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Jackson Park News, Bulletins, Issues, and Notable
Check back often as this page is always being updated! Gary Ossewaarde And visit jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org and
Events and meetings.- PUBLIC MEETINGS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR PHASE 2 ON OBAMA CENTER, GOLF, FRAMEWORK PLANNING+ NEXT OPEN SESSION SEPT 21, 25 4-8PM SOUTH SHORE CULTURAL CENTER
NIGHT OUT IN THE PARKS AND GENERAL CALENDAR (calendar in pdf for July-Sept.)
Bulletins including what's new on Wooded Island restoration project
Bobolink and the golf proposal
Report from JPAC's ON THE TABLE potluck discussion.
Brief report on the Obama Center design unveiling May 3 2017.
To a good quick summary introduction on major proposed or possible changes in Jackson and neighboring parks by Sam Cholke and Tanveer Ali 8/8/17.
Senior games, adaptive golf tournament, family camping on Wooded Island are among the many programs coming to Jackson Park- read calendar.
JPAC MONTHLY MEETING- normally 2nd Monday a 7 pm in the fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island.
the October meeting is yet to be set due to Columbus Day, when th fieldhouse is closed.
JPAC Golf Proposal Review Committee July 2017 report, conditional endorsement of golf consolidation project.
Read in pdf.
Darrow (Columbia) Bridge to be restored, timetable revealed
August 22, CDOT discussed, sought public input at the fieldhouse on initial concept plans to restore Darrow Bridge. Plan concepts include clear bike-pedestrian paths from Stony Island eastward around the Music Court to the Lake Shore Drive underpasses. With funding (c. $6M) secured, work now concentrates on design, approvals and on the construction in 2019. Planning is currently in phase 1- engineering, environmental studies, structure evaluation, and public meetings leading to the project report. Historic ornaments will be reinstalled or replicated with some compromises as per ADA, safety and other modern standards.
JPAC led the calls for the bridge’s restoration via petitions and letters from community organizations, individuals, and elected officials (and lots of emails and phone calls). Support and approvals from many agencies (local, state, and federal, including historic oversight) as well as assemblage of funding (mostly federal) were required for this state-owned bridge. Frankly, it was not high priority since it is not an auto roadway, and being historic, it is expensive to fix, involving taking it completely apart including the abutments. We were repeatedly told that a temporary bridge would be nearly as expensive and as hard to get approval for (let alone, where would be room?). Initial grant applications were denied. Possibly, embarrassment at the situation in light of park selection for the Obama Center moved the project along. Meanwhile there has been and continues to be a fundamental disruption to park circulation creating great inconvenience for many.
Input included providing security by closing off access under the bridge to prevent fires being set. (The bridge is difficult to light and monitor. There was access under the bridge during the Columbian Expo and restored about 2002.) Among other things asked was park signage in the vicinity. Abutments date from a narrower 1880s bridge with fancier railings, across a neck between the “North Pond” and lagoons to the south. A new bridge was built for the Columbian Exposition, and a wider bridge retaining Expo decoration was building 1895. Restorations were done in 1942 and 1961. It once served traffic around the whole Museum- blocked in 1995.
Visit in Facebook CDOT News, email email@example.com. 312 744-3600.
August 23, Wednesday and August 24, Thursday, 4-8 pm.Phase II. Chicago Dept. of Transportation presents and showed a looped video and answered questions and took comments around power board stations in open house format on its decisions and plans on the roads and circuation/mobiilty in Jackson and South Shore Cultural Center parks and environs. New were plans to add a southbound lane on Lake Shore Drive between 57th and Hayes, rebuilding and widening the 59th LSD bridge, making Hayes 4 lane without parking (that they said needs to be replaced) and with reconfigured intersections, an added lane on Stony Island (but keeping parking) between 59th and Hayes, rethought parking garage at Midway/Stony including bus etc. drop off (to be paid for by the Foundation (which will be deeded parking rights), and making 57th 2-way between Stony and Lake Park.
FOR THIS AND THE FOLLOWING MEETINGS, INFORMATION AND COMMENTS CAN BE SEEN AND GIVEN ON southlakefrontplan.com. AND VIEW THE VIDEOS AND DETAILS AT
CONTACT AT https://southlakefrontplan.com/contact-us.
September 14, Thursday, 5-7+ pm. Obama Foundation holds an open meeting with the foundation, museum and landscape teams at Regency McCormick Hyatt Hotel, Regency Ballroom, 2233 S. King Drive.
(Not Sept. 21) September 25, Monday, times tba prob. 4 or 5-8 pm. Chicago Park District, Obama Foundation and JP Golf Alliance will present revised plans and take public questions and comments in open format. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive. Makeup Sept. 27 at tba.
September 27, Wednesday, 4-8 pm. Chicago Park District, Obama Foundation and JP Golf Alliance will present revised framework and project plans and take public questions and comments incl. on Framework Plan in open format. At Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island.
LINKS TO PARK DISTRICT ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED TO SUPT KELLY AT THE JAN. 9 2017 JPAC MEETING (and in the future at the January 24 ward meeting) and to SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS are in the Park District website (chicagoparkdistrict.com) homepage (updates) or go to News and Events and find them in the Jackson Park or South Shore Cultural Center park pages.
Oral questions and answers from the January 9 JPAC meeting will be in the February Newsletter.
WORKDAYS- . August 12 Bobolink Meadow. July 29 (moved)- Wooded I 10-1,
COUNCIL MEETING- August 14 (MONDAY 7 PM FIELDHOUSE).
Page contents below.
INDEX TO NEWSLETTERS from 2006 to date
(The most recent online newsletter is updated until the next one goes online)
JANUARY 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION Includes much discussion of Wooded Island issues, rules, & signage
FEBRUARY 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION Includes the Jan 9 Q and A on golf proposal with Supt Kelly and Report of the Special Golf Course Committee.
MARCH 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION Much discussion of park issues and planning.
MAY 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
JUNE 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
JULY 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
AUGUST 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
SEPTEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
OCTOBER 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
NOVEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER. PRINTABLE PDF VERSION
Log, schedule and contacts for VOLUNTEER WORKDAYS
Minutes and Resolutions (through August 2017)
To new page on the Golf proposal (page under construction/update)
To Project 120 information including links to MOU et al (in this page).
Project 120 page by itself, updated
To GLFER/Army Corps project (in this page. in its own page.) w NEW INFORMATION (here an update)
Obama Library page- full background and updates with links. You can sign up for notices and info from the Foundation at my.barackobamafoundation.org/hello and visit www.go.obama.org
Our official website is jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org. Calendar jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org/events
JPAC'S lively FACEBOOK PAGE with new pics- (please like us) https://www.facebook.com/JacksonParkAdvisoryCouncil/
NOW AVAILABLE! OUR MOBILE APP TOUR- at home or in the park including 8 locales.-
JACKSON PARK IN YOUR POCKET. Downloadable for free at www.vamonde.com. Or go to our website.
MEETINGS, APPEALS, WORKDAYS, EVENTS
Council meeting November 13(2nd Monday) 7 pm at the fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island. Presentation-
Special public meetings on South Framework Plan, the Obama Center, Golf, roads- phase 2 are scheduled- see above. The Park Distict team is looking with great seriousness at the many public comments. Comments in full and summary formats should be posted on the sites below by the 4th week of July.
Surveys and posting walls are available at southlakefrontplan.com and obama.org.
https://go.obama.org/landscape-survey/. www.chicagoparksgolfalliance.org. See also project links on page 1 and Friends of the Parks list of media reports and opinion- from www.fotp.org.
In addition. the Obama Foundation wishes circulated far and wide its Request for Proposals for a General Contractor-
Thanks to Chicago Cares, One Block-One City and others and JPAC volunteers- August 19 100 folks cleaned up in Jackson Park, including 63rd st. Beach.
Full list of events
November 25, 2017, 1 pm sharp. Nature tour with Infernal Noise- learn to ID sounds and calls in nature. Meet at the fieldhouse.
BULLETINS (To from July 2017 Newsletter)
We are pleased to announce that Wooded Island has been open permanently for all visitors since Oct. 22nd 2016. In November, 2017, fences, except around the staging areas (and of course Darrow Bridge) have been removed.
Jake Young, assoc. steward and JPAC IT, wrote the following November 7 2017
[See this in our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ JacksonParkAdvisoryCouncil/ posts/1697018876975373]
For those of you who haven't ventured over to Jackson Park in the past week, I'm happy to report the majority of the fences have come down! This allows access to new paths and overlooks just east of Cornell and on the north/south sides of the lagoons. There's still some fencing around the staging area in the SW corner of the park, as this project is ongoing through Fall 2019.
While there has been a lot of discussion regarding Jackson Park recently, there hasn't been much talk about the nearly $8 million project focused solely on ecological restoration. The Water Resources Development Act authorized this federal project through Section 506, the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program (GLFER). It's a 5 year capital improvement project to promote wildlife habitat within the park through a historically-based landscape preservation plan.
The project partners include the Chicago Park District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Project 120 Chicago. Additionally, leading Olmsted experts at Heritage Landscapes worked on the site designs, while Applied Ecological Services worked on the construction. Lauren Umek, the CPD Project Manager, has done an amazing job coordinating all of the moving parts of this complex project.
The current project scope covers nearly 83 acres of natural areas: the enhancement of 58 acres at Wooded Island and the lagoons and addition of 24 acres of new natural areas surrounding the island, near the Statue of the Republic, and along the west side of Lake Shore Drive.
The ecosystem improvements include the installation of over 180 trees, 11,000 shrubs, and over 600,000 native plants, that include more than 300 different species of trees, shrubs, ferns, vines, grasses, and flowering plants that will increase the biological diversity of the park and provide critical habitat and beautiful scenery for park visitors.
To improve access and circulation throughout the park the following has been installed: 9 overlooks along the water’s edge, nearly 8,000 linear feet (lf) of new, crushed stone pathways, and the reconstruction of almost 4,000 lf of existing pathways on Wooded Island.
There are still many plants to install, so staying on the paths and respecting people working on site remains important. Everyone now has the opportunity to enjoy the space while improvements continue to be made.
On a different note, I'd like to thank JPAC President Louise McCurry for being a tireless park advocate, who, among other things, has been responsible for overseeing 1000's of volunteer hours in Jackson Park this year alone. And, thank you to Jerry Levy for his continued stewardship of wonderful Wooded Island, and to Norm Bell/Gail Parry for their ongoing stewardship efforts at beautiful Bobolink Meadow.
In addition to having these wonderful natural areas to enjoy, we're beyond lucky to have such passionate people volunteering their time to nurture them. Good neighbors indeed!
Jake / JPAC
PS - If you're interested in seeing a few photos of the new paths and current conditions, I've shared some at the following link.
DID YOU KNOW...about the Bobolink Meadow. Norm and Gail write...July 2017
Over the past couple of years Bobolink Meadow has received positive attention from at least 2 prestigious conservation organizations. Last Fall we had a special workday for members of The Nature Conservancy board of directors, and this Spring The Nature Conservancy sent a documentary film crew from Washington D.C. to Bobolink and other sites to film for a documentary they are preparing on volunteerism in nature areas. In 2013 the Bobolink Meadow received the prestigious Chicago Wilderness award for Restoration and Native Landscaping.
There is now (July 2017 some concern that the Meadow and woods could be affected by plans to expand the driving range. WE HAVE BEEN ASSURED THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Read more. IT DOES APPEAR THE INFORMAL DOG AREA WILL BE REMOVED OR MOVED FOR THIS PROJECT.
CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT, CITY OF CHICAGO HOLDING COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF JACKSON & SOUTH SHORE PARKS Meetings will include presentations from CDOT, Obama Foundation
The Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago today announced that they will begin to hold community meetings to discuss the future of Jackson and South Shore Parks in light of the addition of the Obama Presidential Center and related park improvements.
“The upcoming addition of the Obama Presidential Center and plans to enhance the golf courses at South Shore and Jackson Park provide a unique opportunity for community and city residents to help shape the future of the South Lakefront and surrounding communities,” said Michael Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “Residents will be a critical part of this process, and we look forward to receiving valuable input.”
The meetings, billed as Community Conversations on the future of Jackson & South Shore Parks, will be hosted by the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago and will include brief presentations from the Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Obama Foundation. However, the main purpose of the meetings will be to obtain community feedback about the future of Jackson and South Shore Parks.
The meetings will kick off a framework planning process for a new South Lakefront Framework, an updated version of the 1999 framework plan encompassing Jackson Park, Washington Park and South Shore Cultural Center. Given the addition of the Obama Presidential Center and related park improvements, the framework will first focus on changes to Jackson and South Shore Parks, with a discussion about Washington Park to be held at a later date. The original South Lakefront Framework Plan, authorized in 1999, was intended to define the changing needs of the parks, provide a plan to enhance each of the park’s commitments to serving the neighboring communities and to preserve the intended historic character. These plans served as guides to future improvements within the park; many of these improvements have been completed, including ecosystem restoration and cultural landscape preservation of Wooded Island in Jackson Park, interior and exterior renovations to South Shore Cultural Center in keeping with its historic character, and new neighborhood activity centers such as playgrounds, basketball courts and a dance studio in Washington Park.
The Park District encourages community members/organizations to attend the meetings and voice their opinion on the updates to the South Lakefront Framework. For more information on these projects and the South Lakefront Framework, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict. com.
From the Jackson Park Advisory Council JPAC Newsletter July 2017 (June minutes and page 5)
[and see below for latest concern]
Golf and park coordinating committees. Jerry Levy, chair, said the committees will meet again after the public meetings presenting the engineering and design reports and proposed golf layouts. Alderman Hairston’s golf and park advisory council toured the parks last Thursday. The Alderman spoke of infrastructure and shoreline needs for park and community that should in any case be addressed. CPD Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly assured that the parks are being evaluated in their entirety, potential plans being coordinated, and public input process being set up leading to comprehensive park plans. He emphasized that the Obama and golf proposals are turning points in really discussing, looking at these parks. Committee members gave feedback.
Meetings started on JP Framework Plan, Obama Center, Golf Course, roads and infrastructure
[This commentary reflects views of its author, Gary Ossewaarde, and not necessarily the Advisory Council]
WHERE TO READ MORE, POST COMMENTS OR TAKE SURVEYS. www.southlakefrontplan.com,
https://go.obama.org/landscape-survey/ www. chicagoparksgolfalliance.org. See also project links on page 1 and Friends of the Parks list of media reports and opinion- from www.fotp.org.
About 600 attended the first of this first set of public meetings at South Shore Cultural Center, 150-200 at that at Hyde Park High School, and a large crowd was turned away from the small venue (75 seats) for the 5th Ward meeting June 27. The meetings started with 15 minute presentations on each of the four subjects by the Park District, Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, Obama Foundation, and Chicago Department of Transportation, with Smith Group/JJR engineering giving parts of the presentation and moderating. These gave background, vision and objectives, general plans, ways the park would change under each, and timelines. Renderings were either preliminary and conceptual or else mostly large scale rather than detailed. The Obama Center, being the smallest site and somewhat further along in design gave the best sense of the envisioned spaces and programming. Engineering studies are just coming in for golf and for roads and circulation along with the first Tiger Woods firm layout proposal for the golf course. It was evident that coordination has just started, in part because major decisions such as on roadway closures or remakes and who would fund underpasses and shoreline work have not yet been made. In addition, the main projects have expanded although they affirmed each is within its acreage footprints and every displaced feature will have 1 for 1 replacement (although for sports there will be a demand study, with some space possibly being outside this park –it is asserted there is not room enough for both all existing and all new things.) (Also, the Park District is mapping, assessing the state of, and costing every feature in the park.) There seemed to be different timelines, with the Obama Center to go before the Chicago Plan Commission as early as November. The golf planning is ongoing and driven by funds raised and desire for a tournament in 2021. The Framework Plan revision is supposed to put out for comment and meetings later in the summer, with process to be wrapped up by the end of the year—perhaps after major projects have received approval and possibly not giving enough time to be well thought out and as reflective as possible of community consensus and felt park needs. Nor has it been shown that much thought has been given yet to what features and activities should be in Jackson and what in other nearby parks.
The presentations were followed at the first two by breakouts with a mostly-digital survey interspersed with periods for comments and questions. Few questions were answered except where there was felt to be a clear misunderstanding, in part because they said a deliberate decision was made to listen before preparing working versions, and in part because there is as yet insufficient information or no decisions. There were comments and strong opinions pro and con on plans in part or in whole.
So, beyond those or informational matters, and assuming the major projects move forward…
What were some of the flashpoints that need to be given persuasive justification or addressed?
--The road closures, especially Cornell between 59th and 63rd Hayes and Midway EB Stony to Cornell and whether shifting to LSD and Hayes will make new problems and what might ameliorate that
--Sports field replacement /placement/how many (new track and field was shown south of the Obama Center)
--Fieldhouse future and site
--How much outdoor programming at the Center and its impact west and to nature areas as well as its incorporation of the present Perennial Garden site
-- Golf – can it truly stay affordable and serve the spectrum of users including local and stay sustainable and how much the site can be accessed by the general public
--Decision not to move the Driving Range but expand it at cost to tennis courts and dog friendly area and and need for a guarantee not to diminish or impact Bobolink nature area;
--Golf facility encroachment on courts etc on the west side
--Making the golf perimeter and fencing better and more inviting but not putting off communities
--Golf - amount of tree turnover and guarantee of biodiversity and environmental responsibility and gain.
--By far the major issue for South Shore was moving/reconfiguration and full replacement of the nature area.
--Impacts in the neighborhoods
JPAC’s golf committee and the Alderman’s council will assess studies and drawings now in hand.
Note, not in the above. JPAC's board is y concerned about proposed general expansion of the golf footprint and dominance in the park, squeezing much existing out, and the decision to keep and in place and expand the golf driving range. Problems include--
- potential threat to Boblink Meadow (permanent or during construction).
- loss the informal dog park and tennis courts to the northeast with no more than a vague commitment by pd to evaluate and consider 1:1 replacement (where, when?)
- opportunity loss- to realize Olmsted's plan for a great lawn and walking connection of the park along the wet side of the Drive, via open lands.
We are also concerned with golf proposal in our sister park South Shore to change the nature area, with ceding of prime lakeshore and its downtown and other views to golfers.
JPAC will be pressing address of these matters with the Golf Alliance, Park District and at the Alderman's Council and JPAC's golf committee.
Read a good introductory summary (and link to original with the map) to proposed and potential changes to Jackson and Surrounding parks. From Sam Cholke and Tanveer Ali in 8/8/17 DNAinfo post.
Let's Celebrate and Send our Congratulations to another Eagle Scout, Samuel Morin, completing his Eagle Scout Project August 27 2017 in Jackson Park organizing and directing his fellow scouts in the project of removing Invasive Species from the park. These teens will be our future Park volunteers and PAC members. Congratulations to Sam and his Dad, also longtime AYSO coach and players. Louise McCurry.
FROM THE FEBRUARY 2017 JPAC MEETING. At motion of Jerry Levy, JPAC voted to create a standing committee to review and seek coordination of construction and projects proposed and underway, in light of the transformation of the park and the need to look at the park as a whole. In additon to JPAC, invited participants would come from the fifth ward office, JPW, FOTP, Obama Foundation, the Golf Alliance, and the overseeing agencies CPD and CDOT.
More were invited. A fine meeting was held in March, summarized in the March minutes in the April Newsletter.
Also, a Kiddie College room will be coming to the current fieldhouse.
To Report on the On The Table dinner in May 2017.
For extensive discussion of comprehensive park planning, now underway, and who's strarting, including the Park District and JPAC committees, see the June Newsletter.
More detailed reports from the two committees will be posted after review by the committees.
Available from golf- January 27 2017.
Available from Projects and Park Coordinating March 6.
New information on Darrow (formally Columbia) bridge. JPAC received formal confirmation in August that funding to actually rebuild the bridge has been secured. The bridge, which belongs to the state, crosses the neck at the north edge of the east and west lagoons It is key bike and pedestrian connector east west in the north half of the park, and its historic repair is a key matter for all. Recently cores were observed being taken as part of Phase I engineering. At Alderman Hairston’s Ward meeting March 28, Luis Benitez, CDOT Asst. Chief Engineer reported that Phase I study should be ready within the year and Phase II engineering should then begin and take about a year, with construction to start in 2019. Most important is that funding for the whole has been secured. CDOT (Tanora Adams) reported at the May 8 2017 JPAC meeting. In mid-July, CMAP planning agency approved the reconstruction, which gives certainty. A public meeting will be scheduled for later 2017 (held August 22). Federal permitting still required. The reporting CDOT official was unable to confirm 2019 as start date. It is imporant to remember that the responsivble agency for Darrow Bridge is the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Note that illegal activities and habitation as well as lack of maintenance brought the bridge to this state—we must all act now and plan for its future.
Darrow (Columbia ) Bridge. Tanora Adams from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) provided an update and answered questions. The bridge is formally Columbia Bridge, as an extension of Columbia Drive to the east. It was originally built in the 1880s, 28 feet wide, and rebuilt for the Fair the in 1895- 56 fet wide and long. The bridge was rebuilt in 1941 and 1961. Phase I evaluation and planning is still underway. Work is funded 80 federal (SAWA program) and 20 state at $6M and will commence and be completed in 2019. It will be usable for ambulances and police as well as bikes and pedestrians- but will not be able to accommodate fire trucks. Work will include removal of the existing structure and abutments, steel beams and wall and replacing them (exact options are under consideration--access to the abutments, reestablished about 2002, may not be provided). It will be rebuilt historically, under ongoing approvals by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, including the railings part were used on the grounds of the Columbian Exposition. Paths will be provided (provisionally as of now) as far as Stony Island).
President Obama, design team unveil concept design and program for the Center May 3, 2017. GO
Links to other views.
The following will be revised and report added on a very encouraging discussion of the landscape design team with experts and communtiy stakeholders was held May 10
At South Shore Cultural Center supporters and leaders of stakeholder groups held a media event and discussion of the concept plan. A model and drawings were on view and the President shared his vision then took three questions on which he and the design team fleshed their inspiration and ideas. Neither the design or the programming are set in stone and will be subject to much public input.
As summarized in a Sun-Times release, the theme of Obama was, 'It's about hope.' [as for th plan,] Architect Dina Griffin said the design called for creating just one tall building, and having the others covered with landscape." Separately,
Friends of the Parks said it has not yet had time to review and again called for more comprehensive planning (which judging from its own release is heavily under way- once studies and coordination, including with many groups, are ready, a larger process can begin.)
Full report in the Obama Center page.
May 10 a large but select group (ranging from local organization leaders and stakeholders to Friends of the Parks and Chicago Botanic Gardens and other landscape and natural landscapes experts) met at the Washington Park Refectory with the Landscape Design team for the Center--Michael Van Valkenburgh, Heidi Natura of Living Habitats, and Ernie Wong-- the last 2 are South Siders. They explained much of the rationale behind each element and integration, including the visitor's perspective and experience, and reasons Cornell Drive should go. Changes and adjustments were already underway and would continue. He asked the group's input on a number of options, and their concerns and ideas. One was that there needs to be better connection and invitation to Woodlawn- not easy with the railroad and the low income housing across the street. The team seemed very open and discerning, and very attuned to Olmsted.
Mike Strautmanis of the Obama Library Center addresses Woodlawn Summit March 18 2017
First, he said, the center is to be global, and urban and a community center and- most important--experience center that will build citizen engagement—train in how to engage and have an impact, as well as serve needs of the South Side communities. It will tell and build connection not just with the First Family’s story but the South Side’s Story. They don’t just want people to come and take ideas out into their communities, but also for there to be pathways and corridors for people to visit in the communities themselves. The designs will come, and there have been a lot of small and larger meetings, but a best plan for input is still under development. The Foundation seeks strong input into the design and program of the Center—there has not been much on their website from local people so far—people telling their stories and needs, and asks residents to visit http://go.obama.org/hometown.
For hiring and other direct involvement that will lead to sustainable careers, enterprises, and development, Strautmanis urged new approaches beyond a high standard and high targets.
Attendees spoke for a vision of the Center as an educator and human development engine. Attendees brought up the idea of a community benefits agreement, and there was much support and also skepticism. Strautmanis said he would continue to meet with the coalition groups seeking a multi-topic CBA, but he indicated he thinks there are better ways and encouraged thinking of benefits as broadly as possible. GMO
Golf update from Brian Hogan of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance (more updates in the golf page)
(As to Jackson Park Advisory Council.) “We remain confident of our ability to raise $30 Million of philanthropic contributions. Pending the civil engineering studies and detailed construction estimates, we target $20M to golf course improvements, $5M for programming and operations, $5M for endowment to support maintenance and preferred pricing for local residents. Currently, we have collected preliminary donations to cover design services and short term operations. ..[I}n deference to the community review process, we have yet to collect funds related to construction costs until we can share design proposals and project timelines with our donors. Michael Ruemmler stated this to the Sun-times: ‘We’ve got a lot of people [who] are ready to go as soon as they can see some designs and make sure that everything works. We have to make sure that our community input is strong and that the designs are feasible… [P]eople want to make sure that it’s real before they give any hard-earned money.’” Hogan added, “Most importantly, funding is secured for the caddie program to begin this summer regardless of any design/construction timelines.”
Youth seeking caddy jobs this summer should write firstname.lastname@example.org.
President: Louise McCurry, 773 844-2225, email@example.com In November-December 2016, several concerns about Wooded Island were raised. At the December meeting, JPAC held an open discussion (albeit abbreviated) on these, Wooded Island rules and signage (including re dogs on the Island and fishing) and overnight security (not discussed but immediate issues are being addressed). There is also anxiety to look into some kind of parking option closer to the Island (no solution yet in sight) and to keep on the radar opening the trail around the south end of the lagoon as son as feasible, as well as a number of specific amenities concerns. Here are responses/discussion on some of these. See additional discussion in the December, January, and April Newsletters.
