. The Library is not cannibalizing. And it's not UC, we are just providing options.

Q. Can we not revisit Lakeside or Michael Reese, [which were subjects of separate bids] where there will be neither park loss or displacement of people/businesses?
A. Not our choice.

Q. How much good will just a new building do? We need something spectacular to turn communities around.
A. We won’t abandon communities- will partner to do a lot of other things.

Q. We are still hurt by how land west of Washington Park was acquired. What is your plan for it?
A. For future growth. Ald. Dowell made it plain we can't just landbank it. We've been building, such as the Incubator. Lots of charettes have been going on.

C. Displacing trees is not better than displacing people. Parks aren't land banks either.

Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, was invited at this point to read a prepared statement (pre-ask). They are thrilled about the Library and against building in parks and especially in heritage parks intentionally designed and irreplaceable. The acres west of the Washington Park would be ideal, as would the UIC bid and the design should be "urban". 25 acres is too much in any case. It's the University's responsibility to listen, Chicago's to decide.
A. Lots want it in the parks and our responsibility is to all voices. (Back and forth: Does the Foundation understand, including how parks are bridges between communities? A. The Library will bridge communities, and the University is going to take all the input back to the Foundation.)

C. (disagreement about the stance of a community organization).

Q. Who in the Foundation represents the communities?
A. Marty Nesbitt, who has all the letters and input and has a Facebook page on the Library. They also talk a lot with the Obama’s.

Q. Will a Library bring an increase in policing, maybe also harassing our youth? While the University does not have a trauma center for the community or for the President.
A. Disputed the implications-- we all swim or sink together in shared interest. The University is doing much for South Side healthcare.

C. The library is important and huge including to the future of kids and would be a major asset in one of the parks; the problems would be worked out.

JPAC president Louise McCurry made closing statement, thankful for the many voices that have come to be heard.

Some local organization positions re Jackson Park.

Jackson Park Advisory Council board. JPAC welcomes an Obama Presidential Library on the South Side of Chicago.

Hyde Park Historical Society. The Hyde Park Historical Society strongly supports siting the Obama Presidential Library on Chicago's Southside. Our respect for President Obama is immeasurable and his legacy is beyond doubt. However, building the library on our public parklands in Washington or Jackson Park would seriously compromise either of Chicago's, and the nation's, most important historic parks. These two great Southside parks must be preserved for future generations.

Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. The Conference strongly supports the Obama Presidential Library on the South Side of Chicago but was not able to reach a conclusion about siting or conditions of the University of Chicago Bid.

South East Chicago Commission enthusiastically supports the Library. (not having seen the resolution this writer is unclear at present as to what else it says.)

KEY PROVISIONS IN THE DRAFT ORDINANCE authorizing intergovernmental agreement transferring PD land to the City for $1.

pp. 3 and 4. Defines the sites to be approx. 20 acres (they are more precisely described in the exhibits and the draft IGA (intergovernmental agreement) but "it is expected that the Foundation would devote approximately five (5) acres of the selected site to the Presidential Center, and the remaining land would remain landscaped open space..."

"Whereas it is unknown" which site will be preferred "or a portion thereof" the site selection expected during the fall or winter 2015.

The City wishes to acquire...the Park District wishes to convey.... in exchange for the loss of green space"... the deed for the selected site will have a reversionary clause, providing that the selected site will revert to the Park District if it is not used as part of the Presidential Center."

"The Mayor is committed to assembling a group of leaders from open space and community groups to identify nearby land that can be converted to green space to replace the green space lost to teh construction of the Presidential Center and to look for opportunities to reinvest in and restore Olmsted parks."

"There will be a separate ordinance authorizing development, construction, and operation of the Presidential Center." A "long-term ground lease" will be drawn up with Foundation, which in turn will have an agreement and sublease with the NARA (National Archives).

Citations of authority: Article VII, Section 10 of the 1970 Illinois State Constitution-- authorizes "local governing bodies sot cooperate in teh performance of their responsibilities by contracts and other agreements."
Intergovernment Cooperation Act, 5 ILCS 220/1 et seq.: "authorizes public agencies, including units of local government and school districts, to contract with one another to perform any government service, activity, or undertaking."
Local Government Property Transfer Act, 50 ILCS 605/0.01 et seq. authorizes "municipalities to convey, grant, or transfer real estate held by the municipality to any other municipality upon the agreement of the appropriate authorities..."

BE IT ORDAINED: Section 3 provides the city will acquire the site for $1. The Department of Planning and Development will secure , convey, negotiate. All contrary ordinances et al are repealed as respects this matter.

The acquisition will be by quitclaim deed complete and final except for the reversionary clause.
The park district is to continue to maintain until construction starts but will not make major changes.
The sites and center are subject to all environmental laws and regulations.
No third party is to have any benefit or right from the agreement.



THE STATE FIRE INSPECTOR DROPPED HIS PROPOSAL FOR SPRINKLER AND OTHER RETROFITS, but it may come up again!-- the public was heard loud and clear. Rep. Currie shared in the August 7 2013 Herald her letter to Gov. Quinn.
Alarm has been sounded over the state's fire marshal's determination to require retrofitting of buildings with sprinklers and other life-safety devices. The legislature could act to stop. There will be dispute as to whether the city ordinance supersedes Rep. Currie thinks the city overrides and there is no state legislation.)

CITY ENERGY BENCHMARK PROP. ORD. - ANOTHER MANDATE FOR LARGE BLDGS. WAS DEFERRED AND PUBLISHED TO SEPT. BY THE COMMITEE AND CITY COUNICIL. Hairston and other lakefront ald (except Burns and Moore) supported the deferral. This is thought by many not so bad except 1) possibility that it could be used as excuse for future expensive mandates, 2) potential for abuse including in competition between buildings. PASSED CITY COUNCIL SEPT. 11 AS DID THAT RESTAURANTS MUST BAN FIREARMS OR LOSE LICENSES.


Will there be adverse or favorable impact (i.e. parkers hoarding spaces so shoppers can't park) of meter-machine-free parking on Sundays and extension of hours from 9 to 10 pm other days? Too soon to tell, businessmen think. Ald Burns says he will be watching and introduce an ordinance to have certain zones put back on Sunday parking if need be- with revs. going to the city. In a new twist, the Mayor says he will decide on each alderman's requests for exceptions to charge on Sundays.
Traffic congestion on 53rd near Lake Park seems to be growing despite adjustments. Some look forward to recommendations of a parking and traffic study commissioned by SECC with wide org. stakeholder participation.
There continue to be disputes over residential permit parking in East Hyde Park.

May 7-9 there were "first warm day" incidents in East Hyde Park including the 5400 block of S. Cornell. Incidents happened various other nights and days starting April 30.
Buildings along South Shore Drive have formed a security committee and are preparing recommendations.
May 25 Incidents were reported involving people being admitted to buildings on 52nd between Harper and Blackstone and committing targeted shootings.

Harold Washington Park, Bessie Coleman Park, and Jackson Park (3 lots) were awarded new playground equipment under the Chicago Plays! initiative of the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks. Congratulations.

News you can use. Blue carts 4th Ward. Blue bins are emptied every other week. Residents who receive curb side garbage collection will have their blue bin emptied on Tuesdays, which is the pick up day for the Fourth Ward. Residents whose cans are located in the alley do not have a set day for pick up. Those cans may be collected any day of every other week.

not help those who need to take the 28 which goes on Stony Island south of 67th all the way past 100th.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: see full and updated in Schools/Educ. News.

To complete list. More in Schools Hot Topics. CPS site on the matter is http://www.cps.edu/qualityschools.
HPKCC RESOLUTION SEEKING DEFERRAL OF CLOSINGS and Dyett- see in Schools- a shaky victory on Dyett.
http://www.schoolcuts.org has much information about school trends and studies, although its list and evaluation of closing and receiving schools was not the latest (114 v. 61 final) as of March 23. This is not a CPS site.

TIF Advisory Council Meetings

McMobil (Vue 53) continued to simmer and divide despite its final approval by the city. http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/building-property-development/53rd-street

Coalition for Equitable Community Development issued a major market study of affordable rental housing in Hyde Park at its annual meeting February 9 2013. Visit http://www.hpkcoalition.org and our site on the work of this organization.

The Chicago Hyde Park Village has set a milestone by electing and installing a blue-ribbon board and expects to fully "go" in fall 2014. Several programs such as Drop-in 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Augustana Church (where it has its new office) seem to fill a need in the community. See Village.

Harper Theatre opened but some seek a more diverse mix of movie types and audience is often small.


Election-, results and who's running are posted in Campaign Front page.