Questions raised about Wooded Island and signage and some responses
Lauren Umek, CPD project manager writes November/December 2016. (ed. By Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC)
The concerns [recently] brought up...are timely and already on our radar. Wooded Island and the areas around it are entering year 3 of a 5 year restoration project and while we did allow public access to Wooded Island this October, much of the work planned here is not complete and thus not all of the amenities have been replaced or installed yet. So, no, these are not trivial concerns to be mocked, but things that are very much on CPD’s radar and are in progress. I’ll address [the] main concerns [of a park-user’s letter to CPD:]
1. Water fountains – we are looking into an appropriate location for both best public access and efficient installation considering infrastructure for a new water fountain, but this won’t occur until spring at earliest.
2. Installation of a new bike rack near the Japanese garden is also in the works – again, this would happen in spring at the earliest due to weather.
3. There are several, at least 4 pairs of garbage and recycling bins on Wooded Island – a pair near each of the new overlooks as well as near the north and south entrances to the island. Many of these bins are a painted metal type, and not the larger, plastic style that were there and are common in other parks. (Receptacles [whose placement had raised concerns] are being moved off the overlooks themselves.)
4. The benches that are currently on Wooded Island are an older bench style and we are looking into repair or replacement options. Broken wood slats were replaced as a fix until a longer term solution is reached. Benches cannot be replaced under the Army Corps project as that project and its related funds are dedicated to ecosystem restoration (and not public amenities).
I am sympathetic to the “bump” feel of the new concrete pathway but encourage park users to view this as an opportunity to take a moment in our busy urban lives to slow down and appreciate the space, flora and fauna of the island. There are many other ways to travel on asphalt quickly on wheels throughout the city, but there is only one Wooded Island.
Regarding park rules and signage (by Lauren Umek)- New park signs were installed prior to re-opening of Wooded Island to the public as the site enters year 3 of the 5 year Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project. These new signs now include historic and nature-oriented photos of the park, maps, a description of the recent park improvements, and the park rules. These rules include Park District wide rules (i.e. permits required for large gatherings and no littering, alcohol, smoking, vehicles, etc.) as well as site specific rules that are determined by park staff. The rules on this sign, while the language has been adjusted, are the same as before with the addition of the new rule “Do not touch or climb on the Sky Landing artwork” that accompanies the installation of Sky Landing and is a standard rule for public art/non-playground structures. |
Of the rules that seem to be of conversation within the community – dogs and fishing – these rules are not new and were posted on signs to the island for several years, and were replaced with new, improved signs so that they would be more visible. Fishing has been and will remain prohibited from Wooded Island. There are currently no fish stocked in the lagoon at the moment (only small fish introduced for migratory birds), and will not be stocked for game fishing, so this rule is new but not really applicable at this time.
From Chicago Park District Code - Chapter 7, B10. a (1)
“… Animals may not enter or remain in any building, zoo, playground, harbor, lagoon, swimming pool, spray pool, garden, athletic field, animal or bird refuge, or other areas that may be designated by signs as prohibited areas….” The entire Code - Chapter 7, which covers laws, hours, restricted areas, destruction of property, fines, renaming, permits, and animals (B.10), is found in:
(See PDF version of this Newsletter for picture of current sign with rules.)
From one of the new signs: Natural Areas- Chicago Park District
- Remain on pathways at all times
- Do not feed the wildlife
- Littering, drinking alcohol, smoking, and use of all tobacco products are strictly prohibited
- Parties or large groups, etc. require a permit
- Dogs disturb wildlife and are not allowed on Wooded Island
- Unauthorized vehicles are prohibited on the island
- Fishing is prohibited in Wooded Island lagoons
- Bicycles must remain outside of the Garden of the Phoenix
- Do not touch or climb on the Sky Landing artwork
- Wooded Island closes at sunset. Violators are subject to arrest.
Please report any concerns or vandalism immediately to Chicago Park District Security (312) 474-2193.
From the November 14 2016 JPAC meeting minutes:
[Jerry] Levy reported that Army Corps work over the winter will be minimal. Among items he felt would enhance the Island and natural area experience are:
A path with a sign pointing to the south entry and one or two similar signs north of the Island to help people find their way,
Alternative parking such as the Museum west lot until the Darrow bridge is fixed and open,
Opening the path around the south end of the lagoons from the Island to Bobolink as soon as plants are established,
Benches at the lookouts, solutions to aesthetics of the trash cans there and erosion gulleys in the gravel,
Planning re: security concerns.
Levy moved, Kenneth Newman seconded, and approved that JPAC prepare a letter to the Museum of Science and Industry asking weekend parking in its west lot for access to Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden.
Placed on discussion agenda: concern about after hours security on the Island and asking the Park District for its protocol, ideas or options that could include an arm-gate at each end like at the Golf Driving Range drive.
From minutes of the December meeting
Karen Szyjka, manager of the Japanese Garden for CPD, talked about conditions and ideas for more full realization. The latter include expanded plantings under the tree rings and of ground cover and conifers, and expansion of the moss garden. The cherry trees were pruned in a way that creates an illusion of depth. She suggests a healing-walk brochure. CPD is meeting with designers about a replacement traditional fence or wall. (not to enclose the Skylanding sculpture-- she was asked to return with a set of options when ready.
Signage and rules on Wooded Island. A paper with questions was distributed by Jackson Park Watch and summarized by Margaret Schmid. Also, handouts re: the Island with responses to various questions, concerns, and requests (some by CPD project manager Lauren Umek), and sections of the CPD Code were distributed and summarized by the JPAC President and others. Highlights of responses: McCurry had conferred with CPD leadership-- regulations are uniform across the district. Tonight’s discussion revealed that more clarity may be needed regarding future of fish stocking and fishing and whether sign language about fishing may need changing in the future. Jerry Levy noted five signs on the Island that point out its designation as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary. [Ed.- other questions raised are considered in discussion pieces in the accompanying Dec. Newsletter.]
Jane Masterson sought more involvement of naturalists, including tree condition experts and suggested a nature subcommittee for JPAC- Julius Stanley moved the same. It was approved, but by consensus more discussion and implementation were deferred to the next meeting, with CPD experts asked to attend.
Questions raised in the Jackson Park Watch December 12 handout
(Response by Gary Ossewaarde)
Park District rules and Code. The whole Code was revised a few years ago, partly to address legislation, liability concerns, duty of responsibility/accountability, uniformity (and, doubtless control). They were reviewed by Friends of the Parks and committees of PACs. Changes were made before Board adoption, but there was never complete agreement. A code of clear rules would seem to be necessary, experience shows, but could perhaps be balanced by signs with icons or wording of how people CAN enjoy their park responsibly—as signs in schools and some in parks now do.
Fishing future for the lagoons. Fishing on the Island was past practice but in modern times formally not allowed. Ideas mentioned have been to move signage for fishing at least from the bridges, or have structures at some overlooks that serve fishers but prevent trampling of shore vegetation or bothering fishing birds-- but such have not so far been considered. GLIFER prospectuses did suggest larger size and species of fish down the road [and the Great Lakes Fishery part of the grant was the basis for fundign the Jackson Park project] , so clarification is needed. Adjacent Columbia Basin is stocked with game fish by the state, and good fishing is common in the harbors and Lake Michigan shore.
The question of dogs on the Island has been revisited often. JPAC has consistently supported no dogs, agreeing with most of the birding community and studies and in order to protect the Garden—again partly from experience with a small, irresponsible minority of dog owners. It seems highly unlikely, no matter if every park change happened, that most of the park would not be friendly to dogs on leash. In fact, JPAC has supported the idea of a dog-friendly area in the park.
There are at least five signs on and at the Island referencing the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary.
Renaming the Japanese Garden. Renaming the Japanese Garden. A few years ago, the garden’s conservators and CPD proposed a renaming because Osaka no longer sponsored the Garden: Interest by the larger Japanese community might be encouraged, and the site’s historical and cultural meaning and significance could be enhanced by honoring the Phoenix Pavilion, a gift of Japan and there 1893-1946. This writer’s understanding is that the change was publicly proposed at CPD board meetings (covering at least the usual comment period) and had no objections. The Superintendent (under CPD Code) then approved the change. The naming was not an issue in the large, small, and JPAC meetings since, about Project 120 and proposed enhancements at the Garden.
[Whether there should have been a larger discussion about and design information on the Skylanding sculpture (design was done late) is a policy matter that needs more examination. It was brought up, without design specifics, which were not developed early, at numerous public meetings, some quite large. As compared to other Project 120 ideas such as Pavilion at the Music Court (extrapolation upon a 2000 framework plan recommendation to restore the Music Court for small music presentations), the idea of a major public sculpture at the Garden/site of the 1893-1946 Phoenix Pavilion garnered little comment.]
Separate note, Jackson Park Watch brought some of these issues up at the Park Board meeting. CPD lawyers gave answers to points and board members said sufficient answers and time had been given.
December 18 Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a major golf course redesign and program, under Tiger Woods (TGR Design), WPGA, and Western Golf Association. Superintendent Kelly and a team are expected to first attend the JPAC meeting January 9, then there may be a larger-community meeting on this in late January or February.
Among newspaper articles--A Chicago Tribune article by Teddy Greenstein gives the project background and is at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/golf/ct-tiger-woods-south-side-golf-project-spt-1218-20161216-story.html. Article in the Dec. 17 Sun-Times by Fran Spielman focuses more on park impacts and issues. Link is:
Hyde Park Herald- hpherald.com/2016/12/16/tiger-woods-will-lead-design-for-golf-complex-in-jackson-park
JPAC has not yet held discussion on the matter.
To our new page on the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance proposal (under construction)
Meanwhile, JPAC has met with the Park District and gotten results or a plan of action forward on:
1 Security strategies, actions and patrols in specific parts of the park.
2 Protocol for work orders and drive-through checks of the park.
CPD Gen. Supt. and CEO MIKE KELLY and team discussed the golf proposal and other questions at the January 9 JPAC meeting.
Also, thanks to a $12M gift from Ken Griffin arranged by mayor Emanuel, the remaining sections of the Lakefront Trail, including by Promontory, Jackson and South Shore Cultural Center, will be refurbished, with where possible separation of bike and pedestrian traffic. Standard widths for th e 18 miles of Lakefront trail will be 12" asphalt for bikes and for pedestrians 14' asphalt plus 6' soft-mix on each side. Note that it will not be easy or perhaps possible to meet these standards in all sectors from Jackson south.
February 8 the PD boaard approved a $1.7 study and design by AECom of Los Angeles for the trail and the sepasration between bike and slower traffic whereever feasible. Work will inlcude drawings, community meetings, cost estimates, and plans for re-routing during construction. The money comes from the Griffin gift. Work on some parts starts spring 2017.
A stellar two seasons for JPAC- end of April workdays, May 10 On the Table dinner discussion, May 14 Migratory Bird celebration with activities, tours, education, work activity. May 31 public meeting on Project 120. June 18 It's Your Park Day cleanups and mulching in the Music Court, July 18 picnic, September 10 playground ribbon cutting and picnic on 67th St., September 17 beach sweeps, September 21 World Peace Day dedication of Peace Rising sculptures at the Iowa building, lots of groups helping with workdays. And looking forward to dedication of Yoko Ono's Sky Landing in October in the Garden of the Phoenix.
UPDATED WITH MORE SUBJECTS IN JANUARY NEWSLETTER.
Inquiry and questions about Wooded Island restoration project and reopening of the Island can be addressed to Lauren.Umek@chicagoparkdistrict.com or Jerry Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Updated Jan. 6)
IOWA BUILDING- PRESENTATION BY SCHOOL OF THE ART INST. OF CHICAGO STUDENTS, VISIONING DISCUSSION WAS HELD FRIDAY MAY 8 1 PM AT MONTOMERY PLACE and discussion at July 2015 meeting.
10,000 RIPPLES ART PROPOSAL AT THE JUNE 8 MEETING- read about Then the installation in September- read about it in the September and October Newsletters.
PROJECT 120/SKY LANDING- (READ/PRINT IN PDF) Yoko Ono dedicated “SKY LANDING” construction with ceremony June 12 2015 on the site of the historic Japanese Phoenix Pavilion from the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. The design was introduced May 24 2016 at the Art Institute of Chicago (see below). SKYLANDING was given a ceremonial dedication by Yoko Ono on October 17, 2016 and will be open to the public with the Island on October 22, 11 am from then on.
Officers elected to one-year terms November 14, 2016. President Louise McCurry, Vice President Anne Marie Miles, Secretary Gary Ossewaarde, Treasurer Dwight Powell.
Auxiliary board members- may be renewed in December: Jake Young and Cherry Theard (membership and media); Norm Bell & Gail Parry and Jerry Levy (Nature Committee and Site Stewards). Nominations for officers open at the October 11 JPAC meeting. Election is in November 2016.
JPAC WAS NAMED ONE OF TEN "GOLD PAC'S" AT THE MARCH 29 2015 PAC CONFERENCE!
JPAC officers helped plan, presented at and staffed a fine poster on the park at the conference at Truman College.
Notice- WOODED ISLAND AND LAGOONS HAVE BEEN FENCED OFF FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AS WORK CONTINUES DRAINING, GRADING,
HOWEVER, ACCESS TO THE ISLAND IS RESTORED OCT. 22, 2016 FROM 11 AM. (from the south end)
ALSO, DARROW BRIDGE IS SEALED OFF UNTIL IT CAN BE HISTORICALLY RECONSTRUCTED AS A ROAD STARTING IN 2- YEARS. Meanwhile, a new fence and sign saying "Road Closed" has been erected.
See more information in the Jackson Park homepage (link above), and in Minutes and Resolutions of JPAC, Jackson Park Timeline recent years, or JPAC's official website http://www.jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org and those of its allies and stakeholders, links given in the Jackson Park homepage.
About our meetings and program: Our aim is to:
1. Create more diverse community interest and network for our park ,
2.Expand the number of positive active members who WORK and otherwise contribute and expand our vision and impact, giving an equal voice to communities and interests, developing new park community leaders and networking with park areas with no previous voice.
3.Notify the PAC and others of park needs requiring solutions in ALL areas of our geographically large park community. Great parks make great communities.
Our programs are reaching these goals. They provide experienced park activists like you a golden opportunity to make a real difference, inspire, educate, serve as a role model, and encourage NEW Jackson Park activists to continue the work we have started.
Thank you for your patience as we build park community membership and leadership for today and the future!
(modified from release by Louise McCurry, president)
HYDE PARK HERALD IS PUBLISHED ON YOUTUBE THE ENTIRE JULY 14 2014 JPAC MEETING. By Andrew Holzman. The project is underwritten by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. The URL is:
Join JPAC- to 2017 membership form
To March 2017 Newsletter. In printable pdf .
Minutes and Resolutions (February 2017 now added).
HERE and linked: CONTENTS, THEN NEXT MEETING/EVENTS, NEWS/NOTABLE STARTS- (MAY 17 GALA, PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS, WOODED ISLAND/PARK ACCESS)
shortcuts to Latest on Army Corps Habitat Restoration incl Island 2015 closure (See in its own page. March 6 2015 report)
Project 120- public presentation of January 13 2015. PROJECT 120 page.
NEWS of ded of Sky Landing by Yoko Ono June 12 (by itself in pdf)
Obama Library (here)
Obama Library in page by itself- has new material not here
January 12 JPAC meeting open Library discussion in pdf.
NEWS ITEMS, Bulletins, MEETINGS/coming activities, CALENDAR. See also the most recent Newsletter.
Special workday- groups of teens coming to LaRabida July 20, 27- volunteer helpers needed
Park program registration fall reg starting August 4
Reflections on what was good, what needs attention given at July 11 2016 meeting.
From the Stewards, Natural areas/Wooded Island updates
How about this- suggestions, thoughts and criticism for JPAC or the park-
63rd St. Beach issues
Ahead and behind- great thanks
RECENT NEWS BITS
Cleanup by the 57th underpass
Painted panels from Japanese Pavilion found, to be restored and put on display in AIC
HORSES return to Jackson/Midway, including Iowa bldg July 25! But motorcyclists, car drivers disrespect park and people, some problems various areas being addressed by police.
Big accomplishments at LaRabida Aug. 2015- and important article on shore erosion and sand deprivation.
63rd beach and Schiff interactive fountain 2015- 2nd week of August Repairs were being finished and staff being assigned to watch fountain and kids
Two members added to board for membership and web/media, other actions at May 2015 meeting
10,000 Ripples proposed art project (read about by itself), and SAIC class project:
Iowa Building- improvements and new uses coming?
Thanks to the Parks Foundation help and tools for June 20 workday
Good birding in Bobolink in May 2015 despite fenced off Island,
Pickleball is back (as are croquet and lawn bowling)
Project 120: O'Donnell presented on JP restoration, plans June in Russia and Yoko Ono inaugurated her SKY LANDING
New on beach/Lake pollution safety measures
2014 AND BEYOND ITEMS:
Sky Landing design unveiled JPAC SKYLANDING PAGE
Cornell Drive in line for safety upgrades? (being studied, is it too much? will likely depend in part on Library selection)
Successful beach sweep Sept. 20 & latest on water testing at beaches
HPHS Stories focus on the parks
WITS reading program in 2014 culminates in WITS gift of books to launch library and JPAC w. donor gift of filled backpacks
Nike basketball tournament brings improvements, mentoring to park
DARROW BRIDGE- JPAC Herald letter. NEWS MARCH 2015, MAY 2016
We lost one of our kids
Security and shooting summer 2014
July 14- Security
Swimming and boating lessons sought
and an award given
They're up! replacement signs honoring the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary, signs designating the 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion open upper section the Eric Hatchett Pavilion.
Shakespeare in the Park August a huge success, reactivates the Music Court for public performances- expected again in June 2015
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY See also in own page. Formal announcement made May 12 - UC Bid. Architects were selected. Jackson Park was named the site in July 2016-- but not official yet.
Beach pollution and swim bans - progress but being revisited- Alliance for Great Lakes planning beach sweep Sept. 20
Playlot dedications held
White City tours
Picnic and park security (July 2014 meeting ),
Art in the Park and urban fishing;
70th anniversary of Sub capture
ARMY CORPS fishing and ecosystem restoration project 2014. JPAC ENDORSEMENT LETTER and President's thanks AUG. 2014. From the August 11 2014 meeting. ACE PROJECT IN ITS OWN PAGE.
Darrow Bridge and its access closed
Fieldhouse playground finds ready volunteers
Louise McCurry's April 23 2014 Herald letter on why Earth Day cleanups matter
announced for Jackson Park other new things coming (2 playgrounds, Shakespeare Aug. 2)
Mission accomplished: Nancy C. Hays bridge dedicated Mar. 2014. See in Nancy Hays C page
Signage for Eric Hatchett 2005 naming - confirmed this and Paul Douglas plaque replacement coming, confirmed in July
Planted: 25 new trees in Jackson Park
Impressive presenters on Columbian Expo, Viking Ship at March 10 2014 JPAC meeting
Vandalism and safety/policing
Playgrounds replaced in ChicagoPlays! joint program (another has been applied for for 2015)
Parks sports soar
Renewing and inventorying nature, trees and La Rabida Peninsula
Water safety see more updates in the 63rd beach/water safety page.
Lakefront bike trail- process found need plenty of work needed, but when?
JPAC, leaders have received awards in 2013 and 2014
This and that
Written by Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary.
BULLETINS, COMING ACTIVITIES, MEETINGS.
Good news. The pump for the Marquette underpass was about to be installed as of the end of May 2017.
Watch for news of a special jazz concert July 9 at 63rd St; beach and a new concession venue there this summer.
For latest news, visit the May and June 2017 Newsletters or jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org.
Next meeting May 8, Monday, 7 pm -at the Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island.
Officer and committee reports, guests, new and old business.
PDF update of April 22 & May 6 events.
See Bobolink workdays and May 14- Pictures and report: http://bluestem.info/bobolink/may-14-workday.html
Join Jerry’s listserve at email@example.com and check in http://jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org events.
EXPERIENCES and REFLECTIONS reported by members at the July 2016 JPAC meeting
The following were noted by attendees at the July 11, 2016 JPAC picnic as best or most exciting associations with the park during the past year.
LaRabida shore, especially the carvings in stone blocks from 1892 on.
The loads of garbage removed
Major activities: Migratory Bird Day, Its’ Your Park and really good workdays and tours:
New attendees, visitors and allies, new points of view
Jackson Bark and other communities of people
On the Table dinner May 10
Chosen Few picnic
Andy Carter and his telling and singing about George Washington Carver’s time in Jackson Park
New playgrounds in and coming
Field Museum involvement monitoring monarchs and milkweed and birds
Discovery and care of oak saplings on the Island, ecological care from micro to GLFER
The 3 yacht clubs and enjoyment of harbors and Lake Michigan
Website, social media development, taping interviews
The following were said to need attention
Golf Driving range closing as early as 5 pm, opening late
Lack of benches / seating (see Dwight, Esther, Sylvia for specifics)
The issues raised by last week’s violence and how the park can help or be affected
62nd comfort station (may be fixed?); that by La Rabida
Signage at Jackson Bark
Need for a Safety tab on the website with emergency and fix numbers, possible posting section
More improvements, rethinking at 67th playgrounds under installation
General security and safety, especially south and west edges of the park
Better fibar supply and maintenance, workdays
La Rabida upkeep, beach etc. protection
Trees including oaks under attack by insects and diseases
A FANTASTIC SPRING AND SUMMER- APRIL 23-MAY 24 2016 and THROUGH JULY.
HISTORY AND INFORMATION SHARED, INPUT GATHERED ABOUT THE PARK
April 23, we had a great Earth Day. Many groups helped clear and wood chip the nature trails in the heart of Wooded Island, the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary. You can see and hear the action, and how it fits into the ecological and Olmsted restoration project, as well as the Nature Stewardship Program of the Park District. (Some nice shots of the Japanese Garden, too). It’s the first feature on the Park District’s recent tv show, in You Tube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1URd--HA1m0. A shout out to Jason Steger, Forrest Cortes, Michael Lange, Lauren Umek, steward Jerry Levy, the production crew, and the host of volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned 63rd and 57th beaches. The next weekend a group of MSI teachers planted in Bobolink Meadow. Do you have a group that would like to have a work session and learn about the park? Call Louise McCurry, 773 844-2225.
April 30 and May 1 JPAC members and many others had opportunity to learn about Japanese Gardens and landscapes in America and in Jackson Park (where it is now known as Garden of the Phoenix), nationally, locally, and in terms of families that have interacted with them.
April 30, Dr. Kendall Jones’ illustrated lecture at Montgomery Place Retirement Community showed the great variety of styles and purposes for which Japanese landscape has been appropriated for over a century in the United States. He, and Karen Szyjka of the Park District, who manages the Garden in Jackson Park, suggested that a good purposing today might be to adapt from the core use in Japan, for wellness, healing and contemplative walks or sits.
May 1, Robert Karr of Project 120 gave a largely attended detailed illustrated talk at the Museum of Science and Industry on Japan-U.S-Chicago connections and the story of the Japanese facilities at the Columbian Exposition and later on Wooded Island in Jackson Park and their influences, for example in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. At the center of the talk was the family of Shojo Osato, which managed the Japanese concession 1935-41 and both suffered afterwards and experienced renown through the ballet career of their daughter Sono. Karr also explained the evolution of recent improvements and ideas for the Island and the area between it and the Museum, then led a walk to the Garden on Wooded Island, including site for Yoko Ono’s art coming this fall honoring the Phoenix Pavilion of the Columbian Exposition.
May 10, JPAC hosted one of over 50 On the Table community potluck dinners held citywide to explore how our communities and cities can be more unified. 30 parks-interested and community active persons from Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore gathered in a sumptuous suite, once lived in by Al Capone and overlooking Promontory Point, to talk about the role of parks in building stronger communities—what’s working, what’s not, what’s needed, and “your big idea.” Some special guests who are neighbors participated, including Park District Commissioner and Vice President Avis LaVelle, Legislative and Community director Kim DuBuclet, Parks Foundation President Willa Lang, and Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode. And thanks to our host, Anne Marie Miles. All guests had insights and ideas. But the main observation, that has been heard city wide, is the need for improved communicating and listening—locally, with the Park District and city, and within these two. The need for constructive partnerships and for broad outreach and inclusion came in next. We expect our conversation will continue at our, and larger neighborhood meetings and JPAC’s picnic July 11 at the Iowa Building. SEE THE REPORT.
May 14. Migratory Bird Day. Jackson Park is one of the great stops on the Great Lakes-Mississippi Flyway. We are overwhelmed by the large number of partners who sponsored or helped with these MBD activities in the Music Court and Bobolink woods and meadow and the families who participated on a very cold, windy day. A special shout out to Boy Scout Troupe 999 including for supplies, Home Depot for bird house kits, Chicago Zoological Society, AYSO 751 youth soccer, to naturalist Wilma Asis-McNelis, Field Museum, the naturalist books?, Fran Vandervoort and Wilma for bird checklists, Wendy Williams of South East Chicago Commission, and those who wrestled Louise’s tent. Thanks to Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference parks committee for binoculars (lent and given away to those who were able to find every species on the checklist). Eric Ginsburg led families on bird ID walks. Norm Bell and Gail Perry led volunteers including teens and school kids in cleanup, invasives removal and learning in Bobolink Meadow. Volunteers helped kids, parents and grandparents assemble bird houses and bird feeders. Spencer Bibbs inaugurated our 2016 Nature Photo Contest. And of course there were many others looking for wildlife, enjoying and photographing, as there usually are on a Saturday morning – get acquainted and ask questions. Altogether a fine event. While we especially wanted to celebrate the centennial this month of the US-British Migratory Bird Treaty signed in 1916, we hope to repeat the Day in the fall.
And May 14 there was also a large Jackson 5K Classic set of races arranged by the 5th Ward and South East Chicago Commission to raise funds for TriMasters fitness and marathon training and for neighborhood enhancement grants (including in parks) overseen by a committee with SECC and Hyde Park –Kenwood Community Conference and other representatives. (The request for proposals on the latter is going out soon, so if your PAC or organization is interested, email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 24 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.
June 18 It's Your Park Day. Thanks to all who mulched the trees in the Music Court, demolishing a huge pile of mulch! And who cleaned up the trash in the Court and to the Columbia Basin including the parking lot. Low hanging branches were also trimmed.