The UC Crime Lab, Chicago Police and Mayors Office, and Allstate have teamed up to target anti violence stabilization in two nearby South Side neighborhoods. Release: http://www.allstatenewsroom.com/channels/News-Releases/releases/neighborhood-safety-initiative-to-pilot-in-two-chicago-communities.

Wintrust, and expanding suburban bank, buys Hyde Park Bank parent.

A local group/coalition is forming to plan to take advantage of a state and U of C instigative for broadband in the area- and make sure it helps human services, real education and training including in schools for jobs (including in the broadband network), arts, patient care and access to care, and community development. Southside Broadband Expansion Collaborative. This is in formation for the MidSouth by Gigabit Squared/Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program, University of Chicago and UD Medicine/Urban Health Initiative) and lots of local businesses and organizations to plan how to use Wireless Broadband Network to enhance human services, education, arts, safety and community development. Leaders are NOW (Network of Woodlawn/ Pierre Clark) and Laura Lane of Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Network. The training and jobs part have to be worked out and put in place. But broadband seems to advance very slowly.

New bike routes and complaints about safety

New bike lanes were implemented for 55th in HP, King, Ellsworth, and 31st-- and now seem likely on Stony Island from 56th south. . A combination of buffered and protected lanes are used. The one has the bike lanes on the next outside the parking lane and with wide striping, the other has the bike lanes on the far outside with a parking lane between the bike lane and car traffic.
CDOT has begun a master planning process for 55th St.


http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/planned-development-43. Detail log and analysis of issue: Woodlawn Ave, PD43 pages.
The effort to create an historic district seems to be in abeyance. Dialogue continues with U of C on details of implementing construction. Report
on meeting on 58th, CTS Univ. repurposing and expansion plan.

WARD MAP January 19 was that there is an incumbents' compromise (except for those the insiders et al dumped) between maps lots of places are carved up in both maps despite some corrections, and bloated populations (diluted voting strength) in several northside white wards. The expert nationwide is telling them it can survive even when differences in population between wards are as much as 10% (as this is vs. earlier 4%) if there are reasons such as under the Voting Rights Act enough able to elect a minority. The compromise would have 13 Hispanic and 18 black wards and two Spanish-influence wards. The 20th Ward stays. approx. where it is. Effects locally vary among maps.
MAPS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE CITY CLERK WEBSITE, http://www.chicityclerk.com and in the Election Front page and in 1537News (lines comparing present and new boundaries).
The Herald expressed wonder that Hyde Parkers (vs other neighborhoods) have had little to say about the map considering HP is currently split between wards and a central swath and more east of the tracks are set to go into the 5th Ward. VISIT ELECTION FRONT FOR DESCRIPTION OF LOCAL BOUNDARY CHANGES AND WHAT STAYS OR GOES.

LA fitness has bought 47th St. Bally's as part of a buyout of 153 fitness centers. Lessees (Programs) are scrambling to contact LA Fitness or find new quarters-- but some say their leases are long and they are not moving. The future for the center remained unclear in 2014 except that XS Tennis will build a grand complex and community center at State and 54th, so eventually will be moving.

Deal between university and city for pilot for speeding zoning and permits promises much, touches much.Then why do permits take so long?
And Emanuel confronts the grocery CEOs on the food deserts, vows to implement a plan including permitting reform.
50 projects are promised, including new Metra 59th-60th stations (latter UC will commit $2.5 m). Little seems to have come of this in 2014.

RETAIL SURGE and loss: SEE IN BUSINESS. Harper Court. HPSSA. 53rd TIF home. 53rd news. Vue53. Hyde Park Village.

Finding the 2010 Census tables-

These five detailed tables are available to the public online via FTP download at
http://www2.census.gov/census_2010/01-Redistricting_File--PL_94-171/ and will be available
within 24 hours at http://factfinder2.census.gov. (Access 2003 or Access 2007 shells or
SAS scripts are provided to assist with importing and accessing the summary file data from
the FTP site. These shells and scripts can be found at http://www.census.gov/rdo/tech_tips.
This Web page also contains special instructions for linking data downloaded from FactFinder
and/or the FTP site with the Census Bureau's geographic products.)

donedonedoneon h

To Date alerts

May 27 2017- Northbound Lake Shore Drive will be closed 6:30-9:45 am pres. for a race or Bike the Drive?


If you wish to sign up for the e-mail Security Alerts, please follow these instructions:

Go to the signup page at https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/community-alerts/.
Select “subscribe” from the left-hand menu, and click “OK” when the pop-up window comes up.
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Common alerts-

Daily log

June 18, Sunday. Robberies at 51st and 50th and Blackstone in Kenwood.

June ? murder of Xavier Roy, son of Ja Roy at appox 6200 S Ingleside.

June 2. A man walked into a hospital after being shot on Lake Shore Drive late Friday morning, police said. The man was shot in his abdomen in the 5700 block of South Lake Shore Drive at 11:45 a.m. near the Museum of Science and Industry. He walked into Mercy Hospital before being transferred to Stroger Hospital. No one has been arrested.

c May 30. Shoting 5 pm by 53rd Cornell.

May 24 early evening. Multiple robberies by one person in a radius of 49th, 52nd and Greenwood.
Related: UC Security alert reporting a pattern of two robberies that occurred off campus over a short period of time. Subsequently, on May 23, UCPD was notified of a third robbery that occurred in the same general area within an hour of the two previous incidents.
At approximately 7:25 p.m., Monday, May 22 – A University student walking eastbound off campus at approximately 1221 East 54th Street was approached by four unknown suspects who struck him, knocked him to the ground and forcibly took his briefcase before fleeing in an unknown direction. The victim was transported to the hospital by CFD EMS for treatment of his injuries. The Chicago Police Department is investigating this crime.

April 9 at 8:05 pm an 18 yer old male sitting in th backseat of a car driving norhin the 5500 block of S. Hyde Park Blvd. was grzed in the head and sustained a gunshot would to the levt shoulder. He was treated as stable at Stroger Hospital. No one was in custody and police were investigating. .

March 22, 7:23 pm. A 28 year old male in a car in the 1100 block of E. 48th St. was shot multiple times, stabilied at Comer.

March 21. Three afternoon and evening robberies by a pair of persons (male and female), two at gunpoint- East Madison Park, behind the Shoreland, and 51st blockof Kimbark. The first included a pair being let in to a building.

February 20 (and repeated at least tow later occasions- Jewish Community Center, 5200 S. Hyde Park, was among 11 across the country that received bomb threats by phone. No device was found.
Also on repeated occasions placing of antisemitic flyers on campus buildings- a person from a western suburb was arrested and charged.

February 19? A black SUV traveling north from 5100 on Drexel was shot at- a woman was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

January 17, evening-- gunshot fiiring at 52nd and Blackstone.

December 9, UC alert. At approximately 9:15 p.m., Friday, December 9 – A University Medicine staff member walking on the north side of East 55th Street between Ingleside and Ellis was approached by three unknown suspects who demanded the victim’s property. The victim handed over his book bag to the suspects who then fled in a white SUV. The victim reported no physical injuries. The incident was not immediately reported to the police.

At approximately 10:15 p.m., Friday, December 9 – A University student walking off-campus southbound on South Greenwood between 54th Street and 55th Street was approached by one unknown suspect who demanded the victim’s property. The suspect took the victim’s wallet before entering a waiting white or tan SUV. The victim reported no physical injuries.

At approximately 10:20 p.m., Friday, December 9 – A University student walking off-campus on 54th Street between South University and South Woodlawn was approached by an unknown suspect who demanded his property. The suspect took the victim’s cell phone before entering a white SUV that drove off in an unknown direction. The victim reported no physical injuries.

December 2. At approximately 2:50 p.m. a male sitting in Cornell Park was shot from behind at c. 15 feet by a man with a ski mask and blue hoodie. At least 6 shots were fired, hitting the man in head and back. The shooter got into a green chevrolet and sped north. Police said they believed the shooting was targeted.

November 16-18. At approximately 6:20 p.m., Friday, November 18 – A University student walking on the sidewalk off-campus on 54th Place at South Ellis Avenue was approached by three unknown suspects, one of whom implied a weapon and demanded the victim’s property. The offenders took the victim’s cellphone before fleeing to a waiting white SUV that was last seen going northbound on Ingleside Avenue. The victim reported no physical injuries.

This incident is similar to two robberies that occurred on Wednesday, November 16 at approximately the same time of day. One of the robberies occurred off-campus on Drexel Avenue at 54th Street at approximately 7:00 p.m. and was the subject of a security alert http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/services/security_alerts/security_alert_wednesday_november_16_2016/

The second robbery reported on November 16 occurred at approximately 7:00 p.m. off-campus on South Ingleside Avenue between 53rd Street and 54th Street and was reported to Chicago police but not UCPD. In all cases the suspects drove off in a white SUV. Chicago police are investigating.

October 29. On the evening of Saturday, October 29, 2016, the University of Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Police Department responded to numerous calls of disorderly conduct along 53rd Street. Large groups of juveniles were causing disturbances throughout the area and as a result five arrests were made.

The University of Chicago Police Department has received information that there again may be increased activity and disorderly conduct along 53rd Street this evening. The University of Chicago Police and the Chicago Police Department are aware and will have an increased presence in the area throughout the evening.

If you witness any suspicious activity, please report it immediately to the Chicago Police Department (911) or the University of Chicago Police Department at 773.702.8181.

Serious trouble did indeed occur Monday evening. In addition, there was a mugging with injury to a resident parking in his alley south of 55th near Kimbark.

October 24, Monday, a group of burglars entered or broke into a building at 54th and Woodlawn and proceded to steal, confront a UC student and beat the latter. As one of several incidents (including repeated breakins on Drexel), UC Safety officer Eric Heath issued the following statement:

I am writing to inform the University of Chicago community about a significant increase in the number of off-campus property crimes, specifically residential burglaries, which have been reported to the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and/or the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in 2016 year-to-date. Although most such property crimes would not meet our standard guidelines for issuing timely Security Alerts, the Department of Safety and Security is providing this information, as it could help residents take precautions and work with neighbors and police to reduce such incidents.

The UCPD has seen an overall decrease in violent crime for 2016 year-to date in the UCPD patrol area; however, burglaries are generally not classified as violent crimes. Our crime analysis unit has noted the following information specific to off-campus residential burglaries:

· 60% increase for 2016 when compared to 2015 year-to-date reports.

· The increase pertains mostly to the Hyde Park/South Kenwood neighborhoods within the UCPD patrol area.

· While there does not appear to be an identifiable pattern, most of the incidents occur during the day.

· Almost 50% of the incidents involved no forced entry. In some cases, doors or windows had been left unlocked.

· In several reports, the suspect(s) have gained entry while the victim was at home.

· In at least one report, the suspect(s) tried to force entry knowing the victim was at home.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 26 – A person unaffiliated with the University was about to enter his car parked on the north side of 61st Street between South Kenwood Avenue and South Dorchester Avenue when he was approached from the rear by an unknown person who placed an object to his back and demanded his keys. The suspect took the keys and the car and drove westbound on 61st Street. The victim reported no physical injuries. The incident was not immediately reported to the police.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., Saturday, October 22 – Chicago Police and UCPD officers responded off-campus to 54th Street and Maryland Avenue to a shots fired call. Upon arrival they discovered a person unaffiliated with the University suffered gunshot wounds to the buttocks and each leg. The victim had been sitting in his vehicle when two unknown males approached on foot and fired several shots before running northbound on Maryland Avenue. Police later recovered two handguns in the basement of a building in the 5300 block of S. Maryland Avenue. The victim was transported to the hospital by Chicago Fire Department EMS. Chicago Police are investigating this shooting.

At approximately 6:50 p.m., Wednesday, October 12 – A University student walking on the sidewalk off-campus on 50th Street between South Cornell Avenue and South East End Avenue was approached from behind by three or four unknown suspects who pushed the victim to the ground and took his wallet before fleeing in an unknown direction. The victim reported no physical injuries.

At approximately 7:00 p.m., Thursday, October 13 – A University staff member walking on the sidewalk off-campus at 52nd Street and South Kenwood Avenue was approached from behind by three or four unknown suspects who pushed the victim to the ground and took his back pack before fleeing to a waiting dark vehicle that drove northbound on Kenwood Avenue. The victim reported no physical injuries.

Similar October 15 c 9:45 pm on Dorchester south of 50th. Very young. Scared away by various yelling, surprised theperson so could not identify when group fornud by McDonalds. ,


September 20. At approximately 1:40 a.m., Tuesday, September 20 – A University student walking westbound on 58th Street at South Dorchester was approached by an unknown individual riding a bicycle. The suspect displayed a handgun and demanded the victim’s cellphone. The victim refused to hand over the phone and the suspect rode off southbound on Dorchester without taking any property. The victim reported no physical injuries.

cSeptember 17. At least two forced robberies by a group of men, 54th and University and 54th and Woodlawn.

August-September. String of burglaries continues various areas, including Dorchester east, blocks south of 55th. Black young man c 6' skinny and friends. Very boldly enter houses including with residents present, esp where door or window is not well secured.
Also a spate of burglaries in the 50th St. of E. Hyde Park area.

September 1. There was an attempt to rob a postal worker behind the HP Shopping Center postal station (Harper Ave.) with a weapon. There was disagreement whether shots were fired. No one was injured, a person intervened and there was some camera surveilance that couaght a picture of a male c 275 pounds with a heavy vbalck beard. Police were investigating and canvasing the next day.

August 3/4. University Security Alert. At approximately 11:45 p.m., Wednesday, August 3– A University student walking off-campus at 5425 South Blackstone was approached from behind by two unknown suspects, one of whom displayed an object. The suspects took the victim’s cellphone and fled northbound on foot. The victim reported no injuries and declined medical attention.

At approximately 1:24 a.m., Thursday, August 4 – Two University students walking off-campus on 54th Street between Woodlawn and Kimbark were approached by two unknown suspects who exited a vehicle. One suspect displayed an object and demanded the victims’ property. After taking a laptop computer and wallets from the victims, the suspects reentered the vehicle and drove off. The victims reported no injuries.

At approximately 1:40 a.m., Thursday, August 4 – A person not affiliated with the University, walking off-campus at 5201 South Ingleside Avenue was approached by two unknown males, one of whom was armed with a handgun. The suspects struck the victim and took his book bag before reentering the vehicle and driving off. The victim declined medical attention.

In each case the suspects were described as two African American males, 17-20 years-of-age, one wearing a blue jogging suit, the other wearing a green jogging suit. The vehicle used was described as a dark colored sedan, possibly a Chrysler.

August 2- police reported girl found. August 1. 12 year old girl reported lmissing since. Last seen around 54th and Ingleside.

July 17? c 1 a.m., two teenage brothers were shot, one of whom died at the scene, from a red car that pulled into an alley in the 4700 block of south Ellis.

Police have arrested and charged a suspect in connection with the drive-by shooting that occurred at 6:15 p.m. on June 19, 2016 at 6147 South Kimbark Avenue. There have been a number of shootings and other crimes in that vicinity.

A domestic homicide-suicide occurred in the 1400 block of E. 54th St.

June 22. At approximately 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 22 – A UC Medicine staff member walking off-campus eastbound on East 56th Street at South Kimbark Avenue was approached from behind by two unknown suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun. The suspects demanded the victim’s property and fled with the victim’s bag eastbound on foot. The victim reported no injuries and declined medical attention.

Date? Armed robbery 5470? S. Cornell. And several incidents in alley between HPB and Everett between 53rd and 55th including a carjacking at gunpoint, and continuing in the Drexel Square area.

Early June- daytime burglaries in the 5000 block of S. Cornell.

At approximately 12:15 a.m., Tuesday, May 31 – A University student walking eastbound on East 56th Street at South University Avenue was approached by three unknown suspects walking in the opposite direction. One of the suspects struck the victim with his fist knocking him to the ground. The suspects took the victim’s backpack and fled eastbound on foot. The victim declined medical attention.
There have also been a number of incidents along 61st, 62nd.

Burglaries. The first took place on April 29, between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., in the 1300 block of East 56th Street. The second case happened on April 30, at approximately 4:20 a.m., in the 5500 block of South Kimbark Avenue.

Since c. April 28. U of C 4th year Medical student Ambrose Monye missing with no information or contact, no cellphone or credit card activity. Call police at once if you have any information. May 8 a body was pulled from the Lake at 54th St. and has since been identified as Monye. Cause and manner of death will undergo further analysis.

April 23. In the early morning hours of Saturday, April 23, a University of Chicago (U. of C.) student was held at gunpoint and fondled, according to a security alert from university police. The incident occurred at approximately 4:05 a.m. on South Kenwood Avenue near 58th Street. University police reported that a student was talking with an acquaintance in the vestibule of an off-campus apartment building when the acquaintance displayed a handgun, pushed the student to the floor and fondled her. The suspect fled the scene after hearing the victim scream. While the victim suffered a minor injury to her knee and elbow, she declined medical assistance.

April 24 around noon an assailant on foot fired at least 10 shots into a car in the 6100 block of Harper, hitting the windshield but not the driver, then ran into a nearby apartment complex. The driver was not cooperating.

April 23 c. 2 am. A car lost control on Cornell Dr. at 59th and went into Jackson Park lagoon. No injuries.