July 9 and 16 great workdays in Bobolink and Wooded Island (mulching trail and oaks), July 20 180 kids doing ecological work and cleaning at LaRabida-- more July 27, plus UNUM came August 5 and more groups are booked!!!
July 22, Jackson Park Yacht Club and JPAC hosted a youth sailors popcorn and chocolate dip party at the JPYC. Anne Marie organized and paid for it at JPYC for the happy kids in the CPD Jackson Park Sailing Program. This is the program that JPAC FOUGHT HARD to get at the JP Yacht Club. Major thanks to Anne Marie (their youth sailing "sponsor") and Dwight Powell for networking with the CPD and local groups to make the Jackson Park Youth Sailing Program happen. (Louise McCurry).
September 10. A large and festive crowd gathered to cut the ribbon and celebrate the revitalized playground at 67th and Ridgeland. Sylvia Brooks and her foundation and The Parkways provided food and music and there was live music and spoken word.
September 17. the second set of beach cleans this year occurred at 63rd and 57th beaches, in conjunction with Alliance for the Great Lakes and corporate and social club teams.
September 21. Artist Indira Johnson, Changing Worlds, and 10,000 Ripples dedicated the Peace Rising sculptures (emerging Buddha heads) to celebrate at the Iowa Building UN World Peace Day. Members of the Jackson Park Teen Leadership Club wrote and recited/performed poetry on peace (peace is an action verb) and hope despite the lack thereof in Chicago.
September 24 saw the largest of many large groups this summer working in the park-- this day mulching the interior trail on Wooded Island by over 100 UC incoming students.
Park program Registration is in progress online and in person for Fall park programs- call/visit the fieldhouse. *Save the date** August 2, Tuesday, 9 am- online registration for Fall Camp and programs for parks east of California Ave. starts- to do this online you must have registered. Look first at the checklist in the site and your park's programs (or in any park the programs you are interested in) and conditions. Note that if programs are filled or cancelled, registrants are referred to similar programs at other parks.
In person registration in parks usually opens the Saturday after online registration.
2nd Saturday, 9 am-noon. 2nd Saturdays Bobolink Meadow workday. Visit http://bluestem.info/bobolink and contact email@example.com. Note, a footrace (not large) is expected- Jackson Park Classic in and around the park.
WOODED ISLAND UPDATED-contact Jerry Levy.
HOW ABOUT THIS? Suggestions, questions, and criticism about and thoughts for JPAC or the park
Jackson Park issues: When words have meaning, or don't. By Frances S. Vandervoort, Jackson Park Advisory Council Nature Trail Steward. As in the Hyde Park Herald December 21, 2016
What? More transparency? Haven't we been hearing that word a lot these days from a coterie of so-called Jackson Park supporters asking for more transparency from officials and community representatives involved in restoration of our lovely but somewhat run-down Jackson Park? This, despite numerous public meetings held over the past two years where proposals have been vetted, questions asked, and clarification provided again and again.
Hyde Park is indeed fortunate to have excellent ecologists, urban planners, and Olmsted experts involved in the future of Jackson Park. the loveliest feature of Chicago's south side. Yet, there are those who profess to have expertise in areas of forestry, wildlife management, and park use --or non-use-- who reject the goals of professionals deeply committed to the true role of this south side jewel. Some local residents even advocate benign neglect which, as we all should recognize, resulted in many of the problems besieging the park over the past half-century and more.
Some individuals bemoan the relocation by trained wildlife experts that come visiting from points south, chewing down mature trees lining Jackson Park lagoons. Ironically, these are the same folks who object to replanting of bur oak saplings in fear that the resulting density of these sturdy trees will lead to overcrowding and disease. Never mind that these oaks are descendants of trees that have thrived since woodpeckers carried their ancestral acorns north as the last ice sheet withdrew nearly 15,000 years ago.
Other terms distorted by the naysayers are plan vs. concept. A pavilion has been conceptualized, but not yet formally for the Music Court, southeast of the Museum of Science and Industry. Might one ask if it might not be better to have musical performances, even if loud, tightly focused and monitored in one locale rather than emanating from huge, generator-powered speakers scattered at random throughout the park.
For these folks, transparency has become a euphemism, even a subterfuge for their inability to recognize a good thing when it is presented to them. No one would want Jackson Park to revert to the original mosquito-infested morass of swamps and swales of more than 150 years ago when the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted with his partner Calvert Vaux produced its original design. Today, Jackson Park is on the verge of becoming a truly great park for all people. Olmsted designed parks as elegant, natural venues where all people could come together to promote the spirit of democracy. This is the destiny of Jackson Park. This is the destiny of us all.
At her July 22, 2014 ward meeting Ald. Hairston passed along a suggestion she received and is putting to the Park District-- lack of umbrella tables at 63rd and other South Side parks.
Unofficial information on how such amenities work, from a PD staff member: The umbrellas are put out by a private vendor, which would need to be contacted. Location decisions are partly based on each park's record of such amenities not being wrecked or "disappearing".
A neighbor raised concern about weed-spraying on wood-chip trail(s) in the Wooded Island. The steward for the Island (Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary), pd staff, and the contractor are certified sprayers who occasionally apply fast-degrade weed killers (which break down within a few hours or a day and which under normal conditions and application do not harm humans or wildlife) in limited areas. Signs are left where this is done. The inquirer asked specifically about affect on dogs. See preceding, but dogs are not allowed in the natural areas, on or off leash.
Hyde Park Herald (editorial, mid August) and others raised questions about the fish and lagoons portions of the ACE plan. Our president and Wooded Island steward dug deeper and sent in letters, and Mr. Veraldi of the Army Corp developed an extensive FAQ sheet, reproduced in our ACE2014 page.
A neighbor wrote to the Herald in late September 2014 suggesting that increasing the water circulation and freshness in the lagoons might allay the need for periodic killing of fish and replenishment. Suggested was opening an existing weir or creating a new channel to Lake Michigan. The issues regarding killing fish and the methods have been answered as above. Also, aside from improvements to the slopes and other changes to stop erosion and keep the water quality, habitat and food better so the fish and other new aquatic life will have a better chance of surviving and reproducing for years, the costs would be high and there would be risks- 1 is flooding-- last time there was some opening, in the 1980s, there was flooding into the Museum of Science and Industry at the back steps and flooding elsewhere. 2. IN SHORT, THE WATER IS ABOUT AS HIGH AS IT CAN BE ALLOWED TO BE- we can dredge down, but not let the lagoon water get higher-- in fact, there is a spillway from the lagoons at the Music Court bridge just in case. 2, There are invasives, bacteria and more in the Lake that we would not want to see in the lagoons.
One of our members responded to the letter:
" It is unrealistic to open up the lagoon to Lake Michigan. In other words, remove the weir at the Music Court Bridge. That was installed at a time of high water in the 1980s, as I recall. It is unwise to open the lagoons to flow from Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan has many invasives: spiny water flea, quagga and zebra mussels, and round gobies (fish) that cause serious problems in Lake Michigan and could cause even more serious problems if they become established in the lagoons. Yes, water circulation is not the best, but a pumping/circulation system would be expensive."
Nonetheless, we will ask the expert at the Army Corps what was considered and decided re: circulation and oxygen needs and related improvements and stabilizations. GO
A letter-writer in the Hyde Park Herald November 26, 2014 asked why it seems necessary to make major changes to natural areas in Jackson Park, particularly to replace non-native plants, thin out or to manage in general.
My response would be the following. Gary Ossewaarde
Jackson Park is a public park that serves many needs and users. Even the parts that are called natural areas (most of Wooded Island ((Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary)), Bobolink Meadow and Woods, the northern lagoons, and less formally some other sections where various habitats and wildlife are encouraged) are managed natural areas - not wildernesses and largely (but not entirely) human created. They are managed under two guiding principals-- as historic Olmsted-designed (Frederick Law Olmsted and later his sons) parks, and as habitats in themselves and that serve and strengthen larger habitat systems such as the Great Lakes Migratory Bird Flyway and Great Lakes Shoreline habitat and fishery-- which are federally and internationally recognized. Natural areas, and parks as a whole don't "stay" the way any generation designs. They need renewal from time to time, it is hoped in ways that experience and new study show they will both fulfill ideals and support those (wildlife and humans) who use areas or depend on them.
These distinct purposes do not always mesh well. And intensive studies have shown that the both purposes have been increasingly degraded in the park in recent decades. The current projects were designed, and continue to be guided by the most intensive park-wide study and planning effort undertaken since the park templates of over a century ago and in accord with modern understanding of how to realize and blend the ideals of the Olmsted park and natural landscapes. The study and design have engaged not only the ecological, engineering and historical sections of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Chicago Park District but also Heritage Landscapes under the leadership Patricia O'Donnell, one of the preeminent students and restorers of Olmsted parks and expert in ecology, funded by Project 120 Chicago as an independent third party in the projects and development of a new framework plan for the park. The Illinois Department of Historic Preservation has oversight powers and local park stewards and Jackson Park Advisory Council also have their eyes on the project.
As for the Army Corps work, by no means will all non-native trees and plants (some of which were introduced by the Olmsted's) be removed-- either their presence as species or in significant presence. Some that are persistently invasive or exclusionist will be heavily removed (particularly buckthorn, ailanthus, and some mulberries). And some of the work, particularly in the south of Wooded Island) will involve heavy removal. Replanting will start promptly as well as contouring the lagoon edge to prevent erosion of soil into the lagoons (detrimental to introduction of many new fish and aquatic wildlife species) and allow shoreline plant variety, and creating of access and viewing paths to the water. There is no denying that it will take time for the trees and plants to fill in. However, the result will be support for a more diverse and intense wildlife. There is no doubt that smaller projects undertaken in Wooded Island and Bobolink in recent years have led to a stronger bird and wildlife population. The lagoon restoration project is a much more thorough and comprehensive on than that undertaken about 12 years ago and is expected to make a dramatic difference. At the same time the park will be more in accord with Olmsted's' ideal as understood today.
Carolyn Ulrich, editor of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine, gave her answer in the December 10, 2014 Herald:
Larry Wethington's Letter of Nov. 26 raised an important question. What is a native, he asks? Basically it is a plant or animal that was here at the time of settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries when the ecosystem was in balance. Plants had evolved over thousands of years to survive the rigors of droughts, floods an prairie fires, and there was enough food to go around. Predator adn prey co-existed. "Balance" is the key word here.
Human intervention took that away. An example of destructive human intervention is in the South where kudzu imported from Japan has run rampant and choked out beneficial plants--that is, plants that provide food for us or for the rest of the natural world. Because kudzu has no natural enemies in America, it can smother the plants on teh land where it takes root. Monarch butterflies, for example won't find nourishment from kudzu leaves, but they will from native milkweed.
We don't need to worry about kudzu in the Chicago region, but look at our deer problem. Two hundred years ago, there were wolves that kept teh deer population in check. Now we have virtually eradicated wolves (not that we want them prowling through city streets) but the situation is no longer in balance.
Human intervention in functioning ecosystems has thrown many habitats out of whack. Why do we have declining numbers of songbirds? If we don't grow the plants where they can find food and shelter, they won't reproduce and they will disappear. Just because a tree or shrub is green doesn't mean it can provide food for a cardinal or a robin.
If we want to live in a world that contains robins and cardinals, plus butterflies, fish, pollinating insects and all of our native mammals, we need to provide the plants that will support them. If we want to have food for ourselves, we ned to provide plants for pollinating insects such as bees. Again, just because a flower is pretty doesn't mean that it will feed a bee.
So that's why they're cutting down certain trees in Jackson Park. They're trees that aren't providing food for the wildlife that we both want and need. For more information, I recommend "Bringing Nature Home" by Douglas Tallamy. It's full of well-documented examples of how native plants are necessary to our health and that of the planet.
One interesting fact: The widely planted Bradford pear that we see blooming here every spring is not only an alien species, it is actually toxic to wildlife that tries to eat it, says Tallamy. Our various native oak trees, on the other hand, can support a grand total of more than 500 species of butterflies and moths. So if someone cuts down a Bradford pear and plants an oak inits stead, don't cry. It's not worth it.
63rd St. Beach and the Schiff Fountain
August 11 2015 JPAC was informed that repairs to the fountain were complete, the fountain would be on by Friday and daily 11 to 7 and staff assigned to watch the feature and kids playing in it. Thank you, Alderman Hairston, JPAC leadership, and community members, CPD staff including Alonzo Williams.
Alderman Hairston opened her July 2015 ward meeting with concern and opposition that the Schiff Legacy Fountain is now to be closed except for special occasions and access closed off and that the beach and beach house are in poor condition and maintenance. JPAC has as yet not been able to ascertain whether the blocking off involves plans to fix the plumbing (which has been twice robbed of its copper plumbing in the past 3 years) or involves some other policy. JPAC will continue to evaluate and interact with the Park District. Alderman Hairston has asked for a letter writing campaign on behalf o the fountain and seeks from the PD contracting to another company for maintenance of building and beach if present means cannot keep up. The Max Schiff Legacy gave funds about the time the Bathing Pavilion was restored and renovated 1998-2000 for a feature for children. Originally conceived as a carousel, it evolved into a large feature in one of the open-air halls involving artistic paving and a spiral of jets with timed or motion-activated synchronized water jets-- this has been wildly popular. Evidently on the beach hired or contracted staff plus occasional JPAC and Alliance for the Great Lakes beach cleans to keep up. (A special team of border collies is supposed to suppress the gull population, with uncertain success). Graffiti is promptly removed from the building including the upper terraces named for former JPAC president and beachhouse advocate Eric Hatchett, and lighting repaired as needed. JPAC and the CPD agree that the playground would be better sited to be visible and not covered with blowing sand, but we understand some parties fell that that would rob other uses where it might be relocated. Repairs are made. Controversy remains over dune grass and sedge vs. turf for picnicking in a small section of the lawn east and south of the pavilion between the beach and the drumming circle.
Here is a summary of some of the issues from the August 5, 2015 Hyde Park Herald, by Allison Matyus.
The 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive., has been frustrating beach goers lately due to the increasing lack of care for its facilities and features.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) has been pushing for the Chicago Park District to make the interactive water feature at the beach more available to teh public. According to Hairston, the park district has recently told her that they will only be turning the water feature on for special events.
"Kids used to always play in that fountain every summer. Now more than ever, with heat indexes in the hundreds, we need our water fountain running," she said. "I miss the kids squealing and having fun."
She said the park district not allowing the fountain to regularly operate goes against the wishes of Max schiff, who donated the money to build the interactive fountain.
Hairston explained problems with the beach house bathrooms as well. There have been complaint about the cleanliness of the bathrooms , and even report that the bathrooms were locked or out-of-use.
Qiana Woodson, who recently spent a day at 63rd Street Beach, said she was disappointed in th beach's overall state. "I didn notice how unkempt the beach house appeared. The beach itself had lots of trash in the sand as well. It was hard to tell when the beach was last cleaned," she said.
Hairston noted that these kind of problems are not present at other beaches in the city. "There are disparities between North and South Side beaches. The South Side suffer greatly," she said. "You see Oak Street Beach with their beautiful umbrellas and upkeep, and we can't even have our water fountains running."
Hairston encouraged the community [at the July 28 Ward meeting] to begin a letter writing campaign to reach out to the Chicago Park District...She said her goal is to hire a company that is responsible for the property.
The Chicago Park District did not return calls for comments on thee complaints.
October 2016: Jackson Park Watch submitted several questions about the Skylanding installation. Here are some and abstract of Park District Superintendent Kelly's answers at the October 17 board meeting:
The art is a a donation by the Yoko Ono Foundation and is owned and controlled exclusively by the Chicago Park District. [It has unrestricted access and no fees.] Funding for any special maintenance or security are being sought [identified and raised.] Parking is available at a distance and is a widespread problem in the parks. Lack of restrooms in proximity is acknowledged and is also a problem elsewhere throughout the district. [Ed. the Board and Superintendent heard from two speakers, including this editor, the need to consider thoughtfully any further facilities proposed in Jackson Park. The need to restore access via Darrow Bridge has been communicated to CPD and CDOT frequently.]
MUCH TO GIVE THANKS FOR,
We appreciate it when the Park District and others are quick to respond.
July 13 2015 storms dropped a tree on the fence and into Dickerson Playlot. The PD was on the job making things safe within an hour.
The Park District had been busy that day and days before neatening up the Iowa building and vicinity ahead of the JPAC picnic and meeting.
And restoration of the Schiff Water Play feature at the beachhouse.
Just a bit of accomplishments in September 2014
This month we had seven volunteer workdays with 220 volunteers from universities, U C, Loyola , Hyde Park High, Kenwood and Jones. Two corporations Rei and "fugr", and the Alliance for teh Great Lakes. (Some of the corporate was in conjunction with a fabulous Beach Sweep.) We gave each a history and environmental tour of their work sites and an open invitation to return.
2. We turned all of our annual fiscal documents in on time We appreciate FOTP's fiscal agency and are proud to be a member.
3 We nominated for park staff member of the year-- we'll see if our nominee wins!
4 Our proposal for a new playground was chosen for new playground at 62nd and stony Island.
5 We attended and presented Jackson parks newest capital needs at the park budget hearings .
6 We presented the Iowa building bathroom repair needs and got approval for repair and opening of Iowa bathrooms.
Adapted from communications from Louise McCurry in July 2014 and beyond. (questions, additions? Louise, 773 844-2225, firstname.lastname@example.org)
WE are all forces of nature because we care and we act to make things better. Thank you to an amazing team. It is such an honor to work together with all of you who act to make a real difference for our kids:
#Set up the Opening of Chrysalis Playground,
# Set up the opening of 6401 Stony Fieldhouse Playground,
# Painted and repaired the T.W.O. planter in front of Fieldhouse,
# Bought and donated the "wish list" of supplies for the 175 JP day camp program,
# Assisted FOTP preparing for their 2 press events and a fundraising video,
# Lead an educational kids tour/workday and worked with Springdale Nazarene 6th graders from Cincinnati to clear the wheel chair paths and clear the west beach of logs and debris at La Rabida,
# Jerry Levy and his Wooded Island Workday volunteers cleared many, many wheel barrows of invasive species out of Wooded Island,
# Tour committee lead free educational Jackson Park tours with growing numbers of people hearing and seeing what makes Jackson Park historically significant and eco-significant: and of course- "the best park in the city",
# Completed our 2015 63rd Street Beach playground proposal, pictures, and community petitions,
# Searched the park and updated the list of important safety hazards and needed repairs and gave them to the CPD- thanks Bobbie, Daphne, and Alonzo, and Esther. Repaired were multiple benches and holes in some paths, roads,
# Fielded multiple press, organizational, and community on line inquiries about the murder at the Iowa shelter and convened police and security to engage residents at the July JPAC meeting—and thank you to the large number of residents and park allies who came. #July 14 leftover picnic food- used at July 18 workday with Jewish World Federation and to LaRabida, fieldhouse.
# Iowa building - since July 14 2nd & 3rd District bike and car patrols preventing some illicit activities but alcohol parties continue. Lights continue to be worked on. Graffiti and overgrown vegetation were removed.
# Extensive pruning was done through the park north of 57th Dr.
# The WITS program has 20 volunteers for one-on-one reading with day camp kids Thursday afternoons.
# JWF teens re-chipped wheelchair paths at LaRabida. More teen groups are coming weekends in August.
# Sign honoring Eric Hatchett for advocacy restoring the 63rd beach house (to be placed at the pavilion there named in his honor) and replacement of the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary plaque on Wooded Island are being made.
# Park district has been diligent supplying trash and coals cans—the difference is evident after parties that have enough and where the partiers use them properly.
# Fields and courts full of players on the weekend: Hayes BB, 63rd Volleyball (tournament), 59th Tennis cts incl. pickleball and dog obedience classes, Track and Astroturf, 63rd Softball diamonds, Croquet and Lawn Bowling, activity for Mackinaw Race from harbors w. Sea Scout help. Fieldhouse has the biggest camp in years. Needs for some of these facilities was noted in addition to safety issues crossing Cornell Dr. at the fieldhouse.
We Celebrate and Thank:
+ Chicago Park District Facilities Dept (Bob Arlow) for ongoing work to get the lights on at night in the Iowa Building,
+ Landscaping and Forestry departments for trimming up the trees at the Iowa so that all can see what is happening inside; and for weed whacking and mowing the Iowa and Jackson Park this week, and major pruning through the park including by the northwest playgrounds,
+ the Security Department for frequent patrols, for working with 2nd and 3rd Districts to have plain clothes and uniformed police covering the Iowa and the 2 other trouble spots in Jackson Park around the clock this week and removing the bad guys who have appeared during the warm weather,
+ The recycling and garbage departments for doubling the number of blue and green and red cans in the park and picking up trash at LaRabida this week,
+ Gardeners and landscapers (staff, contractor, and volunteers) who keep up the Japanese Garden and the Perennial Garden at 59th/Stony,
+Alonzo Williams and Daphne Johnson for meeting with us,
+Michael Kelly and Patrick Lavar for your support and guidance, being honest with us, and sending new people and programs for our kids.
And late July 2014- preparing for Shakespeare in the Park and more:
The landscaping department completed removing the low limbs that hide late nite park prostitution, and drug dealers through to 60th street. I have worked closely with them and thanked them profusely for their hard work and sent emails to their boss Mike Brown telling them we are grateful.
The Iowa Building Lights are on at Night this week. and no drunken events happened there at night this week. I emailed Bob our huge thanks.
Bob also added a line to our playground signs, saying the "playground is closed at night" making it easier for police to remove the prostitutes.
Many thanks to all of you who helped get the back to school bags for our park kids this week. Thank you Dwight for picking up the school supplies donation from Dr. Anne Ridgeway, pharmacist at Walgreens at 71st and Jeffery and for helping load the supplies into the bags. (Also to Kaufman and Kaufman Smile Design Studio for the backpacks and to Wallace Goode of Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce for facilitating the bags.)
Thanks to all of you who helped clean up and remove the limbs and litter from the Music Court.
We give thanks to the many service and corporate groups who have worked in the park this summer, including Sept. 20 and 21 and 27 to name recent. More are coming as the work season comes to a close.
FROM MEETINGS AND OTHER NEWS BITS
Jackson Park Advisory Council per vote at AC meeting, supported at the August 10 2016 CPD board meeting renaming the 67th Ridgeland Playlot for Vaquero Tallaserio Riccardo Sims, who worked much with children and parents at the playlot and nearby and died in an auto accident in 2014. Petitions have been submitted. Should the Park District naming body recommend, the Board will initiate a 45-day public comment period. The playlot was recently renewed. SEPTEMBER 10, 2016, SATURDAY, NON -5- RIBBON CUTTING AND PICNIC 67TH AND RIDGELAND.
The park district filled holes and addressing the immediate problems of drainage by and in the parking lot of the 59th tennis courts and dog exercise area.
Persistent drainage problem in the Marquette underpass is being pursued- and the water has been partially decontaminated, but the underpass belongs to CDOT, which has not yet responded.
57th St. beach underpass cleaned- what will follow there? New volunteer natural areas task force formed. There are still problems with flooding of the Marquette underpass.
Natural resources has established a brand new natural areas year round team, all young, strong, and enthusiastic. They spent November 23 2015 clearing and carrying away the invasives, garbage, poop, and overspreading tall grass at the 57th street underpass and beach hill. This is the area required 2 full days to clean up in the spring. It looks open, safe,and wonderful! This work simulates the natural fall die off and regeneration of grasses (often accompanied in nature by wildfire, not appropriate here.) The rose bushes are still there. Now there is a year round CPD natural areas team to help volunteers do this in our parks. (adapted from communication from Louise McCurry).
JPAC has submitted a request with documentation for new play equipment at the playground at 67th and Chappel. This was completed. As of August 2016, new equipment was installed at 67th an Ridgeland but not yet open and is slated for 67th and Cornell. Some other improvements at these sites are asked and a ribbon cutting party will be scheduled at 67th and Ridgeland. Renaming of Ridgeland playlot is requested (see above)
Statues near Jackson Park to be renewed
Two commemorative works of public art near the park are in line for restoration.
Thanks to persistence and gift of a Hyde Park family (not related Mr. Wallach) and diligence of Park District staff and experts, the David Wallach Memorial Fountain on Promontory Point is expected to be restored in the spring. In 1894, David Wallach (about whom little is known) left a sum for a sculpture and park fountain that would slake the thirst of man and beast. The David Wallach Memorial was installed and dedicated in 1939. Elizabeth Haseltine Hibbard designed the bronze fawn, and her husband Frederick Cleveland Hibbard designed the fountain which has a pool at the base that serves pets and wildlife. The fountain has leaked periodically. The fawn was stolen at one time, but recovered. The brownish granite of the polished base was formed about 2 billion years ago and has wonderful crystalline facets of feldspar, biolite, mica, and hornblende.
The Women’s Bench. At the base of the sledding hill on the east side of the tracks crossing the Midway just west of Jackson Park is a stone bench installed in 1930 after the raising of funds from all over the country, in memory of Chicago and the neighborhood’s first women in the Illinois General Assembly and the struggle for the vote for women. The Hyde Park Herald at the time suggested a plaza in front to the bench to Stony Island Ave., where the Women’s and the Children’s buildings stood during the World’s Fair. The bench is under expert evaluation by the Park District concerning restoration and possibilities for outside interest explored by MPAC and JPAC.
December 12 a body was pulled from the lagoon or basin, it appears by Darrow Bridge.
FOUND AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE SITE OF THE PHOENIX PAVILION: During excavation of the setting for Yoko Ono's Sky Landing sculpture (scheduled for installation June 2016), in the lawn west of the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island, concrete footing from the Phoenix Pavilion of the Columbian Exposition, about 15 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet high was dug up and is now placed on the lawn.
John LeNoble, an early member of JPAC passionate about the sports and recreational facilities in Jackson Park, passed away in October 2015. RIP
John LeNoble was from Roseland. He and his sisters went to Fenger High School. John liked to invent things, even things to improve our game. He gave us some plastic knives with a groove dug out of the tip, like a dandelion weeder. We were to keep it in our pocket to weed while we bowled. Sometimes he would do a flag ceremony at the bowling green for the 4th of July, lining up chairs for us to listen to him recite "Ragged Old Flag" after we said the pledge of allegiance. He learned to lawn bowling in Columbus Park where another bowling house is still visible and the soccer field there is quite flat. Washington Park also had or still has a bowling house and there was a green at the South Shore Cultural Center.