April 20, at about 6:20 pm. Police are looking for two people responsible for a drive-by shooting that occurred in the 5100 block of South Blackstone Avenue at about 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20.

According to police, a 24-year-old male and a 21-year-old female were in a parked vehicle when a red minivan with two unknown offenders approached.

The offenders reportedly said, “We caught you slacking,” before firing shots toward the two victims and fleeing the scene.

The victims, neither of whom were struck by gun-fire, pursued the offenders’ vehicle northbound on Blackstone Avenue. The chase ended with a car crash at 49th Street and Blackstone Avenue.

A 29-year-old, male pedestrian was struck by one of the vehicles in the 4900 block of South Blackstone Avenue. He suffered a broken knee and lacerations to the head and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he is now in stable condition.

No one from the incident is in custody. Area Central Detectives are investigating.

According to a witness, two cars raced down Blackstone Ave between 51st and 49th shooting at each other. As they rounded the curve by the library, a passenger of one of the vehicles was ejected somehow and taken away in an ambulance.

April 11, 2 pm. University of Chicago Police are searching for a man who fired several shots into a car on Monday afternoon.

According to reports from the University of Chicago Police Department, at approximately 2 p.m. Monday, a motorist, not affiliated with the University, told police an unknown suspect approached his vehicle while he was sitting in it and at 52nd Street and Lake Park Avenue near the Metra station and fired several shots at the car.

The gunman then ran north on Harper Avenue, according to university police.

No injuries were reported and the motive for the shooting is unknown, according to university police.

April 2. University security alert:. A University staff member was approached from behind by an unknown suspect armed with a handgun while walking on the sidewalk off-campus at 54th Place and South Dorchester Avenue. The suspect grabbed the victim’s purse pulling her to the ground, but fled to a waiting vehicle when the victim managed to hold onto the purse. The victim reported no injuries. Chicago police are investigating.

March 10. The occupants of a vehicle driving in the 5200 block of South Lake Park Avenue opened fire on a passing car at approximately 3 p.m., Thursday, March 10, according to a Kenwood Academy High School spokeswoman, who did not wish to be named. The spokeswoman said that the school’s in-house police officer was alerted to the incident shortly after it happened and that the school immediately initiated a soft lock-down, in which all students were kept inside for a short period. The Chicago Police Department had no report on the incident. A department spokeswoman said that it was likely because no one was injured in the shooting.

March 2. The "pin ball bandit" hit Fifth/Third branch at 53rd and Dorchester. All of these robberies (and 3 others elsewhere) were by one person, who was turned in by his girlfriend.

February 21. At approximately 1:15 p.m., Sunday, February 21 – Two victims not affiliated with the University driving in a car off campus in the area of 5400 South Harper Avenue suffered gunshot wounds when shots were fired by an unknown suspect from a passing vehicle, described as a green Jeep Cherokee that sped off westbound on East 54th Street. One victim was wounded in the left leg, the second victim suffered a graze wound to the head. The motive for the shooting is unknown and there is no suspect information at this time. The Chicago Police Department is investigating this shooting.

January 13? approx. noon gunfire broke out between youths in the parking lot of Reavis School/Ma Houston Park at approx. 834 E. 50th St. No injuries were reported.

January 13? Chase Bank branch at Kimbark Plaza was robbed.

January 3, Sunday, 4:45 pm a 14 year old in a car in the 6300 block of S. Stony Island was shot in the head when a car pulled up and someone shot the 14 year old in the head. Victim was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. No further details.

December 24, Thursday, at approximately 4:45 p.m., – A victim not affiliated with the University walking off campus at 53rd Street and Blackstone Avenue was approached by 2 unknown suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun. The suspects forced the victim to walk with them to a nearby ATM and withdraw $200. One suspect struck the victim with the handgun before fleeing with the cash. The victim refused medical attention. Chicago police are investigating. · If you have any information related to this incident or if you witness any suspicious activity, please report it immediately to the Chicago Police Department (911) or the University of Chicago Police Department – 123 from a University phone or 773-702-8181.

December 15, Tuesday, 9:40 am. A black male in his 30s exposed himself to a girl in the 4700 block of S. Ellis. Offender was sitting in a black 4-door Pontiac Grand Prix. Contact Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380.

December 12, Saturday, 9:20 am. A male body aged 20-30 was pulled from the Jackson Park "lagoon" (could be Columbia basin- looks like be abutment and lower fence of Darrow Bridge) near MSI. No further information available Sat. afternoon. Source Tribune online.

December 5, c. 4:30 am. Gunshots reported (not at present confirmed, police responded) at 57th near MSI.

DETAILS ON THE NOV. 30 THREAT AND CLOSURE UC CAMPUS. EVENTS AND CLASSES AT UC CAMPUS WERE RESUMED TUESDAY DECEMBER 1. The UIC student who issued online threats to kill at U of C. was arrested and released, as posing no threat.

November 17, 10:47 am. Gunshots on Lake Park- one police source says 4800 block, another "near Kenwood High."

November 7. At approximately 12:10 p.m., Saturday, November 7 – A University student walked into the vestibule of an off-campus apartment building at 5345 S. Harper Avenue and was followed by an unknown suspect who implied a weapon (no weapon was seen). The suspect took the victim’s wallet and fled the building. The victim reported no injuries. The victim was unable to provide a detailed description of the suspect.

October 24, 2:30 am. Attempted carjacking at the BP at 52nd and Lake Park.

October 31 c2:30 am- persons in cars firing at each other 54th and Cornell. Lots of police action.

October 25, evening. A car crashed into a parked care near 5031 S. Dorchester. Information not forthcoming.

October 21, 8 pm. Shots fired 51st and Dorchester.

October 17 late night- car pulled up and occupant shot pedestrian in 6100 block of Ellis.

Ongoing- smash and grab attacks on cars near University Medical Center and in Washington Park such as Payne Drive. Also South Shore Drive. And 52nd and Drexel Blvd.

October 15, 5:30 pm. Two customers in Starbucks on 53rd and Lake Park had their cell phones stolen. 2 dark complexioned African American males around age 19-20 came up to the victim ands asked for donations for school. for basketball jerseys. They flipped out a piece of paper/flyer and flashed it in front of their face. Then swiped the phone off the table beneath the flyer. CPD took description and searched the area but UCPD would not- said policies have changed.

October 8 or 9. A paroled 22 year old African American carjacker was caught after stealing/attempting to commandeer and drive three cars. He had just been released after two years in Cook County Jail. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

October 4 morning a building in the 5450 block of Cornell was entered and the lobbies mirrors, floors, and elevator were sprayed with green paint bearing the word "raza" ("race" in Spanish) and likely associated with a Chicago Mexican gang, "La Raza." Also hit was the professional building on the northeast corner of Cornell and 53rd St. Other places including in Jackson Park have in the past been so tagged. This gang "marks" where they are selling (or intend to) drugs. So both fast graffiti removal and alerting authorities and aldermen are important. If the spot has poor lighting or is interior (lobby, gangway etc.) with ineffective locks, that should also be attended-- or the locks changed.

(Oct. 1, Ald. Burns' office.) The Chicago Police Department's 2nd District has arrested two major leaders of the gang 46 Terror. The two suspects are linked to homicides, strong arm robberies, and drug dealing. According to CPD, the arrests of these two leaders demonstrate significant progress in the effort to eradicate the gang.

A recent string of car burglaries in the 5400-5500 blocks of S. Shore Drive has residents in the southeast section of Hyde Park on high alert. Since Sept. 11, there have been seven reported incidents of vehicle break-ins spanning these two blocks. The incidents are as follows:

Friday, Sept. 11, 3:15 p.m., theft from vehicle, 5500 block of S. Shore Drive
Saturday, Sept. 12, 9:45 p.m., theft from vehicle, 5400 block of S. Shore Drive
Monday, Sept. 14, 6 a.m., theft from vehicle, 5400 block of S. Shore Drive
Monday, Sept. 14, 5 p.m., theft, from vehicle, 5500 block of S. Shore Drive
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 3 p.m., criminal damage to vehicle, 5400 block of S. Shore Drive
Sunday, Sept. 20, 9:30 p.m., theft from vehicle, 5400 block of S. Shore Drive
Sunday, Sept. 20, 8:30 p.m., criminal damage to vehicle, 5400 block of S. Shore Drive

Mid September police release- 4 robberies. Sep 22, 2015
Hyde Park robberies warrant notice
. Second District police are warning Hyde Park residents to stay vigilant in the wake of three armed robberies that took place over the course of four days recently. According to the police reports, the offenders approached the victims on the street, brandished a handgun and confiscated property. Dates and locations of the incidents are as follows:

11 p.m., Sept. 16, 5200 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard.
10 p.m., Sept. 18, 5400 block of South Dorchester Avenue.
7 p.m., Sept. 19, 1300 block of East 52nd Street.