John met his wife while serving overseas in England. Her heritage was Scottish and he really embraced all the Scottish heritage including this game of lawn bowling from Great Britain. They were married at the Drexel Park Presbyterian Church in Englewood in 1947. Several of us attended his 95th birthday last March where he recited a long history of what changes he lived through in that many years. At his wake, they had some of his little inventions for around the house on display. Since he never seemed to age, his passing surprised us, but he hadn't really come to bowl for two years. He was a member of the Palos Heights Kiwanis Club and the Illinois St. Andrew's Society among many other groups. His wife died a few years ago. They were happy to have their one daughter, a son-in-law and two grand daughters. He always kept track of your newsletter and I would sometimes meet him at one of your meetings, neither of us having known the other would show up there.
Thanks for your interest,
Lorrie Michael, Secretary to Lakeside Lawn Bowling Club
Walk throughs in early -mid November 2015 - rectifications are being made and more to be done along both sides of Lake Shore Drive in the 57th beach area to Iowa Building stretches. The grasses will be lowered and kept trim to add to safety and a compromise between shoreline naturalness and a semi-landscaped park. Further solutions to grasses and drainage problems at and north of 63re St. beach may need further consideration.
JPAC congratulates Ald. Hairston and those painting and decorating the 66th-67th St. viaducts. Midway and Jackson PACs have also been calling agencies attention with other viaducts further north. CDOT has worked with the communty and alderman to put in gardens 63rd -64th.
CDOT, Metra, and the Park District have cleaned up trash and invasives from the 59th station to 60th. Metra has rebuilt the platforms. Canadian National is moving toward cleanup of its section in this stretch.
Planning seems to be proceeding on the 59th.
Summer 2015 saw a large number of work groups including corporate, church, volunteer agencies, school, etc. that came, often by bus-- to work on our beaches (esp. Sept. 19 with Alliance for the Great Lakes), La Rabida shores, Bobolink and Wooded Island, the playgrounds, Iowa bldg, and general park cleanups. Groups included Mount Carmel High School, FUFG, Chicago Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and many more.
This summer we renewed and re spread the wood chips in various playgrounds.
Plan is under review to reconstitute the interior mulch trail on the island.
May 17 2015 JPAC held a successful gala to raise funds for kid's programs in the park- "Sundae in the Park with JPAC" at South Shore Cultural Center. See pictures in the June Newsletter pdf w pictures. If that is too long a download, use this: June Newsletter pdf.
JPAC AND THE GALA COMMITTEE THANK OUR SPONSORS, ALL WHO ATTENDED, DONATED TO OR AT, OR PRESENTED / PERFORMED AT OR HELPED OUR MAY 17 “Sundae in the Park” fundraiser at South Shore Cultural Center. Special thanks to the Gala Committee: Frances Vandervoort, Dwight Powell, Cherry Theard, Donna Hughes, Ruby Haughton-Pitts, Louise McCurry, Anne Marie Miles, Brenda Nelms, Gary Ossewaarde, and Jake Young. Also to Chicago Park District, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, & George Rumsey. Highlights: Curtis Black jazz trio, South Shore Opera Company singers, Eva Lewis on saving/repurposing the South Shore Cultural Center, JPAC Photo Contest winner Melodie Jovorka, Andy Howard of Chicago Wilderness, our MC’s, raffle and silent auction—what great bargains!, kid’s resource/activity tables, decorations, and the sundaes from the Parrot Cage Restaurant at South Shore Cultural Center.
HONORING A CULTURAL HERO. JPAC was a proud participant and supporter of renaming the 31st St. Beach and Park the Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs Beach and Park Feature of Burnham Park.
August 11 at 31st Beach, a fine press release with officials, the Chicago Park District, and community groups was held for naming 29.75 acres of beach and park for Margaret Burroughs. The next day formal approval was voted by the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, who waived the normal 45 day comment period due to overwhelming public support. Margaret Gross Turner Burroughs, 1917-2010, born in Mississippi, was from youth an active participant in the artistic, social and political life of Chicago's Bronzeville and the Bronzeville Renaissance, a poet, writer, artist, educator, and activist throughout her long life. She was the longest-serving CPD Commissioner, serving until her death. She was a founder of both the South Side Community Art Center and of what became the DuSable Museum of African American History, the latter started in her house. Her concerns and service were broad, including for African Americans, women, children, and the incarcerated- and her reputation was worldwide. A collection of her artwork and memorabilia can be viewed in the Margaret Burroughs Gallery in the South Shore Cultural Center, in the two museums she co-founded, in large murals in the 53rd St. Metra underpass, and in many collections.
JPAC appreciates, among other help for the park, her support of the rehabilitation and landmarking of the historic 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion and naming of its upper terraces for former JPAC President Eric Hatchett, who worked for the restoration and for children's programs.
The 31st Beach and Park were an important part of the extension of shore land under Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, providing new recreational and natural land for then densely populated South Side and Bronzeville-- the only beach in the early 20th century where black persons could go It was also the location (c26th St. part of the beach) of the beating and drowning of an African American youth who had strayed into the white-claimed section of beach, which incident sparked the days-long Race Riot of 1919.
Margaret's mantra was “What shall I tell my children….,” what will my legacy be?
Iowa building reports:
September: The Park District will restore water supply for a garden JPAC will plant on the north side of the Iowa building. Decisions are being made on the plants and bulbs.
Aug. 17 2015 Thank You for taking part in our fact finding walk through of the historic Iowa Building and the Midway Plaisance.
First the State budget cuts have severely hurt the CPD and their assistance to Community parks
Iowa Building. CPD Historic Lake Front Picnic Shelter proposed garden walk through with LIz CPD Com. Gardens Director,Fran, Louise, Ken, Roger H
- CPD is fixing the faucet and hose access
- money or Green Corp staff for building raised bed and dirt for raised bed is not available through CPD
-Liz suggested a wire border
- Fran suggested asking [The Resource Center's help in getting dirt and raised beds.
-UNUM and Home Depot will donate bulbs.
JPAC voted in August to ask for 10,000 Ripples- 2 heads for a year.
LOST ARTWORK FROM THE 1893 JAPANESE PAVILION FOUND, TO BE RESTORED
Three exquisitely painted two-sided sliding door panels (fusima) from the Phoenix Pavilion were recently found in Chicago Park District storage, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office. Part of the gift of Japan to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the City of Chicago in perpetuity, the Phoenix Pavilion was sited on Wooded Island just west of the present Japanese Garden. The recently discovered panels are the only significant survivors of fires that destroyed the structure in the 1940’s, other than four magnificent carved and painted panels from the upper interior transom that were likewise discovered, in the 1970’s and restored and hung in 2011 in the Asian galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like those panels, the door paintings feature large animated birds (phoenix?) in landscape, here flat and against a bright gold background. Each was distinct and would have given the sections of the pavilion their own special ambiance. Artist Hashimoto Gaho covered an inner wooden fretwork with paper, then attached the painted surfaces (the paintings last), then fitted black lacquer frames over the edges of the cores. The doors slid on waxed grooves in accord with traditional Japanese construction methods. Park District historian Julia Bachrach documented and confirmed the provenance, with further authentication by Janice Katz and Rachel Freeman of the Art Institute of Chicago. While described as in decent, moderately stable condition according to newspaper reports, conservation is necessary, as well as decisions about where and how to display the panels.
In the press release, Ms. Katz said “These painting bring to life, in vivid color, a moment of history that had previously been lost forever.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel added, “At a time when we are working to honor Jackson Park’s historic past by revitalizing the park to restore Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision, it is a thrilling development to have found original artwork from the 1893 Exposition.” Parks General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said, “The Rediscovered paintings remind us of the lush history that lives in Chicago Parks.” Read about the restored Phoenix transom panels in the September 2011 JPAC Newsletter, at http://www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac/newsletters/Sept_2011.pdf.
For additional context on the doors related to Frank Lloyd Wright, visit this link to an outstanding article including pictures of the doors by Claire Voon that appears in Hyperallergic August 31, 2015, sent along by our friend Stephen Treffman. How a Set of Rediscovered 19th-Century Japanese Doors Leads to Frank Lloyd Wright
Horses are back! July 25, 2015 Louise McCurry (email@example.com) writes:
Team JPAC and Team Midway
At 5 pm today 20 horses and riders 5 police or sheriff department instructors and 15 teens were riding a circular path from the Iowa Building past Dickerson down to the Midway and around MSI and back again. It was an awesome sight . Every kid in the park had their eyes focused on the horses. We have not had riding lessons in the park in at least 20 Years. Wouldn't it be great for our kids to be able to ride in their own neighborhood again. The developmental studies show riding produces independence, responsibility and compassion for others, besides being great fun.
What do you think?
Shows they can get around the parks. PS, technically it seems to b against PD rules, at least without a permit- Gary
But that weekend also problems- Kenneth Newman reports- A large picnic at the IOWA Building included people driving their motorcycles into the building. people were also riding their motorcycles in the two underpaths at 57th street. Cars being driven onto the POINT from LSD,... called 911, but NO cops ever came. McCurry noted that there were at least two parties at Iowa, no obvious drugs, motorcycles on the walked,but chess was being played.
McCurry reported continuing night gatherings (10-20) at the Dickerson playlot (56th and Stony) - dime bags, multiple liquor bottles,tampons, sanitary pads, lubricant, toilet paper,and adult human excrement under the slides. Specific requests included patrol, lighting, returning or later UC policeman at 56th and HPBlvd.
And the "ladies", druggies et al are gone again (week of July 27) thanks to 3rd district attention.
63rd St. Beach has some problems at certain times, esp. with alcohol and crowding. Police do block entry tot he lot when full.
[Police continue to discourage the prostitutes.]
LaRabida: Great accomplishments by CPD and UNUM August 21 2015 and before
Because the CPD landscape team picked up the visible bottles cans and debris from the LaRabida Paths , my Friday corporate UNUM volunteers were able to instead clear all the wheel chair paths to the beach on the North and South Promenades, remove all the trees that were growing into the Historic 1893 White City Wall, remove the trees growing into the historic carved rocks on North Promenade ,and remove the invasive species from the historic Lilly garden on the outer Harbor banks and remove 30 bags of vegetation covered bottles and cans from the North and South Beaches.
We left piles of Beaver cut logs and beach covering invasive species for pickup at West harbor beach entrance, North Promenade beach entrance wall and South Promenade entrance wall.
My volunteers from University Center and UNUM thank you because they were able to make a great historic area ,a healthy, beautiful, and welcoming place for our Families and Children and a place of peace for the families of dying and dead children at LaRabida.
A walk through with CPD's Cathy Brietenbach followed.
Growing problems are loss of mortar, hence endangerment, of the point battlement, how to keep the stones from being thrown on the outer shore while protecting LaRabida and the "beach" and encouraging natural sand deposition.
Shoreline erosion and sand deprivation. An important two articles by Tony Briscoe appeared in the Monday August 24 Chicago Tribune. They offer a thorough background and quite extensive review of options regarding shore bottom, shoreline protection, and sand replenishment on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan. This is of special concern th JPAC with. regard to LaRabida hospital and peninsula.
10,000 Ripples. Read about by itself. In August JPAC voted to ask for two heads for a year.
A proposed art project by 10,000 Ripples for the Iowa Building facility promoting peace was presented and discussed at the June 8 council meeting- 10,000 Ripples may install large white Buddha heads emerging from earth at Iowa buildings to be a focus of peace, anti violence and mentoring programs at the Iowa building. It could grow elsewhere on the South Side. a public engagement project will have to come first and installation will begin when the contract runs out at another of 19 sites in Chicago.
At the July meeting (at the Iowa building) the ideas were explained to a larger audience and input sought.
At the August meeting JPAC passed a resolution of approval for two "heads" on rises near the Iowa building, when available from another park, to stay about a year. Whether and what kind of further public input is required is not known.
At the August 2015 meeting JPAC passed a resolution approving and asking for two heads at the Iowa building.
From the June 8 2015 JPAC meeting.
Guest presentation. 10,000 Ripples- Public Art, Peace, and Civic Engagement. Indira Johnson, artist and 2013 Woman of the Year and teacher at the School of the Art Institute presented, along with Mark Rodriguez, Executive Director of Changing Worlds. Indira showed how the several indoor and outdoor installations led to the program and collaborative of c35 organizations that has resulted in installations in 19 Chicago communities so far of sets of white Buddha heads emerging from the earth and of programs and spaces for peace, personal reflection, and outreach in violence reduction. The heads are made of cast fiberglass filled with sand and generally anchored in concrete. Each community set its own themes and goals, sites, and programs or activities—indeed the process of community engagement, input, dealing with community differences, and planning itself served often as a catalyst for change as well as a sense of ownership, community upkeep, and new community collaborations. The number of heads at each varies from one or two to nearly a dozen, and the sites chosen by the communities vary from beaches to street corners to the front of a church, and more recently parks such Palmisono (2700 S. Halsted)- even the back of a truck to be moved around! Indira and Mark emphasized that outreach with community stakeholder groups (including schools) and a full community decision-making process must take place, and unless there is independent funding to make more heads, a community must wait until the one-year residency of a set of heads in a park runs out before heads can be installed. To learn more: changingworlds.org, indirajohnson.org, 10000 Ripples on Facebook, and a booklet.
President McCurry explained that Jackson Park reached out to 10,000 bubbles and the Park District to start the conversation and suggested the Iowa building location on 56th St. as an example of a beautiful historic structure that needs peace healing (a homicide having occurred a year ago, for example), needs to have something that makes more of a destination so that repairs and upkeep are justified, and the place is a logical place (next to the retirement community) for peaceful reflection and small gatherings and activities as well as teaching and programming for youth. (There are already some tai chi etc. there.) The Iowa building has also attracted the interest of architects and outside groups such as the School of the Art Institute. JPAC can do some short term improvements there also, such as plant a shade-plant peace garden, McCurry said.
Members of the audience asked many questions and were enthusiastic about the 10,000 Bubbles programs and the possibilities for the location, asked for it for other sites on the South Side, and were interested in starting a process of community engagement and input. 5th Ward Office—Lanita Ross-- will help coordinate.
Dwight Powell said in regard to engagement that he met with the kids in the gym, as has the president and with their families, to let them know the many supplies and goods JPAC has given park kids and the fieldhouse and to ask for their input in decisions and participation—the tip of the iceberg in needed outreach and collaboration. Perhaps we could have a special meeting with the kids. He said preparing the gala was a wakeup call on need outreach citing the work and advice of Donna Hodge.
The so-called Iowa building was built in 1936 by WPA, architect E.V. Buchsbaum. The limestone building across 56th Street from Jackson Towers and Montgomery Place in the northeast corner of Jackson Park has been mistakenly called the Iowa Building since built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Depression in 1936 and opened the next year to serve as a place for rest, concessions, and washrooms. It replaced a similar nearby comfort station but had indeed served as part of the Iowa Pavilion during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, hence the confusion. The earlier building was a bit north and where 56th St. meets modern South Lake Shore Drive and was removed for expansion of the Drive, originally named Columbus in one direction and Leif Erickson the other. It was once a beach house and concession stand for 57th Beach and site of parties and children's activities. Later it was neglected and became home to drug, gang, and homeless activities, and even an occasional shooting. In the 2010's efforts have been made to police, clean up and repair it and some use it for exercises et al. Several ideas have been proposed for rehabilitation, security, and reprogramming, including in 2015 by a class of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and 10,000 ripples.
Learn more about the Iowa building in the Iowa page, with views.
In winter-spring 2015, a class in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago divided up to do several projects re-magining the Iowa building physically and pragmatically.The theme was memories. These ranged from a drama featuring the building and people who had used it, to recreating or painting suggestions of its former use as a beach house to a major side and underground set of additions to create an art creation and gallery and programming space.
May 8, JPAC and Montgomery Place hosted a presentation by students and two teachers, including Odile Compagnon, and a shorter version was given at the May 11 JPAC meeting. Both were well-received.
May 2015 meeting- . JPAC unanimously elected two stalwart members of our Gala committee, Jake Young and Cherry Theard as non-officer members of the JPAC board, with charge to oversee membership and website. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
We had updates including on the ACE Project (and were given laminated signs), sizzling park programs, and the gala. And a class from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago shared projects re-imagining the Iowa Building. (They gave a longer program May 8 at Montgomery Place).
May 2015 the membership added two additional, advisory members to the board: Jake R. Young and Cherry Theard to head up our membership, web, and media growth. Congratulations!
Good birding continues at Bobolink Meadow and elsewhere in the park despite the fencing and closure of Wooded Island: Mary Nell Murphy wrote in Good Neighbors May 3: It was also a good birding day Saturday morning at Bobolink Meadows. Despite the construction and fencing the Saturday morning walks continue - every Saturday at 8 am. There were 20 valiant birders and 57 species. More shorebirds due to the drained west lagoons.
There are also highly successful and popular monthly bird walks in Washington Park.
Pickleball is back- Pickleball- an exciting senior friendly game that uses whiffleballs- Sundays at 4 pm at the 59th St. Marina Tennis Courts. From Lake Shore Drive at 5800 veer left past the bowling green and over the Music Court Bridge. meetup.com search Chicago Pickleball.
And lawn bowling and croquet have started again Sats and Suns at the bowling green.
Project 120 and Olmsted Landscape Architect Patricia O'Donnell (Heritage Landscapes LLC) presented "Revitalizing Historic Jackson Park: Integrating Heritage and Ecology, Sustainability and Resilience in Chicago" at the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects in St. Petersburg, Russia June 10 2015. Ms. O'Donnell has overseen hundreds of Olmsted restoration and maintenance projects and is consultant overseeing the current ACE/CPD project in Jackson Park's natural and landscape areas as well as framework planning for the entire park which is co-sponsored by Project 120 Chicago. (See information on the projects in ACE2014 page and in this page below for Project 120, with links.
May 19 2015. As reported in the May 20 Chicago Sun-Times (spokesperson Cathy Breitenbach, Director of Natural Resources), the Chicago Park District this year is using the "fast-test" UIC pilot project at 5 Chicago beaches-- Calumet, Rainbow, South Shore, 63rd, 57th, and Montrose. In this method, samples are taken c. 8 am, sent to UIC lab where counts DNA fragments of indicator E. coli bacteria are taken, and the results reported in early afternoon rather than the next morning, as when is the case when whole cells are counted. The old method will continue to be used also, as at all the Chicago Beaches. 235 remains the count threshold for swim warnings. Swim bans are only issued when there is a special condition such as storms or flushing of sewage into the Lake. The warnings, as will storm/rip tide conditions are via flags (red indicating closed), messages at the beaches, and online including at the CPD website. Various pro-active measures are taken to discourage sources of pathogens, including using dogs and other means of dispersing gulls on various beaches, and discouraging unsanitary human practices.
2014 2015- very good years.
JPAC has sought traffic safety relief on Cornell Drive, especially for kids. Under funding from Alderman Hairston (and nomination in community participatory budgeting), there will be safety improvements (mainly to signals, timing, and marking) at 59th St. within 13-16 months from September 2014, and the park district will install a camera. 6400 at the fieldhouse poses significant difficulties to rectification and a best solution can be sought later. South Parks planning produced a concept of considerable change, but many consider it to be too drastic. Possible selection of the area for the Obama Library will complicate planning.
The Park District has inspected the Iowa bldg. and is zeroing in on solving the light problem. The Park District board is interested in reactivating the building-- it is out for estimates. 2nd district police will use it for two of its CAPS meetings in summer 2015.
Large groups participated in the Beach Sweep under Alliance for the Great Lakes at 57th and 63rd beaches. Participating were the Chicago Japanese Chamber of Commerce and FUFG (?) financial and legal firm team led by Hosana Okamura. FUFG is the group that planted the cherry trees in the vicinity of Osaka Garden and the north shore of the east lagoon.
Alliance for the Great Lakes weighs and assesses every kind of waste, down to cigarette butts. They also test the water and teach what to watch for. Many other work groups including students have also been here.
The Nike World Basketball Festival was hosted in mid August 2014 in Jackson Park, basically along Hayes Dr/63rd from the 63rd beach pavilion area. (Some facilities wil continue to be inaccessible through August 21.) The Festival was a spectacular success, left behind at least 3 state of the art basketball facilities, and superb clinics and youth mentoring by the Nike super stars.
Hyde Park Historical Society held a wonderful Hyde Park Stories Share- Parks at Montgomery Place August 17. Jackson Park was perhaps the star of people's memories, and JPAC president Louise McCurry focused on how the park and the famous events it has hosted have been transformative.
WITS reading program, at which starting this summer c15 volunteer read for 45 minutes on Thursdays to kids in the day camp, culminated July 31 with a gift from WITS of over 80 books to permanently re-invigorate a library of kids books in the fieldhouse and also JPAC's annual gift of a filled backpack to each attending child. The backpacks this year are funded by Kaufman and Kaufman Smile Design Studio (dentistry) in Hyde Park, as part of a program of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the University of Chicago. Not returning to Jackson in 2015, but will be at Nichols fieldhouse.
From Angelo at WITS: July 31st, will be the final day of WITS at Jackson Park for the summer. To mark the end of program, WITS will be donating 80+ books of assorted titles, both fiction and non-fiction, to help build the children’s library at the park. These books will be accessible to all children who attend the park throughout the year!
For more information about WITS (Working in the SchoolNOWSELAEDs) and how you can volunteer at locations year round, visit http://www.witschicago.org. JPAC says "Thanks to all involved!"
Darrow Bridge- To JPAC Herald Letter 2014
The bridge was inspected in late 2013, partially due to repeated requests from JPAC for repairs. Chicago Department of Transportation closed the bridge in November 2013. JPAC gathered petitions and approached authorities in the Park District and city and state and federal bodies and officeholders about the importance of both access to Wooded Island from the parking lot to the east of the bridge and east west access through the park, including for elderly and persons of disabilities, and also the importance of historic restoration. In August 2014 CDOT officers came to the JPAC meeting to announce funding for study and design, but not construction, and that this matter will take time to resolve. See links to petitions etc.
Update may 2016. The Chicago Department of Transportation will ask on a hearing on June 13, 2016 before IDOT for allocation of $2M for restoration of Darrow Bridge, whose official project title is now "Columbia Dr. "Clarence Darrow" Bridge/59th Street Access to Lakefront Trail." JPAC and other stakeholders/organizations are submitting letters of support that will be given as part of the record to IDOT Secretary Randall Blankenhorn.
Update November 2015. According to Sam Rappaport in the Herald, CDOT Director of Public Relations Mike Claffey said: “The City of Chicago has selected Stanley Consultants for the Engineering Study and Design of the Columbian Bridge. We expect the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to be given to the consultant in the very near future. They would then be able to start the Engineering Study (Phase I) and Design (Phase II).” In practice, Claffey said, construction could begin late 2018 or 2019. This continued slippage has many who visit Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden, and need to go through the park east to west frustrated.
By SAM RAPPAPORT [Herald evening digest, November 18, 2015]
With construction on Wooden Island scheduled for completion in six months, the condition of the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge is posed to inconvenience many Chicagoans hoping to experience a revamped Jackson Park.
Five years ago, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) called into question the safety of the Darrow Bridge, located in the northern section of Jackson Park–just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Due to its state of decay, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic through the park. Just over a year ago, the continuing degeneration of the bridge caused it to be closed to pedestrian traffic as well. The Darrow Bridge remains the only path of access to Wooded Island and the Japanese Gardens from the east side of the park.
President of the Jackson Park Advisory Council Louise McCurry said that for over three years she’s been in negotiations with CDOT to get the bridge up to standards.
“For the last three years, we consistently get the same story,” McCurry said.
Strapped for cash, CDOT first provides construction funds to bridges that experience high levels of traffic. Because of this, The Darrow Bridge sits low on the the city’s list of priorities.
Additionally, because the bridge, built in the late 1880's, holds a unique place in Hyde Park’s history, its reconstruction must be done according to specific, historic standards. This process takes more time and more money than is usually the case for typical construction projects.
Though, a restrained optimism might be freshly appropriate for the future of the Darrow Bridge. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, CDOT said that construction on the bridge could begin in 2018.
“The City of Chicago has selected Stanley Consultants for the Engineering Study and Design of the Columbian Bridge,” said Mike Claffey, Director of Public Affairs for CDOT. “We expect the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to be given to the consultant in the very near future. They would then be able to start the Engineering Study (Phase I) and Design (Phase II).”
Claffey explained that construction on the bridge is estimated to begin two to three years after the NTP is given. That would place the earliest possible construction date in late 2018 or early 2019.
McCurry responded to the news with a renewed sense of hope.
“This process is longer than anything I’ve experienced,” McCurry said. “But this is great news, because at least there’s a process laid out.”
She continued, “This bridge is an amazing part of Hyde Park history, and we commend CDOT for sticking with it.”
Update March 2015. A nicer but much more effective fence has been erected.
Funding has been identified and a design plan developed. Work is scheduled to commence in 2017.
A new, better-looking fence has been put across the Darrow Bridge. Public crossing is not allowed.
Darrow Bridge update (Aug. 14, 2014 JPAC meeting). Chicago Department of Transportation. Luis Benitez, bridge engineer.
Funding has been secured for phases 1, design study, and 2, full design, but not yet for the construction. While the study will take only a few months (and include laser scanning the entire bridge), full design and its approval will likely take at least two years (before construction could start) following the law (which designates this bridge historic) for complete historic restoration. However, that reconstruction will nevertheless allow having both a traffic lane (max. allowed 36 tons as nominally for the present bridge) and a bike-pedestrian lane. Mr. Benitez confirmed that the bridge truly is compromised structurally and could not just be covered over for pedestrian-bike passage in the meantime. Some of the compromise is from damage done, and the access to the understructure, reopened about 12 years ago, will be permanently blocked.