Police say that there are 2-3 Black, male offenders, all between the ages of 16-20, ranging from 5’08?-5’10? and weighing 150-170 lbs .Police are asking those with information regarding these crimes to contact the Bureau of Detectives- Area Central at (312) 747-8380. ###

September 16. Shots at 51st and Drexel- At 5 pm helicopters were still searching for at least one offender. HP Herald: Over a dozen police cars cordoned off a section of the 5100 block of South Drexel Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, following a shooting involving two on-duty Cook County Sheriff’s Department deputies. At approximately 3:50 p.m. in the 800 block of East Drexel Square Drive, according to police, two Cook County Sheriff’s Department deputies observed Aaron McNeill, 27, of the 5500 block of South Loomis Boulevard discharge a firearm. Police say that McNeil then pointed the gun in the direction of the officers and fled the scene. One deputy fired. No one was injured. McNeil was subsequently taken into custody and charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm, aggravated assault of a peace officer and the aggravated discharge of a firearm. Aaron McNeill, 27 was arrested adn charged with 2 counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, unlawful possession a firearm by a street gang member and unlawful use of a weapon according to Police as relayed by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Police alert on robberies in HP- Aug. 17 5200 blk of University 11:30 pm
Aug. 20 5400 blk of Ingleside 10:30 pm
Sept. 2 1100 blk of E. 54th Pl. 5:45 pm.
A single person is suspected blk male 20-30 5'8 -5'6 c150lbs dark c, dark gray hoodie, threatens women with violence. Call 312 747-8380 w info. A Police Outdoor Roll Call was held Sept. 10.

September 6, 2 am. A woman was shot at a party at 6129 S. Cottage Grove and declared dead at Northwestern Hospital.

August 31. Man killed, 4900 block of Drexel. DNAinfo: A 35-year-old man was fatally shot late Monday in Kenwood, according to police and Cook County Medical Examiner's records. The man was walking in the 4900 block of South Drexel Boulevard at 10 p.m. Monday when shots rang out from a passing SUV, according to Officer Janel Sedevic, Chicago Police spokeswoman. The man was struck in the back and arm, Sedevic said. He was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital before being pronounced dead, Sedevic said. The man was a documented gang member, police said. Tyris R. Jackson, 35, of the 4900 block of South Drexel Boulevard, died at 9:04 p.m. of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Medical Examiner's records. (According to police there is ongoing fighting and mutual attacks between remote gangs using the northwest edge of HPK for attacks on rivals; there is also local drug and gang activity. Attacks are often launched via spottings posted on social media.)

August 25. c. 6 pm- 25 year old male Reginald Sanson (a local elementary and Kenwood Academy graduate) driving a silver Volkswagen sedan was shot up to 5 times in upper part of body and killed and at least one passenger shot seriously by person(s) from another vehicle near Kenwood Community Park and Shoesmith School in vicinity/intersection of 50th and Dorchester to Kenwood. The vehicle came to a halt in the 1300 block of E. 50th St. where the victim was declared dead on the scene. Police said it was likely gang related which now seems to be born out. No description of the assailants or their car was released. A vigil was held Aug. 26 6 pm at the site. Aug. 26 Sun-Times page that has the police activity, and
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/08/26/2-killed-10-wounded-in-south-side-shootings/ Funeral was held at United Church with large attendance.

August 4. There was a stalking and shooting of two persons at 5404 S. Drexel, alleged by neighbors to be a drug-and-gang house, and at an adjacent alley, near Bessie Coleman Park. The two injured hid by nearby buildings and were treated, said to be not cooperating. No suspects in custody.

July 30- 11 am a suspicious package was left near the Obama home. The area of and around E. HP Blvd. was sealed off for about 3 hours and helicopters buzzed until at least after 5. A suspect was in custody. A South Side resident has been charged with a felony after leaving a suspicious backpack one block from President Barack Obama’s home in Hyde Park. [redacted], 20, of the 5500 block of South La Salle Street, is being held by 2nd District police on a $250,000 bond and faces one felony count of disorderly conduct for falsifying a bomb threat.

July robberies alerts from 2nd District. Threat of armed violence. July 3, 9:50 pm 1100 block of E. 554th Place
July 9, 9:53 pm. 5300 block of South Drexel.

July 19 3rd week. Report of attack on a lady with kids in a car and severe attack on car, threats, hate crimes etc. at c 60th and King Dr. at the boundary of West Woodlawn and Englewood. Two youth arrested. Reported by Sam Cholke of DNAinfo to have greatly differing reports and information. Under investigation.

July 14. teen aged man shot sitting in parked car, multiple shots at 51st and Drexel c 7:45 striking shoulder. The victim had no known gang affiliations and is thought to have an object of mistaken identity. Neither victim nor perpetrator were from the area.
Then later shots in a nearby alley. One gang from many blocks away said by police to be involved. Follow up meting were held by Ald. Burns July 21, Ald. Hairston July 22. Louise McCurry of HPKCC Safety writes

Alderman Hairston chaired a community meeting at 6 pm at the Renaissance Center at 52nd and Ellis with 2nd District police and U of C .police .
Much Discussion about shooting details and followup land requests for foot patrol (not granted). See DNA info and July 29 Herald for details.

Group Action Plan Chosen
1.Neighbors Call 911 (may call anonymously) and report all criminal behavior or loitering
2. Formation of A community notification network (like U of C has for students) to quickly inform neighbors of neighborhood criminal activity.
3. U of C Police will continue to monitor and respond to all police calls in neighborhood.
4. Loitering in doorways and on street corners will be dealt with by police. call 911.
5. Next Progress meeting on September 2nd at 6 pm at Renaissance Center 5200 Ellis.

The HP Herald,Maroon, and DNA info covered the meeting. Check out their stories.

May 23, 26. Several robberies espec at 57th and in the 58th block of Harper in the past week- around 10:24 Saturday 23rd, 9:25 pm. Tuesday *5800 bl). numerous property items taken. Suspects wore black ski mask, black hooded sweat shirts and jeans. UC police are stepping up patrols. Anyone with info should call 312 747-8380.

c. May 23. Male seriously shot at 45th and Drexel

May 8. 18 year old male shot in both legs at 4th St. and Greenwood Ave. In critical condition.

April 30, c 4-5 pm. Attempted purse snatching at 57th and Harper- 4 young men. No evidence of a weapon.

April 20, 12:30 am. Three persons were shot in a car in alley in 5400 block of Ellis. Police asserted they were gang members...

Late March- shooting on Langley (bl west of Cottage Grove) just west of Hales Franciscan in 4800 block.

March 13 c945 pm. Two armed robberies with threat of physical violence in 5200 block of S. Kimbark. 2pre-20s black males one with dreadlocks, one with gray hoodie.

March 13. Domestic stabbing- person on the loose. DNAinfo reports-
Police are searching for a man who allegedly stabbed his roommate multiple times early Friday in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
Ross Jacobs, 27, stabbed his roommate about 3 a.m. at their apartment in the 5400 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard, according to a statement from Chicago Police. After the attack, Jacobs fled the scene.
The roommate, also 27, suffered severe injuries, police said.
Jacobs is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound white man, with curly brown hair and goatee, police said. He is known to hang out near the University of Chicago campus and frequents coffee shops around the area. He is wanted for aggravated battery with a knife, according to police.
Anyone with information regarding Jacobs’ whereabouts is asked to call Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8380.
Police earlier said the man was a student at the University of Chicago. Jacobs is not a student at the school..
Ross Jacobs, the suspect wanted for stabbing his roommate on March 13, 2015 in the 5400 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard, has been taken into custody by authorities in Dallas, Texas and is being held without bond for attempted murder.

February 27. Hyde Park Herald has passed along a police alert for 7 burglaries in the neighborhood between Feb 17 and March 2. These are actual home invasions, threatening occupants. Along the west edge of HP 52nd to 54th, Cottage to Drexel. Note entries through unsecured windows.

January 20. UC alert. Chicago Police, working in concert with UCPD, have arrested and charged a suspect for a robbery that occurred on 54th Street between Ingleside Avenue and Ellis Avenue on September 7, 2014 and was the subject of a previous security alert - see http://www.uchicago.edu/community/safety/alerts/security_alert_september_7_2014/
The suspect has also been charged with a robbery that occurred on Greenwood Avenue between 54th Street and 55th Street on November 5, 2014 as well as a robbery that occurred on Kimbark Avenue between 53rd Street and 54th Street on November 7, 2014 and were listed on a previous security alert –see http://www.uchicago.edu/community/safety/alerts/security_alert_november_7_2014.
The suspect is in custody and is charged with 9 counts of robbery and is the subject of an ongoing police investigation as to his involvement in similar crimes in the community.