A temporary foot bridge would cost at least a half million, need to be structurally sound and safe and require time also. Asked about the ugly, off-putting closure fencing, he said other funding would have to be found and replacement would also have to effectively close the bridge to passage. Members pointed out that blocked access to the Island from the parking lot east of the bridge and the cut off of east-west access through the park to the lakefront in this north half of the park are a serious, untenable burden to the park and community and that JPAC should seek a temporary solution such as a footbridge until the bridge is historically restored.
Regulations and procedures are very complex, including even putting the bridge up “for sale” and doing an environmental impact study. One of the practical problems is that this is a “small” non-traffic bridge and project, so getting fast tracking and then the interest of contractors (who have lots of projects in tow now) will not be easy. On the other hand, a 80-20 federal-state SACC match may be possible. Construction is not expected to start before some time in 2017 or 2018.
Letter to HP Herald re Darrow Bridge (issue of October 1 2014)
The Jackson Park Advisory Council salutes the federal government for making available tens of millions of dollars to construct three pedestrian bridges over South Lake Shore Drive between 35th and 43rd Streets (Chicago Tribune, September 14, 2014). Convenient access to Lake Michigan for residents of South Kenwood, Oakwood, and the slightly more distant Bronzeville is in keeping with the democratic spirit espoused by park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, who with city fathers Aaron Montgomery Ward and Daniel Burnham agreed that the Lakefront should remain forever open, free, and clear.
Some twenty blocks south of the sites for these bridges, another bridge cries for help. For several years, the historic Clarence Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park has been falling apart. The Bridge’s original Beaux Arts railings and other fixtures, so in keeping with the grand style of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, are rusted, bent, or missing. The rockwork supporting the Bridge from beneath is spalling and stained from weather and smoke from illegal fires. Rusted support beams and fractured macadam make the Bridge unsafe for any form of vehicular traffic. In other words, the public is denied safe, legal access to the park and lakefront, both of which are legally theirs to enjoy.
Suppose you are an elderly Japanese-American who, to this nation's retrospective embarrassment, spent almost all of the World War II years in an internment camp in the West. You have come to Chicago to visit the most famous Japanese cultural site in the Midwest, the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island in Jackson Park. You have heard that the Garden is a shrine to the tremendous contributions made by Imperial Japan to the World Columbian Exposition of 1893. You want to see it before you die.
You arrive at the parking lot immediately south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Your relatives assist you into your wheel chair for the planned excursion to the Garden, but you can travel only a short distance before you are stopped by high, chain-link panels bearing a sign announcing, in huge letters, ROAD CLOSED. Is this another kind of insult?
Hardy individuals – committed trekkers, birders, joggers, and bicyclists have pried open the panels blocking access to the Bridge. Physically impaired individuals are left out.
Since the mid-1880s, the Bridge has been crossed by people traveling by foot, carriage, or other vehicular means from the east “Lake Michigan side” or the west “Stony Island side.” The Bridge was the way to go to get to the west side of Jackson Park, Wooded Island, the Midway Plaisance, and points beyond. Or it was the way to get to Lake Michigan, the vast meadow now known as Bobolink Meadow, or the tennis courts or North Harbor. In 1957 it officially became the Clarence Darrow Bridge in tribute to Hyde Park’s great trial lawyer. Every March 13, the anniversary of Darrow’s 1938 death, politicians, historians, family members, and various individuals of liberal bent gather at the Bridge to honor his memory by tossing a wreath into the lagoon’s friendly waters.
We South Siders rejoice that new pedestrian bridges across South Lake Shore Drive will open Chicago's Lakefront to families and other groups from North Kenwood, Oakwood, and Bronzeville. We all agree, however, that Jackson Park, so very near Lake Michigan, should be accessible to all. It would cost five million dollars to restore the Darrow Bridge to its original beauty and function, far less than the tens of millions of dollars required for bridge repair and construction over Lake Shore Drive. An intact Darrow Bridge would complement the new bridges and complete local access to the great treasure that is Lake Michigan. It is an investment that must be made.
Jackson Park Advisory Council
Louise McCurry, President
Frances S. Vandervoort [author]
We lose one of our kids.
Antonio Smith, aged 9, was brutally killed in or near a back yard near his home at 73rd and Woodlawn on August 20 2014. He was active in the Jackson Park team and daycamp programs and in the WITS reading program at the park and a typical kid. He loved to read and joke and play. A service in the fieldhouse was held Friday, August 22, 4 pm. Four suspects were caught mid September. Trials are coming up.
Shootings with one death in or near the Iowa shelter 1700 block of 56th St. June 22 c. 7:15 pm.
From the July 14 2014 JPAC meeting- see below in Recent Meetings.
By Gary Ossewaarde
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 (chief spokesperson being Captain Sean Loughran of the 3rd District, 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.
Esther Schechter, who walks the park a lot and is on the JPAC safety reporting committee, said she nonetheless feels safe walking in the park.
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) has 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. More
May 24 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.
Thank You to the One Summer youth jobs and service program and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a beach sweep in late July at the 63rd St. Beach.
Security and safety- from the July 14 2014 draft minutes (see update above on accomplishment by late July)
The primary agenda item was concerns and strategies for security in the park, particularly what was being done and should be done following the fatal shooting of Ovadiyah Chandler in the Iowa building on June 22, called by police an isolated incident and the subject of an ongoing investigation. The 3rd District city police has the primary responsibility in this park, southward from 56th St. Resources for the park, recently increased, include one dedicated car for the park (with backups), bike and foot, patrols, and special assignment teams, as explained by 3rd District Capt. Sean Loughran. Strategies include knowing and dealing with known offenders (and others seen in the act or reported) including by issuing citations for which recipients must show up in court, focused attention to “quality of life” violations, prompt or early closings (by 9 p.m. in the Iowa building area), shutting down large or loud-music groups as they emerge, checking “hiding places,” and return visits.
Chicago Park District has a roving car, uses “ticketing” to clear problem parking lots, and concentrates on the 63rd beach area and on evening closing of the park. Park District staff trims vegetation. CPD Security asst. chief Lorenzo Chew said closing earlier would not be helpful.
The public’s help is needed—to report problems to 911- and agreeing to stay near the scene available to be called back for updates or more details and to report large gatherings as they start so they can be checked for permits. President McCurry asked that people especially monitor playgrounds, and take care against theft from cars.
Attendees pointed out specific problems, places, and times for police to watch. For the Iowa building, lights were malfunctioning again despite ongoing repairs, and trash shows activity continues after closure and police leave. Esther Schechter, a diligent JPAC safety committee member, said that she feel safe walking in the park. Alderman Hairston endorsed requests for more fix up and an active program at the Iowa building beyond the exercise groups that are starting to use the area. She also announced a multi-ward Fire Department water safety demonstration at the 57th St. Beach July 24 3-4 p.m.
More updates. By the end of July, the lights were consistently on at night at the Iowa Building and the activities seem to have stopped. More pruning along 56th to Stony Island has resulted in (at least for now) end of activity in the playlots.
In early fall a youth conducted two separate assaults in the vicinity of 5700/5800 Lake Shore Drive. He was caught.
(From the same meeting) Swimming program for kids started in Jackson Park, but deficiency was observed.
JPAC, specifically Dwight Powell, JPAC treasurer, has worked for some time to implement a youth swimming program for the South Side. He found that funds are available for the South Side. Ability to swim is a highly important skill and is required for youth to take boating and related lessons. Powell reported swim lessons are available at Montrose Beach and at long last supposed to be at 63rd, but were not. [See follow up below*.]
CPD did respond to inquiries. JPAC learned that CPD no longer offers swimming classes at beaches, although some non-government entities (NGOs) do. CPD classes are at pools—and the CPD website says there are often wait lists. JPAC is concerned about no or poor lessons here, vs. at Montrose Beach. JPAC will vigorously work for lessons for our south side kids starting this summer.
Gary Ossewaarde was awarded this year's Golden Lady Award by JPAC for his work for JPAC, Jackson and other parks and community organizations.
The July minutes will appear in the August Newsletter by the end of July.
Earlier 2014 meetings have had fascinating speakers on such diverse topics as habitat restoration plans, Chicago bungalows, sculpture installations.
At the July meeting at the Iowa building constructive security discussion was held with with police, but it was also brought out that there are ongoing security and physical problems there. Major repairs have been made in various parts of the park. JPAC makes an effort to recognize those who help and work for the park. At the July picnic meeting at the Iowa building Gary Ossewaarde was given JPAC's annual Golden Lady award.
August 2 2014, Spectralia Theater thrilled upwards of 45 spectators of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in the Music Court south of the parking lot south of the Museum basin. This program, JPAC hopes, will re-launch the Music court as a programming space. This area with a paved circle and walks radiating out in spokes was designed by the FL Olmsted's sons in one of the post-Fair plans and for many years had a band shell and performances. Spectralia's play is part of the Chicago Park District's (including the Culture and Nature and the Arts Partnerships divisions) special summer programming themed on theater, dance and other cultural activities throughout the parks. Naturally, district staff and JPAC did a great deal of work to get this part of the park ready. And JPAC trundled over chairs and brought water, snacks, and reading materials. Naturally, there are things to work on to make future programs successful (here and in other parts of the park), and such programming has to fit in among the sometimes noisy, heavy panoply of permitted and casual picnics and other celebrations in this very active part of the park. We did a good job of keeping a parking area clear and putting up flags and other markers, but better marking and directions on maps and in th park may be needed. Many more people now know about this beautiful, special place. Spectralia was superb!
Signs are up! 4 (?) signs noting Wooded Island as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary (unacknowledged there since a bronze plaque by the Japanese Garden was stolen- the original designation was made in the 1970s). The signs join that at the north end of the north bridge onto the Island designating the bridge as the Nancy Campbell Hays Memorial Bridge. Also erected were two signs on the Jackson Park (63rd St.) Bathing Pavilion designating the superstructure/ upper balconies (stairs and open air balconies and towers) the Eric Hatchett pavilion. Hatchett was a tireless advocate for youth programs in the park and spearheaded restoration and re-opening of the Bathing Pavilion and served for several years as president of Jackson Park Advisory Council. See about Nancy C. Hays and Resolution and Petition and about Eric Hatchett. These honors had been sought by JPAC for some time. We thank the CPD staff and board of Commissioners for supporting these honors and staff for putting up the signs.
OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER (Library, Museum, Institute) in Jackson Park
PLEASE VISIT OUR OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY PAGE, (http://www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac/ObamaPLibrary.htm. )
June 21 2014, JPAC, Chicago Park District, the city, and Chicago Plays! (which includes Friends of the Parks) held dedication and ribbon-cutting for the Chrysalis playground at 56th and Cornell- a block east of Stony Island and across the street from Windermere House.
JPAC held a DEDICATION OF THE NEW PLAYGROUND AT THE FIELDHOUSE (6401 S. Stony Island) June 25, Wednesday, 1:30 pm
A joyous dedication of the impressive Harold Washington Playlot was held by Mayor, Ald. Burns and Hairston.
The Chicago Plays! five year playground replacement program is a coalition of Chicago Park District, Friends of the Parks, and the safe playground coalition led by Lurie Children's Hospital.
BEACH POLLUTION AND SWIM BANS- NOTE, aLLIANCE FDOR THE GREAT LAKES IS COMING WITH IDEAS TO THE AUGUST 11 JPAC MEETING
-- progress has been made in recent years with Chicago beaches but Park District, scientists continue to study varied causes and seek more progress. For more information see the page on the pollution testing and swim bans.
July 2014. Heavy rain this summer brought a mixed blessing: the rise in water level have perhaps helped alleviate problems at the notoriously shallow 63rd beach and jackson Park harbors, but the necessity of diverting stormwater into Lake Michigan after torrential downpours resulted in some swim bans, and increasing frequency of large watershed wash-offs brings more pollutants and food for the wrong things to grow into the Lakes and subsidiary/tributary bodies.
The July 18 Chicago Tribune carried a story on the present direction of the Park District on curbing beach pollution and swim bans. The US Geological Survey Great Lakes Station which employs Richard Whitman who did a study of the 63rd St. beach several years ago. The USGS is testing for contribution of dogs' DNA to the pollution and counts at Montrose, 63rd, Rainbow, and Calumet beaches. At beaches such as 63rd, use of border collies to clear off gulls was credited with a good deal of the improvement over the past few years. But this hasn't worked at Montrose, which remains among the most troubled of Illinois beaches according to the Natural Resources Defense Fund. Montrose has a dog beach, so it has been suggested that those dogs are countering any progress due to driving off gulls-- but Foster Beach also has a dog beach but no problem. Although Chicago, indeed Illinois beaches certainly not among the worst or most often closed on Lake Michigan and have seen much progress, the Park District would like to see more progress. [See sections below on changes in measuring and standards in recent years which partially cloud the matter; and as the article points out there are many factors contributing to lake and beach pollution, subject to changes over time, especially with our fluctuating water levels.] A new factor the NRDF says might be helping at 63rd St . is the natural vegetation installed between the parking lot and beach in 2012.- GMO.] While answers are sought, Cathy Breitenbach of the CPD reminds that people can do their part by not leaving contaminants or food for birds, dogs et al on beach and upstream or in the water.
READ MORE AND BACKGROUND MATERIAL IN THE pollution testing and swim bans page.
JPAC opened its SECOND YEAR of weekly WHITE CITY TOURS the first week of May with a goodly crowd. These free WEEKLY tours start SATURDAYS 11 AM (through the end of October) at the west end of the parking lot south of the Museum (east of the Darrow Bridge) and walk the Fair footprint in different parts of the park on a rotating basis. For more info visit FriendsoftheWhiteCity.org- query and signup options and notice of cancellations are therein. Thank you, Raymond Johnson. Of course, many others are doing tours of their takes on WC favorites, some open to the public such as Chicago Architecture Foundation but most of the others with a charge.
JPAC expects to announce nature and nature trail walks soon, many are in conjunction with work opportunities. -- call Gary about paper and website interactive tour brochures and maps- firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 14 2014 Our JULY MEETING was a PICNIC at the IOWA Building we had a productive meeting with police and park security and focused on various initiatives in the park. Thanks to the 45+ who came!
In 2015 this will be at our July or August meeting.
Sculptor Margot McMahon in 2014 decorated a dead tree south of 57th on the west side of Lake Shore Drive with oversized stylized bird forms to get people thinking of how dependent birds, wildlife, and ourselves are on trees, which we are losing a tremendous rate. This is part of a huge one-year project by Chicago Sculpture International, the city and the park district. This year much is on the South Side focused on parks and the boulevards. Ms. McMahon presented on her and the whole project at the June JPAC meeting, which also hosted a splendid presentation by Brenda McKinney of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban Fishing Program. See the July Newsletter for more.
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.
Sad note: For the second time, koi goldfish, treasured in Japan, introduced into the pond in the Japanese Garden at private expense, were stolen or fished out. It would seem apparent that such stocking will not work there, perhaps because the fish are too bright and noticeable, perhaps noticeable because they are non-native.In any case, the lesson for us is that if something is happening that seems not quite right, report it.
April 12 2014 JPAC meeting. Frances S. Vandervoort was unanimously elected Vice President to fill out the term until November. Mary Ellen Guest of the Chicago Historic Bungalow Association talked about energy efficiency and green assistance available, and do's and don'ts. JPAC endorsed the Project 120 concept and recommended it be given a title that stresses Jackson Park and that it will be a nature and culture center. And we learned about things happening fast and furious- will be available in the minutes in the May Newsletter.
HABITAT RESTORATION. (Tour Sept. 5, 10 am from south end (63rd))
(YOU CAN READ THIS MATERIAL BY ITSELF.)
About the US ARMY CORPS PLAN, SECTION 506 OF THE GREAT LAKES FISHERY AND ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION. By Gary Ossewaarde. (MAY 7 AND 12 2014 PUBLIC MEETING SUMMARIES BY GARY OSSEWAARDE- SEE IN THE JUNE JPAC NEWSLETTER (OR PRINT VERSION BY ITSELF IN PDF) and the SEPTEMBER JPAC NEWSLETTER (OR PRINT VERSION BY ITSELF IN PDF.))
THE MAP AND EXPLANATION THAT IS ON THE FENCES in pdf.
Outline of what's in the project. Links to ACE documents.
See also the June 10 Memorandum of Understanding (incl. Exhibit E) between Project 120 and the CPD/
Wooded Island stewardship interview April 2016. Please use the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1URd--HA1m0
For information contact Jerry Levy: email@example.com.
Check back regarding tours and open hours.
Reports and opportunities to get information, updates:
Summer 2015 update: go to the AUGUST 2015 JPAC NEWSLETTER IN PDF- scroll to p. 3.
Friends of Jackson Park. An article on the GLFER project and Wooded Island was published in the South Side Weekly in late May 2016. To see suggested corrections and additions from project manager Lauren Umek click here. See the update article at http://southsideweekly.com/behind-the-fence/
November 9 2015 and February 8 2016 people had a chance to weigh in on changes and framework ideas on the South Parks and learn the history and work in progress.
The huge planting on Wooded Island and edges around the lagoons and Bobolink Meadow will be done in spring 2016. Noise reducing berms were installed along west side sections of Lake Shore Drive. (The white irrigation pipes including along planted sections north of Hayes Drive will be up during the duration of the project.)
Project 120 seeks to raise the $1M needed to ecologically replant edges of the Inner Harbor-- the local share must be raised by the end of September 2016 in order to take advantage of ACE federal funds.
Accessed and used so far for the total GLFER project: $5M of $13.
Latest timetable is for the Island (both entries) to be open sometime in summer 2016. SOME FINAL WORK AND PREP FOR BIG PLANTING (IN 2017) WILL BE DONE SPRING/SUMMER 2016- THEY WILL BE WATCHING FOR WHAT VOLUNTEERS COME UP. THEN DO INITIAL PLANTING. LATE JUNE OR EARLY JULY it is expected the big fencing will come down and the Island be open.
UPDATES ON MONARCHS AND MILKWEED, JUNE 2016
June 15, 2016
From Lauren Umek, the project manager for the Park District for the restoration project at Jackson Park. Jerry Levy, Wooded Island volunteer steward.
In response to concern about the loss of milkweeds at Jackson Park.
I appreciate the concern about monarch habitat and would like to assure everyone that the Chicago Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers are committed to supporting, and improving habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. As you recall, one of the most important goals of ecological restoration is to improve habitat and ecosystem functioning in and around the Great Lakes. In practice, this includes removing invasive species and adding a diversity of plant species that support a range and diversity of wildlife, including pollinators.
In the coming months, contractors will begin installing native plants that include five different species of milkweed (swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, long-leaf milkweed, purple milkweed, and whorled milkweed) that provide food for monarch caterpillars as well as other host plant species such as Black-eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Pussytoes, Verbena, and six species of Asters that support additional species of butterfly caterpillars. The ecological restoration work on Wooded Island also includes the planting of 167 different species of flowering plants that provide food for the butterflies when they emerge as well as an additional 86 species of trees and shrubs that also support pollinators.
The photos that were shared were of common milkweed, a plant that establishes very well without seeding and can sometimes even be weedy. In fact, there is an abundance of common milkweed throughout the park. There are some areas where the contractor has thinned dominant stands of common milkweed in preparation for planting a greater diversity of species.
In addition to planting efforts that support pollinator habitat, the Natural Areas team of the Chicago Park District is working with the Field Museum to monitor monarch butterflies at several sites including Jackson Park.
June 27, 2016 Lauren Umek writes (photos connected with this report are credit Applied Ecological Services and should be posted in jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org)
Subject: Monarch Monitoring at Wooded Island Results
On Monday, we [CPD Dept. of Cultural and Natural Resources]partnered with the Field Museum Monarch team that is investigating a wide diversity of current and potential monarch butterfly habitats. They are looking at a variety of sites, with different ecological goals, land owners, public uses, and management activities to gather baseline data on current monarch habitat and to refine some preliminary hypotheses about monarch habitat in Chicago region.
Below is a brief summary of the data that they collected across the 82 (54 existing + 24 new) acres of natural area at Wooded Island, the observed the following:
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed): 382
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed): 77
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed): 13
This baseline data gives us a great starting point to see how Wooded Island compares to other nature areas in the region and how this habitat changes overtime with ongoing restoration and management. As part of the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project with the US Army Corps of Engineers, we’ll be planting more swamp milkweed, butterfly weed and will installing 3 other Asclepias species including, long-leaf milkweed, purple milkweed, and whorled milkweed. A photo of a monarch caterpillar on one of the recently planted plugs A. tuberosa (butterfly weed) is attached.
In other insect news, the contractors on site, Applied Ecological Services, have been keeping an eye out on insects (and other species) and they seem to be responding really well to the restoration efforts. Two nice photos of some particularly beautify insects are available at the link below. They are of a native bee (yes, bees can be green!) on some of the recently planted and abundantly flowering Prairie Sundrops (Oenothera pillosella), a beautiful silk moth (boot for scale), and the attached monarch caterpillar. In May, a U of C class sampled some aquatic invertebrates as well and found a number of cool organisms, including 4 species of dragonfly nymphs.
Department of Cultural and Natural Resources
About tree removal and policy in Jackson Park and the GLFER project. By Jerry Levy, site steward June 15, 2016
I can respond to the concern about cutting down trees in areas of Jackson Park. I did a complete inventory of all the trees on Wooded Island before the GLFER project was undertaken and I have reviewed all the trees that were planned for removal. The trees that were removed were only either dead, damaged or invasive species. Many dead trees were not removed to provide habitat for wildlife and nurture for the soil. Beginning this fall and next spring at least as many and probably more trees that were removed will be replaced by new trees chosen for their quality and natural habitat. This has all been done with the joint participation of the Park District, the Olmstead landscape restoration person from Heritage Landscapers, the Army Corp of Engineers and the contractor. I know that Lauren Umek has led several groups on tours of Wooded Island and explained this process in a much better scientific way. Jerry Levy
Fall 2015- water nearly at normal level, water and edge plants growing, birds in abundance, concrete roadway were poured and stone paths to overlooks lain. Virtually all the construction is done. Some more trees will be hand removed (without heavy equipment) and preparations made for the spring 2016 planting. The screening will come down. We expect the Island (and both bridges) will be opened in spring if not before.
November 28: This Saturday Lauren Umek (CPD project manager of Jackson Park restoration) and I will be conducting a tour of Wooded Island which will show the tremendous progress that has been completed now. We will meet at the south parking lot at 10:00 a m. The new roadway is finished. The four outlooks on Wooded Island are now built and the crushed limestone for them and the paths leading to and from them is being completed. Last Friday the contractor completed a fairly successful burn of much of the Island. Planting of the shoreline of the Island is done and the new plants along the wet fringe are being protected from the geese with fences. This winter some additional work will be done in preparation for the new planting of trees, shrubs and plants in the spring. The fence will remain up this winter but the curtain covering the fence which is intended to protect debris and dust from escaping during construction will hopefully be removed. Hope to see you Saturday. If you have any questions feel free to call me at home. 773 955 6384. Jerry Levy. CPD volunteer steward.
UPDATE from the August 10, 2015 meeting. Lauren Umek, CPD project manager announced that she and Jerry Levy will hold the next informational walk through and planting or other work option on Wooded Island on September 5, 10 am, from the south end. Possible is an evening walk through, requested by birding groups and others.
Project work progress includes: completed slopes and removal of invasives along shores of the lagoons and Jackson Inner Harbor (although funding is not yet assigned for planting at the latter- which was suggested for a workday). Water is nearly at proper level. 160 pounds of minnows were placed in the lagoons and will be watched for survival and growth. Stocking with larger fish awaits establishment of the lagoon and shore plants-- 90,000 plants and lots of seeds are in. At work is a daily crew of 15, several from the city’s Green Corps. Crushed limestone gravel for the roadway and paths to the overlooks is installed, but there was a delay in getting the right color (Olmsted palette) pavers for the overlooks themselves. The concrete roadway will be the last of the heavy work and must precede even partial opening of the Island. People have requested some kind of access to the Japanese Garden as soon as possible—it is opened to guided tours only, when safe to do so. Jerry Levy pointed out that the mulched side trails in the interior need to be reconstituted in coordination with the fall burn and getting ready for heavy planting.
From the May 2015 meeting. Wooded Island update. Lauren Umek, CPD project manager reported an excellent annual Bird Count with Department of Natural Resources and Audubon. This was able to proceed despite Island closure and work. The numbers and species of birds and turtles is large. Members asked that the bird count be available online. The deteriorated road was demolished and will soon be replaced. Finishing structural work on Wooded Island and the lagoons- including turtle and fish habitat- is top priority, to be completed if possible by the end of summer. Re-opening date depends on completion of shore work and the road, and weather. Planting starts in the next few weeks-- Nurseries in Wisconsin and Kansas are growing many thousands of plants. A major community planting day will occur June 27 including trees and shrubs. Fences and signage are meant to be taken seriously--all are asked to stay out of the lagoons, which have dangerous drop-offs, uneven bottoms, and unstable sand. Grading is essentially done and the water is being allowed to rise naturally to its level. Bobolink shore work was still in progress. Norm Bell discussed possible shore plant relocations and new plantings. Umek has met with local groups including the U of C Service League and has led informational walk throughs, including a “Jane’s Walk” (co-host CPD parks historian Julia Bachrach) that drew over 50 participants. The next Island walk through will be on May 30 10 am from the south bridge. Umek gave JPAC detailed drawings and samples of the fence signs.
Army Corps site for the project: http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorksProjects/JacksonPark.aspx.
In other nature news, beavers are back; the situation will be monitored to see if any action should be taken.
Jerry Levy wrote April 28: For authoritative and detailed information about the current project on wooded Island see the column in the Hyde Park Herald tomorrow (April 29 2014). (The article by Jeff Bishku-Aykul says that the contractor does have authorization to keep the Island closes as necessary for up to 5 years but that both the park district spokesperson and manager for the contractor Applied Ecological Services Josh LaPointe told Bishku-Aykul that would be unlikely unless something happens like persons damaging/destroying new plantings etc. More likely the Island will reopen to pedestrians fall 2015, LaPointe is quoted: "That's the hope. That's teh plan. I don't know that we'll have the fence still up, and we'll have the gates open... It's going to be awesome out there, so we want people to get out there and enjoy it."