January 15. Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a 93-year-old man missing from the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side since Thursday morning. THIS PERSON WAS FOUND AND IS SAFE WITH HIS FAMILY.

December 24. DNAInfo is reporting that there was an armed robbery last week in the 1700 block of east 54th Street and the day prior another armed robbery in the 1700 block of east 55th Street both incidents happened around 5 PM.
The offenders are described as 14/15 years old and approximately 5'4" tall.

November 17 or 18 a sixth street robbery occurred that police think are by the same person although with assistants. This time a student walking south of 61st St. on one of the north-side streets. All are urged to take care and report suspicious activity at once.

October-November. Chicago Police warn of break in burglaries by an apparent ring. Various locations in HP and north, any time of day or night.

November 11. UC security alert. 4:10 a.m., Tuesday, November 11 – An unaffiliated victim walking eastbound on 55th Street just east of Cottage Grove Avenue was approached by three suspects who exited an older model tan or beige SUV. The female suspect struck the victim with her fist while the two male suspects went through his pockets taking a cell phone. The suspects reentered the vehicle driving eastbound on 55th Street then southbound on Ellis Avenue. The victim suffered a minor injury and received medical treatment by CFD EMS. The suspects are described as #1 - female, black, light complexion, dreadlocks hair style, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. #2- male, black 5’11”-6’0”, light complexion, dreadlocks hair style, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. #3 – male, black, 5’5” – 5’6”, no further description available at this time.

Robberies November 6 being investigated by UC Police and UCPD 54th Greenwood to Blackstone. From HP Herald - Lindsey Welbers.

The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) have both issued warnings about armed robberies in Hyde Park.

Chicago Police News Affairs declined to say if the two agencies are investigating connected robberies, but did say they are working in conjunction.

UCPD issued a security alert on Friday warning about a string of four robberies off campus in the area of 54th Street between Greenwood and Blackstone avenues. UCPD Chief of Police Marlon Lynch said patrols in the area have been increased.

At 8:15 a.m. on Friday, a university staff member on Kimbark Avenue between 53rd and 54th streets was approached by a man who displayed a handgun and demanded property. He took the victim’s cell phone and wallet and fled northbound on Kimbark.

The suspect was described as an African American male between 18 and 21 years old, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches tall with a light complexion and a tattoo on his neck.

At 10:30 p.m. On Thursday, Nov. 6, another university faculty member was walking on Blackstone Avenue near 54th Street. This victim was approached by two suspects, one of whom implied he had a weapon but did not show one. They took the victim’s briefcase, laptop, wallet and cell phone and fled southbound on Blackstone Avenue.

At 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, a student walking southbound on Greenwood Avenue between 54th and 55th streets was approached by two suspects, who implied they had a weapon but did not show one. They directed the victim to an alley where they took a cell phone and backpack before fleeing through the alley.

At 12:15 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 two students were walking on 54th Street near Woodlawn Avenue when a suspect with a handgun approached them. He took their property before fleeing to a vehicle waiting at Woodlawn Avenue.

No injuries were reported in any cases and all victims declined medical attention.

See item 2 down on robberies along 47th-48th.

Teen missing since October 31. From Hyde Park Herald. A 16-year-old Hyde Park boy has been missing since Oct. 31, according to the Chicago Police Department. Keenan Mardis, 16, of the 5400 block of South Everett Avenue, is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair and a medium complexion.He may be wearing a red jacket, blue jeans and black and blue Jordan gym shoes. He may be carrying a maroon backpack. He has a pierced right ear, a scar under his left eye and a tattoo on his chest.He is known to frequent Elkhart, Ind. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call 911 or Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8380.

From Ald. Will Burns November 3, 2014. We are working closely with the Second District Police and with the University of Chicago Police Department to address the recent rash of armed robberies that have occurred throughout the Kenwood neighborhood.

As of then, similar incidents have been reported at:

In the 4700 block of South Ellis on Oct. 18 about 12:30 p.m.
In the 900 block of East 44th Street on Oct. 20 about 5:33 p.m.
In the 1100 block of East 48th Street on Oct. 27 about 5:10 p.m.
In the 4600 block of South Ellis on Oct. 27 about 5:25 p.m.
In the 4800 block of South Dorchester on Oct. 28 about 5:07 p.m.

In each case, victims have reported being approached by several armed assailants between the ages 12-24.

We ask that in this time of cooperation with our local enforcement that residents in the area remain as vigilant as possible, for your own safety and for the safety of your neighbors. Here are some tips for staying safe:

October 31. Police report that a woman assaulted in the 57th St. Beach area. c 11:10 am. Details: The woman, 58, was jogging near corner of 57th Dr. and S. LSD (does not say which side of the Drive or relationship to the beachhouse and underpasses). Approached from behind and pulled to the ground, retrained and assaulted. Attacker medium-complexion black male c23-25 yo, brown eyes and black hair in short twists, 5'11" to 6'1", 150-160 pounds. Wore black-white camouflage zip hoodie and gray jeans, knit hat with strings. Number to call: Area Central Detectives (312) 747-8380.
November 5 the same perpetrator, a 17 year old male, performed another assault at c. 5800 SLSD 12:30 pm. He was apprehended on site, connected with and ID'd with both attacks and charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and one misdemeanor Obstructing Identification. (Note that the age ID was off for the original assault.)

October 15, Hyde Park teenager was jumped from behind and beaten up by 3 older males at c 6 pm at 54th and Blackstone.

September CPD issued a burglary alert for 52nd and 53rd and the 5200-5300 blocks between Greenwood and Ellis Ave. Aug. 25-Sept. 6.

Sept. 16. Residential burglary 48th and Dorchester.

Sept. 9. Dead ducks/geese in the Harold Washington Park pond-- USDA investigated and suggested toxins; it was too late to get lab diagnosis.

September 8, Sunday between 6 and 7 pm 3 incidents by probably the same- two persons committing or attempting robberies at about 54th and Ellis. U of C issued a security alert.

Reportedly a policeman? off duty was robbed and injured at 59th and the Drive about 3 am September 6.

August 25 c 10:40 at least 10 shots were fired and 4 were wounded in a drive-by shooting from a white car by Pizza Hut at 67th and Stony Island.
About the same day an attempted (and possible real other) kidnapping of a child in Woodlawn.

August 20 9-year-old Antonio Smith was gunned down with multiple shots on 71st Street in Woodlawn/Grand Crossing in Woodlawn on his way to school. He was a regular in programs at Jackson Park.

August 15 UC security alert. At approximately 12:40 a.m., Friday, August 15 – A victim not affiliated with the University jogging southbound on South Maryland Avenue near 59th Street was approached by two unknown suspects. The suspects forcibly took a cell phone from the victim before fleeing on foot westbound on 59th Street. The suspects may have entered a dark blue 4-door Infiniti that drove off at a high rate of speed southbound on Cottage Grove Avenue. The victim was not physically injured and declined medical attention.

Street work: 35th pedestrian bridge over SLSD- under construction along with adjacent streets and sidewalks; 39th bridge- done. 43rd Langley to Oakenwald. King 38-51st (done by Aug. 9?)

Late July Pattern burglaries in the northwest corner-- Ellis, Drexel 5000-5500 S. Tend to be overnight.

June 27 evening a 15 year old teen was shot in the back at 49th and Drexel. Police said he was a documented gang person.

(Jackson Park Advisory Council hosted a picnic meeting on park security and safety with 2nd and 3rd District Chicago Police and Chicago Park District Park Police. July 14, Monday, 6:30 pm at the Iowa Building, Updated on improved strategies was given and more ideas were given. See in Jackson Park News and Bulletins.

Shootings with one death in or near the Iowa shelter 1700 block of 56th St. June 22 c. 7:15 pm.

Security and shootings June 2014
Some robberies have occurred in the 57th LSD (and 55th) underpasses and approach streets/paths 56th and 57th Dr. and at the 57th St. Beach.
The most serious incident was the shooting including one death and one injured in the Iowa building across from Montgomery Place Sunday June 22 early evening. Details below.
Alderman Hairston held a meeting the following day at which strong views were expressed including how well the Iowa building and surrounds was being or could be patrolled and whether it was an attractant. Similar concerns were expressed at the July 14 JPAC meeting and a CAPS beat meeting for the 2nd District July 15.
At the JPAc meeting, at least 4 high level officers from the 3rd District talked and answered numerous questions and the 2nd district commander was able to attend briefly.
Police described strategy and took lots of information about shifting problems in various parts of the park. JPAC safety committee members described how they and others try to keep an eye out, clean up etc. especially in the Iowa building and along 56th Street, but continued to see evidence that people gather there for illicit or quality of life issues. The lights continue to be a headache despite repeated attempts of the Park District to fix them. The Park District has kept the area trimmed of foliage overgrowth behind which offenders can hide. Communication will continue. From the 2nd District beat meeting, issues would be brought directly to the commander's (and 3rd District commander's) attention and the 2nd District commander will come to the next CAPS meeting.

The man killed was a 34- year-old wheelchair-bound person, Ovadiyah Chandler, a resident of Hyde Park, (His brother, 43 was the other person shot) said to live in the 5400 block of Cornell. Both men were documented gang members--but one should be careful of what that meant, given the background of conditions and pressures esp. but not exclusively for African American youth in schools incl. in HPK going way back, and life is hard for such persons, especially if disabled. Ovadiyah at least known to have sold drugs (a complicated question given the justice/penal pipeline and disparities)- and who makes up the market? Not just folks from miles away. He did have friends and is reported by neighbors to have been friendly and served as a safe-passage to schools volunteer, said (according to DNAinfo) to have been rapping a few minutes before the assault. He did sometimes frequent area playgrounds under circumstances that were questioned. Nevertheless, Ovadiah was gunned down in cold blood following an argument in which, according to direct police statement and witnesses, he refused to the person who then shot him to not-testify against him - shot twice in the head at close range in broad daylight Although Police said at Monday's meeting that the the assailant(s) were from well out of the area, this seems hard to mesh with other information. Weeks later no one was in custody.

DNAinfo (Hyde Park-Kenwood, by Sam Cholke-http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140624/hyde-park/jackson-park-shooting-hairston-wants-up-penalties-for-crimes-parks) had the most thorough coverage of any media on this and other misuses and criminal activity (and also good things) in Jackson Park, especially at the north stretch from Stony Island east. (There are problems every year, at least in early summer). Most media and the U of C were silent on these shootings except for a short notice on a back page in the Wednesday June 25 issue-- but a e-blast (http://hpherald.com/2014/06/24/alderman-leslie-hairston-calls-for-strict-gun-penalties-in-parks) was issued on the 25th. .-- SunTimes makes you go online to tv.suntimes.com for a simplified notice.
Minutes of the Alderman's monthly meeting, below, and read as pdf) were disseminated by the East Hyde Park Kenwood Coalition, a watchdog and recommending body of buildings representatives

Alderman Hairston called a meeting quickly for Monday evening at Montgomery Place. Attending were the 3rd police district commander, officers from the 2nd district and University of Chicago Police, and officials from the Chicago Park District. Two rooms were packed, one with remote large screen projection. Police said resources are being augmented in the area, but targeted shootings are hard to prevent. The resources include 2 squad cars (up from one), as many as 14 bike officers, and officers for the underpasses. UCPD has nine bike officers for that are often on the lakefront and a patrol zone east of the train viaducts. Other patrol details were shared.

The most important outcomes/recommendations were to:
1) have the Iowa Building effectively cleared and shut at 9 pm (JPAC would also like to see enforced the frequently-violated requirement that playgrounds are shut at 8 pm and that they be checked)
2) make the PD rule that parks are gun-free special safety zones a city ordinance as for school grounds, doubling the penalty for gun-related felonies in parks. (This would be introduced by Ald. Hairston Wed. June 27 and go to committee- residents will be able to speak at committee hearings, maybe in July)
3) increase proactive patrol and prompt clearance at park closing time and as needed- the alderman will seek also promised sweep of the pay lot on South Shore Drive and police to watch 55th and 56th
4) fix the lighting at the Iowa building etc.
5) examine whether the current cameras in the vicinity are sufficient.

Those at the meeting had many questions and suggestions s and desire that police follow through on past promises and diligence, and encourage people to report and witnesses to cooperate -- while also acknowledging the service we do get and relatively low crime rates in Hyde Park. Police shared personal safety tips.

JPAC officers were assured at a separate meeting that the PD does not and will not issue permits for gatherings in the Iowa building area; if large gatherings, especially with amplified equipment, are encountered, residents should call police and park security.
JPAC will hold a security review and ideas session at its picnic meeting July 14, 6:30 pm at the Iowa Building. One of the foci will be long-term solutions for the many ongoing abuses at the structure (which is historic, and the object is to change behavior and use). The council has been cleaning up the building and kicking out sleepers on a consistent basis-- (and one wonders why, if police are supposedly patrolling, the suspicious occupation and activities are continual).
JPAC is also undertaking an examination and monitoring program for security problems in the entire park. The Park District is likely to make some changes of its own.

From East Hyde Park Kenwood Coalition, 6-25-14 Minutes by David Myles

Alderman Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward Alderman Commander Jim Jones, 3rd District CPD
Alonzo Williams, Lake Front Supervisor, Chgo. Park Dist. Lorenzo Chew, Security Chgo. Park Dist.
Sargent Ware, Chicago Police Dept. 2nd District University of Chicago Police Officer

At least four Coalition members attended including Mary Foote, Vera Wilkinson, Joe Peterson, Jake Young and David Myles in the hospitality room and overflow room where a remote monitor and audio was available to those in this room. Local media was present along with a WGN camera crew.

Alderman Hairston called this emergency community meeting earlier in the day in response to the prior evening’s shooting and murder that occurred Sunday June 21st at approximately 7:15pm in the Park District’s Iowa Building located at 56th and Everett Drive. According to the police, this was a targeted shooting at close range killing a reported gang member and shooting and wounding his relative who survived. A third person was also present in addition to the shooter who fled the scene. No arrests have been made as this incident is being investigated by the CPD detectives. Numerous questions from community residents were asked and answered.

The Chicago Police Department outlined their manpower assigned to the Lakefront which includes 7 – 9 bike patrol officers from 56th South on the Lakefront (3rd Police District); 7 bike patrol officers from 31st – 56th Street (2nd Police District) that work nightly until 2 am. The 2nd District also assigns beat car (Shore Drive area) and two (2) overtime cars (4 officers) that patrol Jackson Harbor and Promontory Point. The police mentioned that social media can quickly organize a “flash mob” and asked residents to immediately call 911 when large numbers of persons converge in any area and the police will respond.

The University of Chicago conducts joint operations (w/CPD) conducting “seat belt checks” in the vicinity of 56 & 57th and Shore Drive and have “blue light” posts (not manned) at the 56 & 57th Street tunnels to the Lakefront. There are 10 U of C bike patrol officers and a beat car assigned to east Hyde Park near the METRA tracks. {After the meeting, I asked the officer what determines where the University creates manned post as witnessed on several street corners. Answer: Post are assigned security personnel only on the campus where data indicates historical hot spots.}

The Chicago Park District stated that groups larger than 50 persons are required to have a Park District Permit to assemble. The District asked for neighbors to call 911 when large numbers of persons converge in a park or when loud music is played and the Police are instructed to request Permits or to disperse the crowd if a Permit(s) isn’t produced. The Park District was asked if the Parks could be closed earlier than 11 pm and the response was “yes”. {Following the meeting, I emailed Alonzo and asked what legally had to happen to close the Lakefront park earlier than 11 pm.}

Alderman Hairston is drafting language for an Ordinance to be introduced to City Council to ban guns in the parks and to designate the parks “Safe Zones” and to tighten the offenses for crimes committed in the parks. She plans on introducing this ordinance at Wednesday’s Council meeting that will go to Committee for Hearings before retuning to the Council for action. If such legislation passes, signs will be posted in the park warning of the Gun Ban and Safe Zones. The Alderman mentioned that surveillance cameras currently exist at the MSI and near the pedestrian tunnels that are being reviewed as part of this criminal investigation. She offered to review these camera angles to see if the Iowa Building is properly included for future surveillance.

Here are some links highlighting the incident:
From DNAinfo Chicago


From HP Herald


Herald online message June 25

Jun 24, 2014
Alderman Leslie Hairston calls for strict gun penalties in parks

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) addresses crowd during Monday night meeting about last weekend’s shooting in the Iowa Building

Staff Writer

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said Monday that she would like to see the same penalties for carrying guns in parks as near schools.

“I think this is something good that can come out of something not so good,” said Hairston, who shared her plan at a meeting yesterday at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Shore Drive. The meeting was held to discuss a Sunday murder in Jackson Park, in which police said an unknown offender shot two men in the park’s Iowa Building, on the 5600 block of South Everett Avenue.

Hairston said she would seek to extend the current penalties for carrying guns along school “safe passage” routes — a month in jail and up to $5000, for first time offenders — to parks. She plans to introduce an ordinance in City Council Wednesday.

“I’m sure that I will have the backing of my City Council members,” Hairston said. “Because this same meeting could be taking place in Lincoln Park. This same meeting could be taking place in Beverly. It’s just that it’s taking place in Hyde Park right now.”