The lead CPD project manager for the ACE habitat restoration project Lauren Umek will be present at most JPAC meetings to answer questions. 6401 S. Stony Island Ave. 2nd Mondays 7 pm.
April 2015- THE ISLAND IS FENCED OFF THROUGH MUCH OFSUMMER 2015 AT LEAST. There will be exceptions including some workdays, such as June 27 tree and shrub planting. In early May the turtle and fish habitat were being built. All are anxious for the water to rise.
(The Army Corps announced in April that it will build a new protective groin at the entrance to the Jackson Park (63rd) Harbor. The 1000 foot barrier of 300 feet of steel and 700 of stone should block sediment buildup at the entrance and channel and calm wave action. It will provide new fish and bird habitat without impacting federally recognized species or environment. This is part of the ACE Jackson Park Fishery and Habitat Restoration Project. Info at 1.usa.gov/1OHtZ or as linked in ACE 2014.
NEW- go to March 6 2015 one-page report and update from CPD project manager Lauren Umek.
Report from Wooded Island Steward Jerry Levy, March 3, 2015
Greetings Wooded Island Working Group:
This winter has seen a very substantial amount of work on Wooded Island. The long range plan is very promising, and I am looking forward to watching it unfold in its entirety. I have the luxury of having been continuously informed by Lauren Umek the Chicago Park District project manager overseeing the work being done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and their contractors. Here is some information about what has been done and the plan for the next few years.
The USACE’s planned and scheduled tree removals on Wooded Island have been completed. There are still a few trunks and wood pilings that are being removed in phases.
If you visit the site you will see a very substantial change to the landscape. The open spaces will soon begin filling in as the shrubs, plants and grasses begin to emerge and the trees begin to bud and leaf out this spring.
This first stage of the work on Wooded Island concentrated on removing damaged, invasive, and non-native, trees and Woody shrubs and cutting down herbaceous plants and grasses to increase light available for smaller Oaks, and other important native plants. The next phase will be to allow nature to take its course this spring and summer and to observe the species of shrubs and plants that will emerge from the existing plants and seed beds in the various eco systems on Wooded Island. The result will help refine how the scheduled plantings will be further enhanced and developed.
This summer will see a complete rebuilding of the roadway on Wooded Island and the construction of gravel pathways leading to four different historically referenced “lookouts” from the Island. Shoreline grading will also be carried out this spring/summer, further increasing lower shoreline zone habitats. Planting in areas around the Island (not on it) will be going on this season.
Beginning in the spring of 2016 massive plantings of native trees shrubs and plants will begin on the Island.
We will have our normal workdays on the 4th Saturday of each month, as usual, beginning this March, weather permitting. I hope the weather will cooperate and the promise that spring brings will be evident. Look forward to seeing everyone.
For all those who love Wooded Island, and no one loves it more than I, rest assured that the project that is underway will result in a phenomenally beautiful and user-friendly Olmsted restored park.
Sometimes the devil is in the details. In this case the beauty is in the details contained in the voluminous plans and specifications for this restoration. It should be comforting to know that, along with the Army
Corps of Engineers, the Chicago Park District, and the ecologically experienced landscape contractor, there is another important leader and planner of this project: Patricia O'Donnell is a landscape designer who is very well known in the restoration of Olmsted's parks. All of the details of this project pass through her. Be patient. Think of how a house looks when a major restoration has just begun. If anyone is interested in having a guided tour through Wooded Island in the next couple of weeks or getting details of the restoration, feel free to reply. The island will probably be close to pedestrian traffic soon.
(Guided tour/walk through can be scheduled through firstname.lastname@example.org. March 21's was well attended and informational.)
Gary Ossewaarde adds: The big thing to hold onto is that the project is not "purist" on any one set of objectives but must satisfy several--- reviving Olmsted's design vision in a way that reflects more recent understandings and experience and is sustainable, a high quality set of natural habitats that are home for lots of wildlife-- also in a sustainable manner, and reflects modern public/visitors/users expectations for a large park. Compromises are to be expected (and some mistakes?). Not all non-natives will be removed, and some non-natives will be planted. Also, despite the huge plantings in future years, the island will have a more open look and feel, at least at eye level, which may be somewhat of a loss for people like me who want to pretend we are not at all in a city when we go there, even though one could always see some high rises.
An excellent walkthrough with JPAC and work group was held March 13 2015.
More reports and comments
Jerry Levy, site steward in Good Neighbors, May 5 2015
There seems to be a misunderstanding of some as to what is taking place on Wooded Island. It is a fantastic project that has nothing but beneficial benefits for the environment and use of Wooded Island. The attack against the Army Corps of Engineers for the removal of “invasive” species is entirely misplaced. In the first place, it is necessary to understand that “invasive,” as it is used to determine what plants and trees are to be removed, does not mean “non-native.” The definition of “invasive” for this purpose means a non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. The fact of a species being non-native or alien in itself does not make it “invasive.” There is virtually unanimous support among the scientific community for the removal of such invasive plants and trees.
The determination of what plants and tree were to be removed was not that of the Army Corps of Engineers. The initial decision was that of Patricia O’Donnell, the landscape designer who has successfully restored a number of other Frederic Olmsted’s parks. She collaborated with and continues to collaborate with the Chicago Park District, the general contractor and the Army Corps in the restoration process.
While the benefits to the various ecosystems on the Island may not be immediately apparent, they will start to become evident soon. The long range outlook for the successful restoration of Wooded Island is astonishing and will benefit everyone. The nurture of the lagoons and shorelines around the lagoons is being directed by Frank Vertuci [sic Veraldi] of the Army Corps. He is eminently qualified for this job. It will not only considerably improve the quality of the water but will benefit all the aquatic life and the birds and animals there. In the meantime there is a need for patience. While the work is in progress, the Island needs to be secured. As it has been disclosed, it is the target of the contractor and the Park District to open the Island as soon as possible, even as soon as this summer.
Jerry Levy, Wooded Island Steward
Comment by Jane Masterson on Good Neighbors blog re turtles and frogs. May 6, 2015
I called The Urban Wildlife Institute and the biologist I talked to said that the turtles who are sitting in the middle of a mud flat would be much more likely to be killed by predators than turtles that are hiding in their normal habitat. He said that during the similar restoration project in Lincoln Park the turtles were trapped and moved to other areas. Perhaps since the Columbia Basin lagoon and inner harbor still have water the turtles could be moved there. Possibly even be trapped again and moved back after then work is done. There is also the possibility that buried turtles will be killed when the lagoons are dredged. I plan to call the Army Corps of Engineers tomorrow. Maybe they’ve already planned how to save the turtles.
The lagoons aren’t as dry after yesterday’s rain. The workers near the music bridge (near the tennis court entrance of bobolink meadow) said there will be spots that won’t be drained.
They said the area right off the bridge was 3 feet deep. I said “How do you know?” They said we tried to walk through it. Unclear how safe these areas will be when they dredge the lagoon. The Urban Wildlife Institute biologist said the frogs would survive if there was some water left
Editor: queries for more detail on this issue, degree of disturbance in present phase, and how quickly water will be raised are being addressed to the Army Corps.
Persons noted that migratory species numbers and shore birds are up (the latter temporary because of low water level?). Some birders would prefer the decisions were made by bird naturalist organizations.
Addendum answers from Jerry regarding work first week of May 2015
"According to the contractor no more water is being pumped out of the lagoons. Their plan is to allow the water to gradually come back. If there is a need for more water to fill the lagoons sometime this summer they will open valves where the water is held back to allow water in from the lake. The fish will not be introduced until the habitat has been established. I have not heard of a time table for this". Jerry Levy. Ms. Masterson and other observers reported turtle etc. and fish habitat and structures being installed and lots of turtles and herons. Birding has been good on the island.
Here are answers to questions on current and planned work in relation to reptiles and fish. From Frank Veraldi of the Army Corps via Jerry Levy.
The following information was provided today by Frank Veraldi the Army Corps person in charge of the aquatic phase of the work on the lagoons at Wooded Island
Regarding turtles - Turtle habitat is being installed today. About 25 to 40 large trees are being placed to provide basking and hunting habitat. The ponds are also slowly filling up. Many types of natural wetlands dry out as well. Some turtles require this to happen for survival and reproduction.
The two turtle species identified from the lagoons today are Red Ear Slider and Snapping Turtle. Snapping turtles climb steep banks and bluffs to dig holes and lay their eggs where it is dry, so they would have no problem climbing the bank and going to Lake Michigan, which is 20 feet away, if they need more water that is.
Reptile and amphibian activities are coordinated with the Illinois Natural History Survey.
We are also introducing 3 species of freshwater mussels to the Jackson Lagoons once the habitat is restored, which will provide high quality food for juvenile turtles. This work will be performed by the Illinois Natural History Survey. We also may introduce Eastern Newts, since the habitat restored for them at Jackson Park is what they like and it is within their native range. Here is the current list of native, indicative coastal pond species that will be introduced into Jackson Lagoons once the habitat is restored:
Pyganodon grandis Giant Floater
Utterbackia imbecillis Paper Pondshell
Lampsilis siliquoidea Fatmucket
Toxolasma parvus Lilliput
Amia calva Bowfin
Notemigonus crysoleucas Golden Shiner
Pimephales promelas Fathead Minnow
Cyprinella spiloptera Spotfin Shiner
Notropis heterodon Blackchin Shiner
Erimyzon sucetta Lake Chubsucker
Noturus gyrinus Tadpole Madtom
Esox americanus Grass Pickerel
Esox lucius Northern Pike
Umbra limi Central Mudminnow
Fundulus diaphanus Banded Killifish
Pomoxis nigromaculatus Black Crappie
Lepomis gibbosus Pumpkinseed
Lepomis gulosus Warmouth
Etheostoma exile Iowa darter
Etheostoma nigrum Johnny darter
Notophthalmus viridescens eastern newt
The contract for Project 506 was awarded to Applied Ecological Services. Jerry Levy writes "Looks like that company is well suited to emphasize the importance of the ecological issues." Total maximum dollars available (not necessarily all to be spent) and to be allocated in 4 phases- $12,375,000: $8,043,750 from federal and $4, 301,250 from the local partner Chicago Park District and private.
In early February a wooden bridge was build to the south end of the Island for equipment and the lagoons were lowered for the dish removal and shore resculpturing. By end of the third week extensive removal of invasive overgrowth trees and an understory was done particularly in the southern part of the Island, the begriming stage of habitat restoration. Meanwhile, the extreme cold killed off the monoculture fish in the lagoons making any applications unnecessary.
From the December 8 2014 JPAC meeting. Reported by Lauren Umek of CPD:
Work on Wooded Island starts the next week (c. Dec. 15). The South Bridge to the Island will be fenced off. The North (Hays) bridge will remain open as well as access to Osaka Garden. Most of the Island will be fenced off. This m ay move as the work progresses. In this budget cycle only the Island and nearby will be replanted. No closure is planned for bobolink meadow although shore work is planned for later.
Corps ready- Army Corps to begin Jackson Park project - Herald in article by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul November 19 2014
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' restoration of Jackson Park could be well underway by next month. The 139-acres, five-year restoration of native habitats will kick off with invasive tree removal on the north end of the park and the replacement of fish in the Jackson Park lagoon, which is likely to be done by this December according to USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi.
"It sounds like everything's going pretty good right now, so I think we'll have the fish stuff done probably by December," Veraldi said. To replace the fish the Jackson Park lagoon will be drained about a foot by pumping water out into Lake Michigan faster than usual, according to Veraldi. One drained, the lagoon will be poisoned using rotenone, a mildly toxic pesticide that kills fish. A couple of days later, after removing the fish, the lagoon's water wil be restored to its natural level. "Even if poison did get into Lake Michigan it wouldn't do anything because it would get so diluted," said Veraldi, who added that rotenone would not get pumped into the pond at Osaka Garden. The lagoon will also be drained of about a foot for a week or two to perform contour work around its edges.
Jackson Park's restoration will take place in four phases of priority, starting on the park's northern half and ending in the vicinity of La Rabida Children's Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Drive. The project will cost $12.4 million in total , with the first phase costing $4.5 million.
In addition to lagoon work, the first phase of Jackson Park's restoration will include invasive tree removal on the northern half of Jackson Park. Root wads and trunks from around 80 tress will be placed in the lagoon, offering a source of food and protection for fish, according to Veraldi, who said they will also give birds a place to perch and turtles an area to bask in.
West Dundee, Ill-based contractor Applied Ecological Services will have until March 1, the beginning of the bird migration season, to remove trees. Wooded Island work day volunteers have prepared by identifying around 250 bur oak saplings and fencing off most of them, according to steward Jerry Levy. At the last workday, "we actually put red flags on the top of them, so somebody will be aware that this needs to be protected," Levy sid.
A more detailed timeline for Jackson Park's restoration was discussed in a Thursday meeting with Applied Ecological Services but is not yet final, according to Veraldi.
The contract for Project 506 has been awarded to Applied Ecological Services. Jerry Levy writes "Looks like that company is well suited to emphasize the importance of the ecological issues." Total maximum dollars available (not necessarily all to be spent) and to be allocated in 4 phases- $12,375,000: $8,043,750 from federal and $4, 301,250 from the local partner Chicago Park District and private
Report from Hyde Park Herald, by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul, online October 4, 2014
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awards contract for Jackson Park restoration.
By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has awarded a contract for its 139-acre, five-year restoration of native habitats in Jackson Park.
The USACE has chosen West Dundee, Ill.-based Applied Ecological Services (AES) to restore Jackson Park according to its plans. So far, it has awarded AES a $4 million base contract for work on the park’s north half and invasive tree removal throughout. The project’s more than 70 additional planned improvements — such as plantings — will be made gradually “as they make sense,” according to USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi.
“And we can do that up to about a point of 12 million, once we hit that ceiling,” Veraldi said.
In total, the project will have access to $12,375,000 in funds, with a 65 percent coming from the federal government’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the rest from the project’s non-federal sponsor, the Chicago Park District (CPD). Project 120, a non-profit organization seeking to fund a $10 million visitor’s center to the park, will be contributing $700,000 to CPD’s share.
The USACE’s restoration has been divided into four areas of priority, beginning on its north end, including the East and West lagoons, followed by the Jackson Park Harbor, golf course and the peninsula La Rabida Children’s Hospital sits on.
Veraldi said the restoration project is likely to have at least one subcontractor, and that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would likely perform the planned poisoning and removal of fish from the Jackson Park lagoon.
The USACE project was advertised to contractors as costing between 5- and 10-million dollars. Several companies attended a pre-bid meeting in September, according to Veraldi, but only two companies submitted a bid for the project: AES and Pizzo and Associates. After reviewing their qualifications, he said, USACE picked the company with the lowest bid.
The Jackson Park restoration will involve grading, demolition and invasive species removal in its first year, followed by a focus on planting in the last four years, Veraldi said. He said he doesn’t yet know when work will begin, although he expects it will be in late winter and hopes all tree and fish removal will be done by February.
“If they get out there in late fall that’d be a miracle,” Veraldi said.
Media reports have picked out the fish elimination in the lagoons in the project a main activity of interest. A natural poison that decays within a few days and only affects gill-breathers will be used. This will be applied after the migratory birds including herons have left. this is said by experts t be the most efficient way to prepare restoration of the lagoons bottom and water including prevention of erosion into them. Fishing will certainly be slight in the lagoons until the new species have been established.
Winter 2013-14 saw severe fish kill in the lagoons, as is common in hard-freeze winters, so only 1 or two species were left, species that prevented a goo water and plant community for a lively aquatic community. SEE THE ARMY COPR'S FAQS SHEET ON THE MATTER, BELOW or click and go to http://www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac/Jackson_Park_Lagoon_Restoration_FAQs.pdf
ARMY CORPS RETURNED WITH UPDATEDPLAN TO JPAC AUGUST 11 (and stakeholder meetings also)
JPAC LETTER OF ENDORSEMENT AUG. 2014
CONTRACT FOR RFP WAS REVISED/ENHANCED AND APPROVED BY CPD BOARD AUGUST 13, 2014
Certain media reports have picked out the fish elimination in the lagoons in the project as if this were the main activity. Only some of the fish species will be killed, using a poison that decays within a few days. This will be applied after the migratory birds including herons have left. Also, while fishing might be slight in the lagoons it will not be impossible or forbidden for "one year." Watch for further detail.
Winter 2013-14 saw severe fish kill in the lagoons, as is common in hard-freeze winters, requiring frequent restocking.
The May 7 2014 meeting on the USACE Fish and Ecosystem Restoration Project saw excellent presentation and lots of questions. The conversation continued Monday May 12, and there were various more stakeholder meetings before and after approvals and entry into the design phase for work (set to start early fall or else well into winter 2014 to avoid bird migratory season).
The FORMAL FEASIBILITY STUDY: http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorksProjects/JacksonPark.aspx. See there where to submit comments (now formally closed), or to email@example.com, Peter Bullock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 231 S. LaSalle St. 1500, Chicago, IL 60604. PARTS OF THE PLAN WERE ALTERED BEFORE THE CONTRACT FOR RFP ISSUANCE WAS APPROVED BY THE CPD BOARD AUGUST 13.
THE MAP AND EXPLANATION THAT IS ON THE FENCES in pdf.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE OFFICIAL SITE FOR ALL UPDATES- expected to include the FAQs mentioned below:
(TO SEE THE RFP (the specifications themselves are about 400 pages so browse before downloading)- https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=41dabbb26915dbe0c120734ed7eadb1c&tab=core&_cview=1.) To August 11 update.
FAQs on the Lagoons and fish treatment (also in ACE page with live ref. links).
(http://www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac/Jackson_Park_Lagoon_Restoration_FAQs.pdf). This may be put up by ACE in the official website (above) and we hope to put it up in http://www.jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org.
The project is for habitat restoration and improvements in limited sectors of the park: (Note, this plan was introduced to JPAC as a possible project in May 2013, with a charette in June, vetted at a stakeholders meeting (including naturalist groups) at Friends of the Parks November 18, 2013. At suggestion there, a leading Olmsted landscape and botanist expert was sought (Project 120 paying that cost). As a result, the project is being overseen by Patricia O'Donnell principal of of Heritage Landscapes (highly recommended by experts out of 2 choices). O'Donnell's guide is the 1895 Olmsted & Sons template. As a result of review by O'Donnell and Park District historic and naturalist experts, the project has nearly been finalized and follows and restores the Olmsted template (plan). Meanwhile, USACE determined from feasibility study that a project should be done and planning and contract with CPD put under negotiation (ACE /Fish and Wildlife Service to fund about 2/3 and local partner CPD one third (a large portion of that was raised privately by Project 120 led by Robert Karr.
Please see below the detailed report of USACE and CPD presentations on the project at JPAC meetings May and June 2013. The latter included a well-attended public charette on dos and don'ts. At the conclusion of the May 2013 presentation, Jackson Park Advisory Council gave approval in principle to proceed with planning.
The Feasibility Study that followed was a survey and comparison review of benefits, effects, costs of doing a project or not doing one and particular subprojects-- in effect an environmental impact study as well as cost-benefit analysis, and whether there is a project fit for the Army Corps (and its local partner, Chicago Park District). ACE concluded 4 of 5 possible bundling's or increments are worth doing, and set up a public comment period.
At the end of that it concluded to proceed to contract with CPD to put out RFP--The intergovernmental agreement to be made and approved by CPD board and RFP put and a contract bid and let out by September 30, 2014. ACE would pay about $10 M. Chicago Park District would pay c35% of the cost. By the time of CPD approval, additional money was found to do the whole possible project (5 out of 5) and some acreage was traded in and out of the project and Project 120 found funding of $700,000 to match $700,000 in CPD bonds and another $500,000 in private funds were found toward the CPD share of $1,900,o00 with the whole project costing $8.1 M. The project will be in operation about 5 years, during which Ms. O'Donnell will make at least three on site visits for evaluations and recommendations. The project will be one under the general contractor and the Corps; the CPD supervisor was said to be Lauren Umek.
There are 5 aspects to the project (see in the reports on May and June 2013 presentations by ACE and CPD to Jackson Park Advisory Council.) Work would (at that point) be done in 155 of the park's 543 acres--that may have changed, mainly in and on the edges of the lagoons and parts of Wooded Island esp. sw, in edge-parts of the golf course, and along certain overgrown roads and paths, such as Marquette. Restoration of native fish and of fishing, as a part of the Great Lakes is a major component--Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the bucket much of the money comes from, so the lagoons will have a separator preventing the game fish stocked in the Columbia Basin (when grown) from getting into the lagoons-- there the monoculture present fish would be killed, the bottom and water quality restored, and native fish stocked.
THE PROJECT WAS OPENED FOR A 30 DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD WHICH ENDED MAY 12, 2014. A public meeting (recommenced but not required) was set up and held at the end of the period. before the deadline.
Contacts for information or comment were (and still should be): Peter Bullock (USACE) at 312 846-5587 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by US Mail to Peter Bullock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 231 S. LaSalle St., suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60604.
Spokesperson and botanist is Frank Veraldi of ACE.
There is an article in the April 23 2014 Hyde Park Herald by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
(http://hpherald.com/2014/04/23/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-seeks-input-on-proposed-jackson-park-restoration/).caveat: Despite the captioned picture of the Japanese Garden, the latter is OFF LIMITS to the project as is anything related to the Lake Michigan shoreline (the shoreline is in a separate bucket, not going anywhere at present), sports fields, and the former Nike base that largely coincides with the Bobolink Meadow and the Golf Driving Range. There is reference in the article to the (extremely worrisome) Asian Carp: there is no known presence of Asian Carp in Jackson Park or the Great Lakes as of this writing. There are invasive fish species including other species of carp in the Jackson Park system, along with annually-planted game fish.
Olmsted v. natural/native. Although Mr. Karr of Project 120 is quoted on aspects of the plan, especially the importance of maintaining the Olmsted character of the park as well as habitat restoration consistent with it, and that his concerns were alleviated, this is not his or Project 120's project (and there is a demarcation at the path in back of the Music Court lagoon shore). Project is paying for the Olmsted expert, Ms. O'Donnell overseeing the project and raising a substantial part of the park district local share. The article does a good job of distinguishing the limits that the Olmsted template place on restoring even parts of Jackson Park to their fully native /original (however that's defined) habitat. Besides Ms. O'Donnell, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency was required to review the plan and passed on it. [Gary Ossewaarde]
Chronology, reports and plan evolution.
(Small meetings were held with the Park District and Army Corps looking towards a community meeting. This round would be repeated throughout the period leading to CPD board approval.)
From minutes of the May 13, 2013 JPAC meeting:
Presentation: Mitchell Murdock of Chicago Park District Natural Resources, Julia Bachrach of CPD planning/history, and a representative of the US Army Corps of Engineering presented and sought input on the early stages of planning of historic, landscape, and sound ecological and habitat planning and restoration improvements in the park, designated Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER). The CPD and ACE have partially-overlapping but somewhat different mandates, and they are evaluating, with public input, whether there will be a partnered set of projects for the park that could cost up to $10 million. (Note any Lakeshore work is excluded as that is controlled by a separate federally-designated ongoing program for the entire lakeshore.) Principles were set forth, with the park district stressing the historic integrity of the park including Olmsted's vision of vistas, elegant but concealed design, stress on relaxation and enjoyment of the sublime and beautiful—the genius of the place, subordination of details to the whole, avoidance of mere novelty, grouping of plants including an abundant understory and layering, tempered by good habitat in the appropriate/ designated parts of the park. Noted was that Olmsted’s park designs were quite open. The Army Corp stresses ecology including sound lagoon management and habitat. The review of the history and changes in the park over the decades and the distinct types of habitat and landscape in the park was especially helpful. The Olmsted Center has expressed an interest in providing technical advice.
The next opportunity for public input will be at the next meeting, including a mapping exercise and discussion of specific areas or vistas people would like to see restored or enhanced. This will still be ahead of the start of official feasibility and project-discovery exploration. Ongoing public input is promised early and during the entire development and implementation of the project, should one be approved.
Dwight Powell moved, 2nd Esther Schechter and approved for the Park District and Army Corps to continue exploration and planning toward a Section 506 project.
From minutes of the June 10 2013 JPAC meeting:
Park improvement potential planning/project. Mitchell Murdock, Park District Natural Areas Manager, and Julia Bachrach, Park District Planner and historian gave an update and sought more input on a potential Park District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project under Federal designation 506. It is still in exploration as to whether there is a project (a federal interest or FID); work would not begin for 3-5 years. Any work includes 5 years of warranty/maintenance. The parties want to ensure public input from the onset about the park and particularly any restorations or enhancements to habitat (the ACE interest) and or landscape and historic views and features. If the project lacks public support, it would disappear, and no ACE funding would mean no project by the Park District. Large areas of the park are under consideration, but anything recreational, institutional, or along the lakeshore is excluded. The parties are concerned that any other projects such as cherry tree plantings mesh with this and be park-suitable. They are especially interested in where shrubbery could be expanded or replaced, the presence and health of particular kinds of habitat where called for, and with the lagoons, including maybe recreating islands that used to be there. Presenters will meet next with fishers.
Attendees gave insights and concerns on particular places and changes that might be sound or avoided. They gathered around and wrote ideas on a large map-- noting sections of the park they thought degraded or unattended, or that they especially liked and wanted to make sure are preserved. Examples:
-Improve landscaping and maintenance between the outer and inner harbors north of Marquette Drive;
-Improve along Marquette Drive Coast Guard to Cornell drives and north on Cornell (excepting the already kept up Growing Power garden)- including fixing or providing trails/walks and plant more trees;
-Between Cornell Dive and the West Lagoon—have more shrubbery etc. to reduce noise and roadway/city views; improve vistas and habitat without creating unwanted hiding places;
-Improve around the north bridge to Wooded Island (some were leery of too much work here);
-Be careful about large areas of monocultures especially of ornamental trees;
-Maybe create a few small openings to the Island lagoon edge to create optimal vista points (some opposed this-said people have vistas at the Japanese Garden);
-Ensure any reconstructed islands in the lagoon can be sustained and provide optimal habitat for frogs, turtles and other amphibians and that netting for plant establishment not damage birds; ditto lagoon shore plantings;
-Consider the needs of birds and other wildlife and lean towards more vegetation rather than less.
HYDE PARK HERALD ARTICLES ON THE ARMY CORPS PROJECT AND TALK BY OLMSTED EXPERT PATRICIA O'DONNELL
Army Corps eyes Jackson Park. April 23, 2014. by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
The U.S. Army Cops of Engineers (USACE) has released a feasibility study for a 30-day public review for proposed restorations of Jackson Park.
The study is the culmination of discussions between the USACE and the Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC), Chicago Park District and Project 120, a non-profit developing plans for $10 million music pavilion in ht park. It review the benefits, effects and costs of restoring the park's native fish, plants and bird habitats.
USACE's report examines five ways of restoring 155 acres of the 543-acre park--as well as the result of taking no action-- and recommends the most cost-effective option. If approved, 35 percent of the funds would come from the Chicago Park District and the rest from the federal government's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
"If there's any significant agency or public comments that we have to change the plan, we would go ahead and incorporate those into the document," said Frank Veraldi, ecosystem planner for the USACE Chicago District. Neither the USACE nor the Chicago Park District is required to hold a public meeting, but the Army Corps has recommended it, said Veraldi.
Although the USACE has analyzed the cost of various plans, the feasibility study contains no dollar amount for restoring the park.
"They're always blacked out at this point because we don't want to provide contractors who are going to bid on the contract any advantage yet," Veraldi said. He said in January that USACE's planned restoration is eligible for up to $10 million in federal funding if it's approved by this September.
JPAC met with the USACE and Chicago Park District to discuss its vision for the park's restoration twice, said council president Louise McCurry.
The restoration would benefit the area in several ways, according to McCurry, including exposing city children to a native habitat and restoring its original fish population. First introduced to the U.S. in the 1970s, Asian carp are an invasive present in the park's lagoon [sic, there are not Asian carp in the lagoon, but other carp that degrade the habitat and fish population; McCurry says she did not say "Asian" carp].
"Non-native species take over an area and destroy it," McCurry said. "Non-native species just grow very quickly and die and disappear and don't help the ecology at all." Bringing back native fish, she added "wil make it a great recreational area for those fishing clubs that are still there."
Although the USACE's restoration focuses on replacing invasive species with native ones, it also took into account architect Frederick Law Olmsted's original plans for the park first developed in the late 19th century.
A full fledged restoration of the park to its natural habitat would be impossible without compromising Olmsted's plans because they included non-native plants, Veraldi said. But USACE's plans have been guided in part by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Project 120 hire Patricia O'Donnell, a Vermont-based architect who has helped to preserve several Olmsted parks.
"Our concerns have been alleviated because of the integration of the Olmsted expert into the process," Project 120 President Bob Karr said.
Karr said he was originally concerned about the restoration's impact on what he calls the park's "Olmsted character." Previous alterations to the park's original designs include a Cold War-era NIK anti-aircraft missile site.
"If we didn't do it this way, and we approached it solely from a natural habitat restoration process, we could potentially lose the Olmsted character in the park," Karr said.
[gives the project USACE site and contact.]
Army Corps presents plans. May 14, 2014. By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
Key details about the cost and funding of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) planned restoration of Jackson Park were shared in a public meeting last week.
Community members met with representatives for the USACE and Chicago Park District (CPD) last Tuesday to hear about and discuss their five-year, federally-funded 155-acre introduction of native species and plants. USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi gave an overview of the Corps' feasibility study and proposed restoration. The plan is anticipated for approval by the USACE's Great Lakes and Ohio River Division later this month.
Sixty-five percent of the restoration is being funded by the federal government's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The rest of the funds wil be provided by the project's non-federal sponsor, the CPD. The will come from several sources, according to district Project Manager Michael Lange including Project 120, a privately-funded non-profit seeking to install a $10 million performance pavilion and visitors' center behind the Columbia Basin.
Part of it will be privately raised through Project 120," Lange said, adding that the other funds will come from the CPD as well as federal credit based on the project area's land value. "Those exact numbers and details are not quite totally certain yet."
"The total project value is estimated anywhere between 5 and 10 million dollars," Lange added.
"Were committed to assisting as necessary to help CPD make the match," Project 120 President Bob Karr said in an interview the next day.
Although Karr did not want to compromise contractor bidding by sharing numbers, he added that Project 120 was in a public-private partnership with CPD and that "we are fundraising to help the park district achieve its goal."
The USACE anticipates the COD will sign a project partnership agreement this July and that a contract for its restoration wil be awarded in September.
Jackson Park Reimagined: Old is new again as expert reapplies Olmsted to Jackson Park
May 21, 2014. By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
Nearly 40 people packed into the Hyde Park Historical Society, 5529 S. Lake Park Ave., last Monday evening for the first neighborhood appearance by a landscape architect who may shape Jackson Park for years to come.
Vermont-based archi tech Patricia O'Donnell was picked earlier this year by privately-funded Project 120 to help restore designer Frederick Olmsted's original influence on the prk--including a music pavilion behind the Columbia Basin--and funding part of a 155-acre restoration of its natural habitats by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"What Bob Karr asked me to do from the beginning is "Think big picture. Don't only restrict yourself to the Corps,'" O'Donnell said.
Although Project 120 President was advertised as the main speaker at Monday's event, Patricia O'Donnell gave the feature presentation, describing her previous work and a vision for parks as a shared, democratic space.
During her career, O'Donnell has completed hundreds of landscape projects. More than 50 have been on spaces designed by Olmsted, such as the U.S. Capitol Grounds.
"One of the things that's really important about a landscape is understanding its character and its spaces, O'Donnell said.
Olmsted's 1895 revised plan for Jackson Park revolves around its fields, lagoons and the lake, according to O'Donnell, but over time, access to these elements have been compromised by facilities, roads and parking lots.
"So if those are the three key elemens of the park, and you're supposed to be able to get to them and you're supposed to be able to see them and experience them from various places, we have a very much diminished quality of place," O'Donnell said. "So what we're looking at is how that can be rebalanced."
O'Donnell also said that there's less tree canopy now at Jackson Park than there once was, and that 3 to 5 percent of the park's total tree count would have to be planted every year to make up for this.
This summer, O'Donnell will provide input on the design of the USACE's restoration by helping to determine its acreage, topography and plantings to maintain Olmsted's influence on the park.
"So the process we're at right now is working together to develop a shared language that integrates the nature side and the Olmsted side," O'Donnell said, adding that whereas the corps emphasizes bird habitats, savannah and meadow she wants to highlight open space, flowers and low-lying plants.
Asked about the role of Project 12's planned pavilion in the park O'Donnell said, "This park today doesn't have any strong destinations," adding that its current draws are the Museum of Science and Industry and sports.
O'Donnell also made the case for several long term, major developments: establishing a conservancy for the park, improving its degraded and truncated pathways and abolishing the golf driving range next to the Bobolink Meadow.
"It may take years. I'm just the person trying to hold it up and say this is the space for everyone, we need to reopen it," O'Donnell said. "That's the core space. Let's not give it over to golf."
Intro announcement from the September 2014 JPAC Newsletter
August 13, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved a contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers for $8.1 million in habitat work in Jackson Park, to be put out for RFP. The majority of this 5-year project is federally funded, the remainder by the Chicago Park District ($700K in bonds, $700K private grant from Project 120 through Robert Karr, $500K other private, and credit value of improved park acreage). The Jackson Park Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Initiative was increased to the full preliminary scope (adding lagoon islands, Outer Harbor work) and otherwise modifying the acreage, after the update given at the Aug. 11 JPAC meeting. The final Solicitation (bid) document will be shared with JPAC. JPAC will work with project partners to ensure full and proper oversight.
US Army Corp of Engineers presentation of updated plans—August 11, 2014 JPAC Meeting.
USACE ecologist and planner Frank Veraldi and Chicago Park District Dept. of Natural Resources ecologist Lauren Umek.
Jackson Park Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Project.
The ACE focus is to restore habitat-- aquatic, pond, edge, sedge meadow, and woodland and the Great Lakes wildlife (including fish) of these habitat types. The Park District focus is Olmsted’s landscape vision and vistas. The areas of the park where work is to be done are arranged in four time phases over five years- 1- (first) in and around the lagoons and Wooded Island, 2- the inner harbor (aka South Lagoon), 3- parts of the golf course, 4- certain Outer Harbor edges and south edges of the park. The plans, which were still in progress, will have much greater detail and specification than is usual in such projects in order to make sure the grading, plant palette, paths and overlooks are right and true to the mandates for both habitat and this Olmsted park.
At least some of the work will be disruptive—for example, as some of the first work (after fall bird migration), the lagoons will be separated (with a mesh) from the Columbia Basin (where game fish are stocked yearly). Now, runaway species destroy the lagoon bottoms, and plants, and water quality and prevent establishment of fish species that are both native to this Great Lakes habitat and desired by fishers. After fall bird migration, certain fish will be killed quickly and the lagoons cleaned. Fishing success will recover slowly as water quality and bottoms are improved, spawning holes and structures are installed, the lagoons stocked in stages with a diversity of native fish and the latter mature and adjust. Edges will be re-graded and planted. About 12 viewing/fishing outlooks over the lagoons will be made at historic or strategic spots, with chipped wood side paths or bow-outs to reach them. The fishing pier at 63rd and Cornell will be remade (Fishing and birding groups have been consulted.)
Work will be staged to avoid interfering with migratory bird arrivals and seasons, and as much as possible of the heavy work will be done in winter to avoid soil compaction. Where possible, grading will include berms to reduce the noise to the lagoons that can disturb birds. But in some places where that has been called desirable such as along Cornell Drive there is little room. Trees and shrubs will be used to have a calming effect.
Work in other sectors will also introduce new plant communities and wildlife—marsh including reeds along, for example some of the inner harbor shores, a rough-grass hummock in the golf course turned into a sedge meadow, ponds that mudpuppies (salamander-like) will use, and some grass turf replanted to sedges that foster wildlife.
Wooded areas will be re-balanced so there can be plants of varied heights and both sun-loving and shade-tolerant low and ground plants. Some areas are overgrown and need a fair amount of removal and replanting. Parts of Wooded Island will have about 25% changeover, including removal of trees trying to grow under oaks and so won’t live long. Much of the new material will be shrubs and ground plants designed and staged so birds will have more forage, shelter. Trees will take time to grow. Attention is given to mixing and balancing the plants— botany that fits while respecting Olmsted’s look, but not over-dense, and making sure each season has interesting things to see. Questions were asked and answered; conversation and refinement will continue.
Highlights of the project
What/ where: Pond habitat including the east and west lagoons- re-grade and replant much of the edges for wetland and emergent plant and aquatic plant and animal habitat and islands (7 new) for heron habitat, renew bottom and islands and replace invasive fish population with native, separated from Columbia Basin, clean and restore habitat of edge of the South Lagoon (Inner Harbor) and parts of the Outer Harbor. Restore woodlands in and around Wooded Island. Create at various places including in and around the golf course 12 new sedge meadows and ponds to include reeds and others marsh plants for amphibians and dragonflies and 2 for mudpuppies. Clear c.300 dead or dying ash trees. Work on Wooded Island may include up to 25% replacement in places, esp. SW, and heavy along the west edge of the west lagoon to Cornell Drive (with a new path, fishing pier). 1 million wildflowers/native plants, 300,000 shrubs, 1,300 trees. Excluded: most of the north and west-edge, missile-base areas (Bobolink and golf driving range), most east lawns, golf & rec’l, lake shore.
Funds: Total $8.1M. c. 65% federal. Park District total $1.9M in money-- $700,000 in bond revenues, $700,000 from Project 120 (which also is paying for Olmsted oversight and landscaping planning by Heritage Landscapes and 3 continuing inspections), $500,000 more in private. Value of acreage is also counted.
JACKSON PARK LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR THE (REVISED) ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION PROJECT FOLLOWING THE AUGUST 11 2014 PRESENTATION
Letter of Support s/ Louise McCurry Aug. 11, 2014. (Per req. Michael Lange, CPD Project Manager. Revised project was presented Aug. 11, 2014. Standing JPAC resolution approved the project early in the summer and in principal the previous summer. Questions were asked August 11 and after but the proceeding with the project was not challenged. The CPD board placed the contract/Agreement for RFP between CPD and USACE on its Aug. 13 agenda and approved.)
"To: the Board of the Chicago Park District,
From: the Jackson Park Advisory Council,
The Jackson Park Advisory Council, the first Chicago park advisory council founded in 1983, who has advocated for environmental stewardship in Jackson Park is writing in support of the Olmsted Natural Area Plantings as part of the Chicago Park District and US Army Corps of Engineers project. We have hosted and attended multiple public meetings on the project and have been involved in the development process.
The project will create biologically diverse habitats in the park while respecting the Olmsted firm design intent. The Jackson Park Advisory Council believes that the restoration project is an important ecological investment for Jackson Park. We are grateful to the Chicago Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers for their transparency and support of community involvement in this important project.
Thank You for all that you are doing for our parks,
Jackson Park Advisory Council President"
Louise McCurry's "thank you" to all involved. August 14, 2014
Dear Jackson Park Team Members,
Remember 4 years ago when we started removing the shopping carts, bowie knives, hundreds of condoms, bullets, syringes, old refrigerators, boat engines, and years of garbage bags, dead trees and bushes, from the banks of the lagoons, Bobolink, LaRabida, the Wooded Island, and the 67th street beach. Remember our first walk throughs with Adam Schwerner and various park and birder officials. Remember when we had our first community tour and our tourees said they never knew that Jackson Park was such an amazing place. Remember answering countless questions from naysayers, responding to hundreds of negative and positive emails, blog posts, list serves, and being THERE whenever a positive crowd for an event was needed.
Well after hundreds of meetings, tours, letters, phone calls, community events, and just generally being that squeaking wheel ........we did it..!
Special Thank you, to Adam Schwerner and Michael Kelly, who listened to us 4 years ago, who walked with us, whose genius saw the possibilities and brought people together who could make it happen.
A very Special Thank You to Robert Karr, who made it all possible by raising the money, and conducted the negotiations with the ACE and the Park District, hired the foremost Olmsted Architect Patricia O'Donnell, in the country to make an Olmsted park design, and who answered countless questions from community members.
WE DID IT!!!!.....
We are getting $8.1M of improvements in historic and ecologically important Jackson Park.
Children and their families visiting the park ,in the future, thank you!
THANK YOU ALL!
You Are My Heroes!
Louise McCurry, JPAC President
JPAC letters on the ACE Project particularly as it applies to the lagoons and fish as sent to and published in the Hyde Park Herald August 27, 2014
As to the Hyde Park Herald. By Louise McCurry, President and Jackson Park Advisory Council. August 21, 2014
Thank You Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul for writing this week's article about the restoration plan for Jackson Park, utilizing the original Olmsted Plan to create a beautiful, "democratic" park for all to enjoy. Thank you to everyone on the Hyde Park Herald Staff for the coverage over the last four years. JPAC and the Chicago Park District has put in thousands of volunteer hours partnering with the Chicago Park District to plant thousands of trees, plants, and create natural habitats in the nature preserves, build playgrounds, repair and build new recreational areas, repair the fieldhouse for community meetings, remove the years of trash and invasive species accumulations, and open up the rich and important history of Jackson Park to the community through free tours, historical feature naming, lectures, and community forums-- and the Herald covered them. We believe that every Hyde Parker and every Chicagoan should come to Jackson Park and relax in its peaceful surroundings, play in safe sports and recreation areas, and playgrounds, swim on its beautiful and safe beaches, and fish in its safe lagoons and harbors.
So it is particularly painful for JPAC members to see the community wide damage done with the inaccurate headlines that the Herald chose for the restoration plan article this week. We applaud the Park District and the Army Corp of Engineers for being completely transparent through hours of multiple open community meetings, answering every question; including the community in every step of the planning process, and incorporating the community suggestions into the plan. The Herald headlines of all species in the Jackson Park Lagoon to be exterminated with poison is inaccurate followed by the statement of "Say goodbye to the fish in the Jackson Park Lagoon" is sensational and inaccurate. It will sell newspapers, and we support the Herald for its important historic role in making Hyde Park an informed and involved community. But is just wrong! Removing unhealthy, damaging and invasive species from the waterways to protect native fish habitats is an important ecological fish management practice to maintain those habitats. It produces an abundant fish population which fishermen, women, and children can catch, use to feed their families, or simply to catch and release as practiced by many fisherman. The restoration plan is about producing more safe areas for fishing, walking, biking, and recreating, more natural areas where birds and wildlife can live successfully, more areas where teachers and school children can visit to learn about plants, animals birds, and fish here in Jackson Park.
So we really hope that this was an error that the Herald staff chose these headlines to characterize this wonderful ecological plan to restore the park utilizing the original Frederick Law Olmsted plan to restore our beautiful Jackson Park. It is a plan which is too big to cover in a couple of newspaper paragraphs. We invite anyone who would like to learn more or ask questions, to attend our JPAC educational meetings the second Monday of each month.
Louise McCurry, President
JPAC: Jackson Park Advisory Council
The following was submitted by Jerry Levy to HP Herald for issue of Aug. 27 2014
I am the Chicago Park District volunteer steward for Wooded Island and am a member of the Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC). Wearing these two hats, I often weigh proposals of the Park District on a scale to balance the interests of the Park District with those of the residents around Jackson Park. Often, I then try to present, sometimes with little success, my opinions.
I have attended several meetings and met with people involved in the proposal for the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Project 506, relating to the project in Jackson Park that includes Wooded Island and its lagoons. I attended the meeting of JPAC last Monday. I came away with a very different view of the project from that left by the Herald’s article.
The essence of the treatment of the lagoons isn’t a “fishkill,” but a program to enhance the aesthetics and quality of the water of the lagoons. While it is doubtful that the water, which now frequently looks like chocolate pudding, can be changed to look like the pristine water of Lake Michigan, what ACE plans on doing will certainly improve its appearance. As presented, the ACE is going to spend a large amount of money to improve the appearance of the water, while at the same time upgrading its quality for fish and other aquatic life. They hope to accomplish this by two separate processes.
The first and most extensive is to regrade a significant portion of the shoreline around the edge of the lagoons. This would eliminate the drop-offs and bring the shore down to the water’s edge. The result is known as a “swamp fringe.” When the shore is regraded to the level of the water, it is then planted with herbaceous native plants, sedges, and grasses. The effect would be two-fold: it would deter runoff of rainwater carrying dirt and mud into the lagoons while simultaneously limiting erosion, all of which would help clear the water. As an added benefit, it would allow fishermen and visitors access to the water’s edge.
The other process for treating the quality and aesthetics of the lagoon water is to change the fish species from bottom-diggers that churn the mud to a higher species quality that would improve the water and the attraction of fishing in the lagoons. The elimination of the existing fish would be followed by stocking the lagoons with increasing sizes of native fish, including game fish.
The “fishkill” focus of the Herald article may have been eyecatching, but, unfortunately, it put a negative spin on a program that will have a significant beneficial impact on a treasure of our community.
120. JPAC information about
TO ITS OWN PAGE has new information added July 30 2016
Links to Project 12o website and other sources. To Japanese Garden/Garden of the Phoenix page.
May 31 2016, Tuesday, 6-8 pm. Ald. Hairston held a community meeting at La Rabida Hospital to continue discussion and public input on projects proposed for Jackson Park. Robert Karr from Project 120 and Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelly and lead staff answered extensive questions from the crowd of about 170. Although conditions were less than ideal, the tone was sometimes testy, and some felt that the demographics and viewpoints were not as representative as they could be and and that some said later they felt bullied, several scenarios were put to rest and it was confirmed things are far from being decided or settled, whether all believed it or not, and a foundation was proposed to both take a serious look and gather more public input. And it's a part of the forever ongoing question of "whose park?" GMO
In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced June 28 that she will convene a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.
Work began the week of August 8 2016 on installation of Yoko Ono's Sky Landing just west of the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island. Via fencing, the new sculpture of a lotus flower representing peace will be incorporated into the Garden and there will be path reconfiguration. Many details remain to be furnished.
Two summaries from members of Jackson Park Watch
June 15 Hyde Park Herald Re May 31 meeting. By Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid, coordinators
Dear Alderman Hairston:
Jackson Park Watch wants to thank you for convening and leading the May 31 community meeting on the future of Jackson Park. The fact that over 170 residents from communities surrounding the park came out on a very wet and stormy night to listen to and question Park District CEO Michael Kelly and others indicates the breadth and depth of interest in and concerns about the proposals for the future of our park that have been promoted by Project 120. [followed by recitation of the many topics and concerns addressed.]
... We are particularly pleased that the meeting provided the community with clarifications on some key concerns:
- Contrary to Project 120's recent presentations, traffic over the restored Darrow Bridge will be limited to pedestrians, bicycles, and emergency vehicles only. There will not be a road for regular automobile traffic leading over the bridge with parking along both sides.
- The pavilion proposal is a concept, not a done deal. Because the idea of a road across the Bridge is off the table, there is a great opportunity to revisit not only the proposed location of this pavilion (on the current parking lot), but also its size and scope. A relocated, down-sized, simplified pavilion could far better align with community views.
We are grateful that you are committed to working with Mr. Kelly to develop a procedure and process for community input that wil fully represent the Jackson Park community in all its diversity. The May 31 meeting was a great step toward that goal , and once again, we thank you.
Thoughts of Jane Masterson, as in Good Neighbors blog
...I think a variety of different things were said. Here is what I chose to remember. Looking forward to hear what the rest of you remembered.
I thought Michael Kelly (CEO CPD) said nothing would be done that the community didn't want and that if the community pushed back there wouldn't be an pavilion/amplified music venue instead of the parking lot behind the Museum of Science and Industry. However, I don't think he added what we would have to do to convince him that the community doesn't want this structure in our park. I think the concert goers would sit on the grass.
Leslie Hairston said that a meeting just as big as the May 31 meeting had approved the pavilion plan in November 2013 at International House. I am attaching an article in the Herald that mentions that Leslie Hairston called a public meeting on Monday, November 25, 2013 (Thanksgiving was that Thursday). The Herald article reporting about the meeting doesn't mention if the meeting was at International House.
Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly said the basketball courts at 63rd and Hayes would not be relocated to the very corner of LSD and Hayes. It was unclear whether the parking lot on Hayes just west of LSD would still be removed and be replaced by part of project 120's great lawn proposal if the basketball courts stay where they are.
Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly briefly mentioned that the parking behind the Museum of Science and Industry would not be removed if the community didn't want it to be removed, but this is just where the Pavilion/Amplified Music Venue is supposed to be.
Darrow Bridge remake plans include only bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles NOT a road connecting LSD and Cornell.
Tennis courts and Dog Park and Golf Driving Range will probably be removed. Tennis players will be directed to tennis courts at 63rd and Cornell or near the Jackson Park Field House. Golf driving range may be relocated so it is parallel to the 1st hole on the golf course. I asked if bark park would be relocated to the tennis courts without nets at 63rd and Cornell and Louise McCurry said no, that the bark park would stay where it was for a while.
I am also attaching project 120's plans (from November 2015 meeting) that show where they originally planned to move the basketball courts (not happening now) and where they originally planned to move the golf driving range (not sure if where the map shows is parallel to first hole) It also shows a new small parking lot they were planning to build next to the relocated basketball courts (basketball courts will not be moved).
...[in Project 120 renderings[ there is a photo of a violinist, 2 acoustic guitars, drums, and electric guitar and a trumpet? Probably meant to show the stage could be used for a variety of different acts. The stage does have two big screens, lights and big speakers. Some of the members of the "band" seem to have brought their own amplifiers.
Frances Vandervoort, part of Hyde Park Herald letter of June 15 2016 related to the May 31 meeting.
...Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.
Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace. ...
Louise McCurry, as to Hyde Park Herald early June 2016
The Tuesday afternoon Jackson Park Projects meeting hosted by Alderman Hairston at LaRabida was attended by an audience composed of 90% white participants, over the age of 65 years, and residents Hyde Park. That audience did not reflect the thousands of people ,that I see daily in Jackson Park ,from South Shore, Woodlawn, Jackson Park Highlands , and the south lakefront, who play or coach baseball, soccer, football, basketball, are bikers, runners, park volunteers, gardeners, kayakers, sailors, drummers and musicians. The rude denigrating comments from some members of the organized crowd to the Park officials, the Alderman, and to opposing speakers was embarrassing and kept community members who came prepared to speak in favor of the project quiet to avoid the same rude treatment. The final speaker, a young community business woman, summarized the voices of many in attendance who welcomed the Project as one which will bring more young adults and young families into the park. She explained that the park is for everyone of all ages, and ethnicity, and musical tastes and she was looking forward to having programs in the park which young adults and young families would enjoy and would bring more young families into Jackson Park. A great diverse community needs a park with diverse activities . There will always be…bullies among us who name call, denigrate others, threaten, and declare there is only ONE right answer- "theirs". Could it be that before we make decisions about our young families and children's future park amenities that we should ask those current park drummers, musicians, baseball, football, basketball , soccer players, swimmers, croquet players, tennis players, park gardeners, park volunteers, bike riders, runners and moms pushing baby strollers what they would like to see in their park? Should not the thousands of people who are actually the majority of participants in park activities have a vote in deciding park programs and amenities?
To perspective articles April 26, June 15 and June 29
Project 120 input
process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and
March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.
Modification of position (correction to wording of January minutes) at the March 2016 JPAC meeting:
Minutes of the January 11 meeting. Margaret Schmid moved that the resolution regarding Project 120 be corrected to the originally introduced text,
“Moved that JPAC should reconsider its vote in support of the Project 120 concept of a pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge and should provide a forum for more open discussion and community input on the pavilion concept and other aspects of Project 120 proposals.” Upon an objection, vote was taken. Vote in favor of the correction was 8 to 3 with 1 abstention. The minutes were accepted as corrected.
We understand from Bob Karr that the installation and dedication of Yoko Ono's artwork at the site of the Phoenix Pavilion on Wooded Island has been pushed back to installation late summer, dedication fall 2016. (more about)
120 website (Project120chicago.org).