July 1 or 2- the second big crash of the summer at 56th and Stony Island, which is a serious hazard stop. From DNAinfo.org Hyde Park/Kenwood (Sam Cholke)

The same source gives information on the June 30 shooting a couple blocks outside Kenwood- 50th and Evans. A 17 and a 15 year old were shot from a van. 17 year old Michael Patton of suburban Glenwood Heights died. At least 7 shots were fired and at least one other person was shot. Neighbors said te circumstances, in the rainstorm, did not seem innocent.

Shooting at 46th and Ellis weekend of June 7-8.

Armed robberies by a team of 3. 56th/57th Everett and South Shore Dr., underpasses. June 6, 7. Patrols have been increased.

From the Herald. By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

The Chicago Police recently issued a warning about robberies at the north end of Jackson Park.

The robberies occurred in the vicinity of the south 5600 and 5700 blocks between Stony Island Avenue and Everett Drive in June.

In the instances, three offenders approached victims, displayed a handgun and announced a robbery. The three offenders are each described as African American males roughly 5 feet 6 inches tall, 16 to 18 years old and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. One of the offenders was seen with corn rolls or dreads, dark jeans and a dark long sleeve shirt. The other two offenders are described having dark complexions and fade hairstyles.

Chicago Police Department recommends that people be aware of their surroundings, report suspicious activity immediately, remain calm if confronted by an assailant, remember unique physical characteristics, never pursue an assailant and provide information to the police, dial 911 and remain on the scene when possible.

Recent police actions include May 9 gunshots at the Point

Memorial Day weekend 2014. Aaron Rushing, a promising guitarist in Kenwood Academy Jazz Band scheduled to take part in a performance at Symphony Center May 30, was shot to death at c. 1100 E. 47th St. No one was in custody as of May 29.
Also two shootings. Sat 11:15 pm Dante Williams was shot in his car by someone pulling alongside at 54th and Harper. Teenagers forming disturbances starting with bonfires at the Point and being flushed, Saturday and Sunday Memorial weekend down 53rd and 55th, where they blocked traffic and caused disturbances. Shootings also occurred in Woodlawn.

Expect work on various streets including 54th near Blackstone, 53rd Harper-Lake Park (the latter is protested by businesses).

Mosquito larvicide is being dropped into catch basins to reduce mosquito's.

53rd Street Sewer Lining summer 2014

Crews will be performing work on a Sewer Lining Project on 53rd Street from South Cornell Avenue to East Hyde Park Boulevard.
This project will rehabilitate the existing sewer without the conventional digging method, and is intended to minimize, perhaps even eliminate, street cave-ins that result from failure in old sewers.
During work days, mobilization will start at 6:00 a.m. with work commencing at 7:00 a.m. and is expected to complete daily by 7:00 p.m. No parking signs will be posted in the immediate area of work a day before scheduled work. Residents are urged to move their vehicles away from the work site to avoid being towed.
To prevent odors in your home, please pour two to three cups of water into each basement floor drain. Please also restrict your water usage as much as possible.
A City Engineer will be on-site during the duration of work to answer questions. For any other questions or concerns, please call 311.

August 2014- expect work to start on resurfacing Garfield Blvd. from King to the Dan Ryan.

Where to go to find out reroutes, closures etc. NotifyChicago.
http://www.cityofchicago.org/oemc. https://webapps.cityofchicago.org/NotifyChicago/
(To sign up http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/oem/providrs/edu/svcs/sign_up_for_notifychicago.html.

Create account at http://www.alertchicago.org. )
http://www.transitchicago.com or Twitter@CTA.






Be aware of sophisticated robbers/burglars who especially target seniors and others working outside around their homes.

Managing summer-


Extremely high temperatures can be particularly hazardous for children, the elderly, those with special needs, and pets.
It is important to treat extreme heat temperatures as you would any other emergency. This means being personally prepared whether you are athome, work, or on-the-go.


Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and soft drinks.

Stay indoors and, when possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.

Take cool baths or showers; use cool towels.

Wear loose, light cotton clothing.

Avoid preparing and eating heavy meals and using cooking ovens.

Avoid or minimize physical exertion.

Do not let anyone sit in a hot, parked car, even for a few minutes

If you must be out in the heat:

Limit your outdoor activity to morning & evening hours

Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.

Try to rest often in shady areas

Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat & sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen.

http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/ChicagoAlertWeb/resources/pdf/Heatbooklet.pdf http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.1a019a978f421296e81ec89e43181aa0/?vgnextoid=a69ff6c5fd47b110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

Date alerts-

Repavings including 55th Lake Park to Blackstone- likely to be anywhere!, sometimes with "fresh oil."

Roadwork on links from Lake Shore Drive to Stevenson/Kennedy continue. Weekend of 4th-6th mainly affect Stevenson ramps. Weekend of 1th-13th impact LSD, including week of 14th intemittent closures and reductions to as few as one lane mainly after 9 pm, but some daytime.

Some of the buses serving Union station - HP - Union station bus terminal and routing have changed.
Lyric Opera drop off and pickup have changed. Wabash remains mostly closed, affecting cross streets.


A brief introduction

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER: The sustainability of communities is largely determined by how well communities first invest citizens with a having a say in community change and decision-making and second keep people coming there-- connecting, staying in a place that gives a sense of character, quality of life, ability to work and thrive, and provide sufficient amenities, a sense of good schools and public safety. Sustainability depends on how well the people work together to manage challenges and opportunities. One of the strongest measures of such a community is its diversity and inclusion-- and that has long been a hallmark and pride of Hyde Park and Kenwood, but some fear it is eroding. It should not be surprising that the majority of the hot topics are related to guarding or enhancing the qualities enumerated above. (See Profiles and looks at Hyde Park.)

Hyde Park has had several defining moments: Lakeshore suburban resort after Paul Cornell won one of the first commuter stops in the country. Growth after the Chicago Fire to become a larger resort with mansions and hotels. Annexation to Chicago, then World's Columbian Exposition, founding of the 2nd University of Chicago, and creation of huge parks were followed by fill-n and maturation of an upper middle and upper class solid neighborhood that also had room for belts of its cottage homes, commercial districts that served much of the South Side--all while keeping its resort cachet. In the 1920s the Illinois Central was electrified, leading to a dense belt of high rises in the east and three-flat infill to the west. Decline and crowding of housing and commercial and changing demographics by postwar era lead to a crisis in which the University, neighbors and city undertook massive urban renewal while keeping a varied historic housing stock. At the change of millennia, new unease arose--is Hyde Park being left behind by revitalizing parts of the South Side? Is it becoming unaffordable? Is it too sparce especially in retail--or conversely having its character challenged by new development and density? Should it be a destination community or not? Many new approaches, especially growing the arts are stepping forward. And still, there is the ambivalence about the 800 pound gorilla that plays such an important role in defining Hyde Park.

Some specific Key Hot Topics and Subjects and which of the hot topics pages hold their discussions and provide links to detail pages

53rd Street & Lake Park Business and TIF and SSA Districts, traffic,Vue53 (Development, University)
Accessibility and Complete Streets walkable in all seasons (Getting Around)

Affordability, ability to stay (Affordability)
Development, Community Planning, Managing Growth, and Preservation
Harper Court (Development, also University)
Harper Theater (Development, also University)
Health Care changes, diminishment (Quality, University)
MAC Properties/Antheus Capital (Affordability, Development, see also Antheus, Affordable Housing)
Nonprofit and Service Sectors healthy, working together (Quality)
Parking meter conversion and rising costs, parking on the lakefront (Getting Around)
Parks, Lakefront and Green and Open Space; proposals for Jackson Park revitalization(Quality)
Preservation and restoration (Development)
Public Safety (Quality)
Schools and Kids, Youth Programs and Opportunities, schools on probation (Schools)
Sustainability (Quality)
Transit and Parking (Getting Around))
University of Chicago- role, community programs and engagement, growth, properties, policies, Town-Gown relations
Unresponsive officials...

"Top remaining" list in 2014:

University of Chicago civic engagement,
Health Care Services/Delivery/Policies,
Crimes/violence, UCPD exercise of powers,
Schools closings, on probation/CPS policies (but good things happening also such as CAC),
Nonprofits, businesses, residents, public services and places suffering from the recession,
Decline of affordable rental housing esp. for seniors, families, adn lesser income middle class professionals,
Loss of small local businesses,
Recessionary and debt overburden threat to city services,
Worry about effects of city, state corruption and limited ethics reform,
Need for better planning and zoning

Newly present or to be grateful for:

Campus projects including Logan Center for Arts; growing jazz festival and many other festivals/fairs/community events; SHoP, Community Players and other innovative; ; many new businesses opening - exceeding closures it seems.