See also facebook.com/project120chicago
jacksonparkwatch.org, email@example.com -- A watch group of neighbors seeking expanded public input including opponents to at least parts of possible plans. see also gardenofthephoenix.org.
group called Jackson Park Watch has its own takes on these matters and happenings-
Memorandum of Understanding of June 10 2014 between CPD and Project 120. The governing document of this process, along with the agreement between the Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers 2014. The MOU document includes the Revised Framework Plan (AS INVISIONED JUNE 2014) and Projects as of the same date. The Park District has regularly consulted with and given proceeding direction to Project 120 but has not yet signed on to the evolving Revised Framework Plan or Projects (except the GLFER and Yoko Ono's Sky Landing).
1999 Framework Plan- also in Park District website, http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/assets/1/7/Jackson_South_Shore.pdf.
of and thinking behind the Project 120 Phoenix Pavilion at historic lakefront
access point of the park, the Music Court, part of a larger area defined as
south of the Museum onto Wooded Island down through the Japanese Garden and
Sky Landing (where the original Phoenix Pavilion stood and southeast from the
Museum through the Music Court) is in the MOU
(Memorandum of Understanding as of 2014) Exhibits B and 3, starting at page
22. See also Project 120 website.
Project 12o team to develop the Revised Framework Plan and Projects were (as of June 2014):
wHY | Kulapat Yantrasast
Heritage Landscapes | Patricia O’Donnell
Studio One | Yoko Ono
Project Management Advisors, Inc.
Pre-Construction General Contractor
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.
Accounting and Tax
Mueller Financial Services, Inc.
Envisionit Media LLC
Recent information (late 2015-early 2016) (This report is largely in order of newer to older.) Gary M. Ossewaarde
30, 2016 under the auspices of Project 120, noted Japanese Garden expert Kendall
Brown gave the history, and astonishing variety of interests and motives of
installers of Japanese Gardens (individuals, institutions to fairs and governments)
in the U.S. Many have come to have little to do with the purposes or culture
in Japan. He pointed out that the gardens need to have support and funding to
be sustainable, and suggested, as put forth by the Association of Planners of
Japanese Gardens in America, that wellness and healing walks and programs would
be one way, compatible with the role of gardens in Japan.
May 1, Bob Karr of Project 120 delivered a program at Museum of Science and Industry (including videos) on the history of Japan-America and Japan Chicago relations, the Japanese facilities, structures and gardens on Wooded Island all the way through Project 120 contemporary visions including for the whole South Parks, and the story of the Osato family that, inter alia managed the Wooded Island facilities 1935-41. Karr announced that an interactive, encyclopedic historic website on the South Parks will we open in late May 2016 and interactive tours o the Garden and the extended areas north of Wooded Iland will be coming later this year. The program was followed by a chance to stroll through the grounds south of the Museum, Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden.
In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced that she will convene development of a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.
Project 120 input process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.
9 2015 and February 8 2016 two public input workshops on the three South Parks
was held by Project 120 and the Chicago Park District focusing a "version
1" re-do with public input of the framework plans of c. 2000 for each of
the plans. There was extensive background given extensive concept drawings,
and introduction of options and changes in response to input. Planners zeroed
in on the need for ecology and replanting of lost trees, deteriorated and out
of date park circulation, and revitalization of both Olmsted's concept of the
park and usability for recreation and re-creation.
The purpose of the meetings and surveys was to ascertain those things that the public agrees upon and might be quicker and less expensive to do, in context of a holistic look -- the thought being that more would gradually fall into place as the parks "get better" There were substantial disagreements on park components (what various user groups need in specific areas) and on some concepts especially from Project 120 regarding areas south of the Museum of Science and Industry and for circulation including Cornell Drive. (The concepts south of the Museum and Music Court were especially contentious at a JPAC MEETING JANUARY 11 2017, along with ire at JPAC having passed an approving resolution regarding a visitors pavilion/center and desire of an opposing group (now Jackson Park Watch) to revamp the public input process (According to the MOU CPD and Project 120 are committed to a vigorous community process and to not include facilities the community does not want, a commitment confirmed with both parties in early 2016.) JPAC wil discuss these matters at it March 14, 2016 regular meeting (7 pm at the fieldhouse). These Meetings, including for specific areas/concepts will continue as well as more robust surveys (including online) and clipboard interviews with users on the ground among other means.
120 started with revitalizing the Japanese Garden, planting cherry trees in
commemoration of Japan's give to Columbian Exposition and the cherry trees in
Washington DC and expanded to ways to re honor the Phoenix Pavilion. Due to
the emergency need to raise local funds to take advantage of ACE funds or ecological
restoration in the park and to hire a Olmsted park expert landscaper, Project
120 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Park District for the
multi-purpose GLFER project. This was extended to general planning for the 3
parks. Meanwhile, Project 120 focused for Jackson Park on 4 project concepts
(GLFER, Yoko Ono's Sky Landing where the Phoenix Pavilion had been, a visitors
center in a reactivated Music Court, and recreating the Great Lawn of Olmsted
where the Golf Driving Range is now (the latter would be moved)-- the last two
are far away. No funds have been raised yet for these. Meanwhile Project 120
is starting to raise funds for smaller projects such as benches and picnic tables
at Washington Park's ball fields and some restorations on the Midway/
Project 120 looks to become a fundraising conservancy for the 3 parks and may be renamed "South Parks Alliance." Most of the funds it has raised are smaller donations. The largest, $1M, is from Kenwood resident Bernie Del Giorno.
TO LINKS TO MORE INFO AND VIDEOS.
The Story is best
told in the project120chicago.org
website and that of Garden
of the Phoenix. Read
the overview sections, then in "News and Information" the abstract
of Ms. O'Donnell's presentation in Russia (including four key footnotes on the
academic foundational principles), then the detail sections and graphics in
"Jackson Park" as deep as you like.
(The USACE 506 Habitat and Fishery Restoration Project. Project 1 section is described and linked above and in our ACE2014 page.)
June 7, 2015 Patricia O'Donnell, FASLA, AICP of Heritage Landscapes presented "Revitalization of Historic Jackson Park: Integrating Heritage and Ecology, Sustainability and Resilience in Chicago" at the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
June 12 2015 Yoko Ono's SKY LANDING had its inaugural celebration and Ground Healing ceremony with Yoko Ono and construction will begin, completion summer 20164. (This report in pdf) Design prospectus for the artwork is expected in November 2015. The two mounds to surround it and "effect" the "landing" of the sky are done- they suggest rotating/mixing motion and resemble the classical Asian symbol for Yang and Yin.
May 24 2016 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.
Press release on Sky Landing by Project 120, June 12, 2016
Sky Landing, by Yoko Ono, First Permanent Public Art Installation in the Americas, Representing a Lifelong Mission for Peace. Coming this Fall to the Garden of the Phoenix, Wooded Island, Jackson Park, Chicago
One year ago today, on June 12, 2015, Noon, Yoko Ono held a Ground Healing Ceremony on the site of SKY LANDING in the Garden of the Phoenix on the Wooded Island on Wooded Island in Jackson Park, Chicago
Set to be open to the public this Fall 2016, SKY LANDING will be Yoko Ono's first permanent public art work in the Americas. It is a marker of her place as an artist of profound international influence and of her lifelong mission for world peace.
SKY LANDING is an ongoing renovation of Jackson Park, including ecological restoration, and a return to how it looked when it looked when it was originally designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
More at project120chicago.org.
In a July 6 2016 letter to the Hyde Park Herald, Francis S. Vandervoort (who is nature trail steward for JPAC in Jackson Park) and Robert W. Karr (Project 120) write in response to critique of celebrities allegedly swooping down to add things to parks:
"In the early 189os, the Japanese government, striving to break free of cultural bonds that had shut if off from te western world for centuries, heard about the great World's Columbian Exposition that was under construction in the burgeoning city of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. Eager to be welcomed by the West, the Japanese offered monetary support for the fair, now called the World's Columbian Exposition, an amount exceeded only by that of the United States.
The Japanese made another offer as well, one that chief of construction Daniel Burnham could not resist. The Japanese wanted to construct a special building, a "Ho-o-den," or Phoenix Pavilion, and gift it to Chicago following the fair to celebrate the city's rapid recovery from the Great Fire of 1871 and be a symbol of peace between the U.S. and Japan.
There was one problem. The Japanese wanted to build the Ho-o-den on Wooded Island, the site that chief landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had specifically designated as a place of respite and quiet reflection, far away from the noise and and hubbub of the rest of the fair. Olmsted believed that such green space was necessary for urban living, and the Wooded Island served this important purpose within the fair's well-planned city environment.
Burnham used his administrative skill to persuade Olmsted to change his mind about the Ho-o-den, which then was built by a cadre of handsomely uniformed Japanese carpenters brought to Chicago specifically for the task of building the Ho-o-den and a nearby Japanese tea house. Following Olmsteds' approval, teh South Park Commissioners then agreed to accept the Ho-o-den on behalf of Chicago, and to maintain it as a permanent place to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.
The Ho-o-den and teahouse were instantly successful. Both structures not only conveyed the spirits of democracy and community so important to Olmsted's way of thinking, they left a lasting impression on visitors. Among them was a young Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed a life-long fascination and relationship with Japan following his encounters with the fair, including ideas that led to his development of the Prairie style best exemplified by nearby Robie House. Although the tea house disintegrated shortly after the fair closed, the Ho-o-den remained an important feature of Jackson Park until destroyed by fire in 1946.
We now have the opportunity to reestablish this site, and recognize it as one of the most important sites reflecting U.S.-Japan relations for over 120 years. Yoko Ono recognized this when she first visited the original site of the Ho-o-den in 2013. For her, this site has a unique and extraordinary past and future as symbol of peace. Not just between the U.S. and Japan, but among all people and all nations. In fact, we can all use more peace, not just internationally, but locally on our streets and our parks. She has given us an opportunity to learn about our past and create the future together. It is our responsibility to use it.
Gary Ossewaarde reports June 12, 2015:
Yoko Ono’s “SKY LANDING” inaugurated June 12 2015 on Wooded Island site of the historic Japanese Phoenix Pavilion from the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park
By Gary M. Ossewaarde
On June 12, 2015 artist Yoko Ono celebrated SKY LANDING, her first permanent installation in the Americas, in a ground-breaking ceremony by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Project 120 Chicago, and Garden of the Phoenix Foundation. The ground has already been prepared with an elegant u-shaped, now turf-covered double mound designed by wHY LLC that will be landscaped. It will be the site, when dedicated in June 2016, a sculpture to be called SKY LANDING, by artist Yoko Ono and a marker—a space for both congregation and contemplation, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. No information was provided about the sculpture except as suggested by the title. The project is being funded with private money under direction of private-public partnership Project 120. The project was given several public and stakeholder vetting's.
The project is sited in Jackson Park, Chicago’s Wooded Island, on the site of the Phoenix Pavilion, a gift from Japan to Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and located next to the later Japanese Garden. SKY LANDING and the Garden together comprise The Garden of the Phoenix.
The ground-breaking event was designated a “Ground Healing,” to establish the site as a bridge between sky and earth. The public ceremony consisted of a stirring drum, music and dance performance led by award-winning Tatsu Aoki and his Miyumi Project featuring the Tsukasa Taiko drummers, an ensemble of three saxophones, flute, and bass, and a traditional Japanese fan dance. Any further ceremony after on the hill was perhaps postponed because of weather, but the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm and warmth. Ono said, “It is almost like Chicago and Japan, that there’s an incredible, intense opening of the heart from the Chicago end, and I didn’t even know that. It’s like, the intensity is almost insane. And I think ‘wow, this is incredible’”. Ono reflected that more Japanese should learn the Chicago-Japan story and give Chicago something back and that SKY LANDING can generate peace.
Context was given by host Robert Karr, and remarks made by Michael Moskow, Vice Chair and Distinguished Fellow, Global Economy of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Chairman of the Japan Society of Chicago; Tushiyuki Iwado, Council General of Japan at Chicago; Hon. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, The University of Chicago; and Yoko Ono. Honored guests included descendants of J. Donnersberger, South Parks Board Commission Chairman 1893.
Outlined was the long and deep relationship between Japan and the United States (first treaty March 31, 1854) and Chicago (first visit by a Japanese mission in 1872 with a gift to the fire-ravaged city). The gift of the Phoenix Pavilion to the Columbian Exposition and as a permanent gift to the City of Chicago was carefully worked out, including with Fair designers Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmsted, then inaugurated--also on a March 31 in 1893 at an elaborate convening of national and Fair officials and notables. The accompanying ceremony of the “landing” of the phoenix on the site helped inspire today’s SKY LANDING. The pavilion was modeled on a 12th century temple, shipped in sections from Japan, and assembled on the Island. The phoenix is associated with “kanji” (rebirth) and the idea that people and all are reborn on their 60th birthday and hence that history moves in cycles of 60 years. The pavilion was a well-used and loved facility in Chicago and by its growing Japanese community for many years. After its destruction by fire, four partially-burned panels were in storage for many years, but are now restored and on view in the Art Institute of Chicago.
SKY LANDING was conceived during an invited visit by Yoko Ono as Project 120 planted over 120 cherry trees as part of an evolving plan to restore and rethink the environs of the Japanese Garden and create ways that would serve as a living history lessons honoring Olmsted, the Columbian Exposition, the relationship with Japan, and the planting in 1913 of the cherry trees in Washington D.C. Cherry blossoms are iconic of spring in Japan and that appealed to Ono, as well as the site as the location at the Phoenix Pavilion, representing the Japan-Chicago relationship and at the center of major axes of both the park and the Columbian Exposition. Ono, releases state, was immediately drawn to and struck by the power of the place “I recall being immediately connected to the powerful site and feeling the tension between the sky and the ground. I wanted the sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.”
2013 marked the passage of two 60-year cycles since 1893 (celebrated with giant banners celebrating “120 Years” at today’s ground breaking.) Speakers noted that while the first cycle post-World’s Fair was marred by an era of disastrous relations between the U.S. and Japan; the second has been marked by deepening alliance and mutual reliance. SKY LANDING marks the start of a third cycle and that is celebrated by SKY LANDING, standing in as a reconstruction of the Phoenix Pavilion. SKY LANDING project’ undertaking today conveniently dovetails with the U.S. Army Corps reconstruction of Wooded Island and the lagoons and a larger framework planning to restore habitat and landscape in accord with Olmsted’s vision, but resilient and sustainable. And Mayor Emanuel also took advantage of the event to announce another aspect of the City’s renewal of its commitment to public art, 50 new pieces of art in each of the 50 wards.
Chicago Park District CEO and General Superintendent Michael Kelly said about SKY LANDING in a release, “The City of Chicago was honored to receive such a gift from Japan at the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Understanding our past and our relationship today as global partners, we are privileged that the site, with the addition of ‘SKY LANDING’ by Yoko Ono, will teach and inspire us and future generations who visit The Garden of the Phoenix.” It’s an expression of the “enduring legacy of Eastern and Western collaboration” and unity the city press release adds. Mayor Emanuel said, “We will be most honored with the only place in the Americas with her artwork, and I want to thank you for choosing Chicago for that.”
Yoko Ono is an internationally-renowned installation and performance artist who grew up in Japan and has kept her connections to her homeland strong. She has overseen large outdoor installations: in New York City’s Central Park (“Strawberry Fields”) and Reykjavik, Iceland (“Imagine Peace Tower”). SKY LANDING is her first permanent installation in the Americas. A retrospective is currently on view at the MOMA in New York. Ono is widow of John Lennon, and is devoted to peace, meditation, and mystic powers and significance.
A special meeting about Jackson Park was held January 13 2015, Community meeting convened by Ald. Hairston (5th) on the proposed Vision Framework for Jackson Park and four projects envisioned. Presenters included: Robert Karr, Project 120 Chicago; Patricia O’Donnell, Heritage Landscapes; Kulapat Yantrasast, whY design firm. They described where they are so far and advancing thought on the projects. The Army Corps prject is underway as modified to fit Olmsted-framework thinking late in 2014. In future years would be Yoko Ono-involved Sky Landing earthscape outside the Japanese Garden, a visitors center and realignment in the Music Court area, and the re-establishment of the Great Lawn and movement of the Golf Driving Range. Among the key unifying actions would be restoration and redesign and calming of circulation for better access and views, overlooks, and improvement and expansion for both nature and human use and the focal points and destinations in the park.
More meetings later.
As more specific becomes known about the Project 120 concept for the park's framework, potentially including a large visitors and learning center, that material will be moved here or to their own pages. A framework is being developed in consultation with JPAC and which will be presented in early 2015 to CPD for its consideration in early 2015. It is expected to include a general revision of the 2000 Framework Plan and four specific areal revisionings, the first of which is the already in process/progress ACE Habitat Restoration. Project 120 adn Heritage Landscapes will come to the January 2014 JPAC meeting (expected to also hear the UC Obama Library bid team) as part of a visioning - imagining session for the council. It is possible an earlier meeting will be called. Late in 2014 (not quite yet) Project 120 will put their ideas up for comment in their interactive-visual site http://www.project120chicago.org.
While there is consultation among projects, Project 120 and the Army Corps habitat restoration project are separate projects that will not physically overlap in the park.
PROJECT 120. The plan was originally vetted at a November 18 2013 public meeting convened by Ald. Hairston, well attended. There have been modifications since. March 13 Robert Karr of Project 120 presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, possible design concepts for enhancing Jackson Park to help it be more of a teaching park- science, nature, history and better serve the many users and enjoyers of the park- to be in accord with a revisited framework plan and in accord with Olmsted landscape including the many newly planted cherry trees (from which the larger concept grew). The centerpiece is reorganizing the area south of the Museum, known as music court, with a c. $10M (cost and concept likely to change) visitors and teaching center with tour center, museum and amenities. Concepts and concept renderings were made by Why Design architects. Karr noted that the park is owed something to replace the Phoenix Pavilion and Tea House, which were supposed to be in perpetuity, and and former concert structures in the Music Court. Many are thrilled, others have strong reservations about size or other factors or oppose any new structures in parks at all. There was a brief report in the March 19 2014, which may or may not still be up. Hyde Park Herald.
http://www.project120chicago.org (best to sign up for their emails at firstname.lastname@example.org) (they are strongly tied to and seem to be under Garden of the Phoenix and its website http://www.gardenofthephoenix.org inquiries info@).
At its April 14 meeting, Jackson Park Advisory Council approved the project in principle, adding that its name should reflect its role as a nature and culture center in Jackson Park.
Perspectives (only a small selection is possible. More will be added).
April 26 Louise McCurry gave the following thoughts (not officially endorsed by JPAC although the latter has endorsed the project in principle), to Good Neighbors on Project 120.
Sent:Sat Apr 26 03:08:16 UTC 2014
Subject: [Good Neighbors] Jackson Park
"Thank you all for your interest in Jackson Park. Jackson Park is the most amazing lakefront park in the city! It was redesigned after the1893 World's Fair by Olmsted and his landscape architectural company to include the Music Court at it's current location, along with the Japanese Tea House and the Japanese Gardens.
While circulating petitions for the Nancy Hays Bridge, I spoke with scores of older July 4th Music Court visitors who recalled fondly from their childhood the concerts in the Music Court and its July 4th celebrations. This was before the the opening of the Nike Missile Base which effectively closed off this part of the park to visitors . Others recalled Shakespeare plays, children's plays, community meetings, and classes they attended at the Music Court,. The Court was as a safe,outdoor place where community members and families came together for celebrations and events. Some of these seniors travel from Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky annually on July 4th to celebrate at the Music Court with their families, as they did when they were young.
The Japanese Gardens and Tea House were built by the Japanese for the 1893 World's Fair and were given to the American people as a symbol of friendship. The Japanese Tea House, contained public bathrooms, and was supposedly burned down by teens because of the Japanese role in WWII. The band shell was destroyed before the Nike Missile Base was opened.
Currently, I have observed, the Music Court is used by: drivers illegally parking in the Music Court instead of the paid lot, drinkers who leave an assortment of bottles, cans, and garbage each Friday and Saturday night during the warm months. individuals who are selling drugs leaving behind their dime bags and wrappers, prostitutes who leave behind their condom wrappers, and large noisy spontaneous gatherings who party in the Music Court rather than the pay permit picnic areas. For at least the last 23 years that I have been doing AYSO soccer ,on Saturday and Sunday afternoons competing boom boxes blast at decibels loud enough to be heard by children playing soccer at the 63rd street soccer fields.
On Saturday or Sunday Mornings, JPAC volunteers, working with the Park District, pick up bags full of bottles, cans, food, and garbage left on the ground by people using the Court and its parking lot. JPAC volunteers have spent hundreds of hours working, with the Park District, to bring visitors and families back to the park by clearing the debris, reporting criminal activity, and replanting the native species on Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadow, repairing the picnic areas, the sports fields and the bike and walking paths, and cleaning the beaches at 57th,63rd, and 67th streets. JPAC wants to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" by bringing people and families into our park to enjoy nature rather than spending hours in front of TV or computer screens.
The Phoenix plan only rebuilds and replaces the previously destroyed Music Court band shell, Japanese tea house, and bathrooms. It includes bathrooms, and small outdoor stage and seating area, and a tea house with a staff who can assist visitors or alert police or emergency responders. . It offers us a safe, comfortable, outdoor family and community resource where visitors can get a cool drink, use the bathroom, sit down and listen to a nature or history guide; where school groups can gather for nature classes before visiting the treasures of Bobolink Meadow and Wooded Island:, where visitors to the 1893 World's Fair site can gather for orientation lectures before walking the sites of the World's Fair; where small groups can perform : ( i.e. children's choirs, children's violin groups, children's theater groups, children's ballet groups, plays like Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor family nature classes, school nature classes, string quartets, jazz trios, classical music trios, and even community celebrations like the Wooded Island Festival.) It is a place where fond childhood and family memories can be made. Music Court is a small space, not a large Northerly Island concert venue. It is a small place where small groups of community members can comfortably come together outdoors, and sip some tea or pop, and maybe listen to their children's concerts or a play or lecture. Then, after drinking their fill of tea ,pop, or coffee, rather than attempting to hold it until they get home, they can use a clean, safe bathroom at the Phoenix.
What a vast improvement from usages of the current deteriorating Music Court and the rebuilding of a positive and much needed community and family resource!
As always, JPAC welcomes you to join our JPAC volunteers to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" in our community.
Louise McCurry, JPAC President."
June 15 2016- Letter to Hyde Park Herald by Frances Vandervoort- Sacred Cows and Holy Beavers
To the Editor:
Last week I learned of local concern that the Jackson Park Golf Driving Range, constructed in 1978 near the site of the Nike Missile Base, was soon to be sacrificed to Project 120’s plan to convert the space into a spacious lawn. I also learned that beavers would soon be unwelcome facets of Jackson Park ecology. Never mind that, in 1978, when the golf driving range was about to become reality, concerned citizens sought the help of former alderman Leon Despres to prevent the Chicago Park District (CPD) from destroying much of the existing Bobolink Meadow. Documents, signed by Mr. Despres, were presented by a local resident to the chief lawyer of the CPD, temporarily halting bulldozers poised to tear up the precious land. Hyde Parkers, who chained themselves to driving range posts, were cut free by CPD employees, carted off to district police headquarters, and released at the request of Mr. Despres. Now, it seems, the driving range is a sacred cow – to be saved at all cost!
Beavers travel north along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from south lakeshore wilderness areas to seek out fresh stands of new and mature trees. They often settle in Jackson Park’s lagoons to build lodges and feed upon branches with their powerful teeth and jaws. CPD employees trap the creatures, take them back to forest preserves, knowing full well that many of them will return. Beavers are persistent. It seems, that in the eyes of some, they are sacred as well.
Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.
Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace.
The Role of Project 120 in Jackson Park Planning.
Many folks are unaware that Project 120 is part of a collaborative effort involving the Chicago Park District and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers known as GLFER, Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration. GLFER uses CPD and U.S. Government funds supplemented by private funds raised by Project 120. GLFER is committed to addressing park management issues in view of evolving urban needs and the inevitable climate changes foreseen for the 21st Century. Also, part of its duty is to inform and involve the public in all actions proposed or taken. Numerous meetings have been held to discuss all issues related to the project. Questions (that appeared on a Jackson Park Watch handout on May 29) about "how the Park District feels about..., " or "what the Park District thinks about ..." are specious and misleading. The three units making up GLFER are in total agreement. Project 120 is easier to say than GLFER, but it is NOT a defining term.
Project 120 has engaged the nation's foremost expert on Frederick Law Olmsted, Patricia O'Donnell of Heritage Landscapes, LLC, for advice about park design. Working for GLFER is the outstanding young CPD ecologist, Lauren Umek, who analyzes and suggests the very best ecological practices for management of the special treasure that is Jackson Park.
We are so lucky.
Letter by Eric Ginsburg to Hyde Park Herald June 29, 2016. There is no need to mar the middle of Jackson Park with another intrusive artificial object.
I submit that Project 120's plan to put a music pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park might not have been appreciated by the park's designer, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1891, he wrote a letter protesting the placement of a music hall on Wooded Island, saying people should consider it "a place of relief from all the splendor and glory and noise and human multitudinousness of the great surrounding Babylon" In his public advocacy, Olmsted repeatedly showed that he understood the value in unbuilt spaces, saying for example that Presque Isle in Michigan, "should not be marred by the intrusion of artificial objects. "
Jackson Park is one of our city's few remaining spots of urban wilderness. Birdwatchers come from far away to se the animals it draws, families come to picnic, many come to fish. As our population grows, such places become fewer and fewer, and as habitat decreases across the hemisphere, the number and variety of birds decreases as well.
the proposed pavilion will displace trees and green space, impair views, and bring extra noise, all unnecessarily. We already have many permanent music venues on the South Side of Chicago. Jackson Park already hosts the Chosen Few festival every year without the need for permanent structures. If the communities surrounding Jackson Park collectively decide, through a collective open process, that public land is needed for a new music venue, we can find a more appropriate location for it than in th center of a natural area.
Olmsted's attitude was prescient. He was writing in an era before amplified music, before the Park was surrounded by road noise from traffic moving at highway speeds, before several bird species once found in Chicago went extinct. Olmsted knew from experience what neuroscientists have since quantified, that a walk in nature has beneficial effects on the brain. He would have understood that there is no need to mar the middle of his park with another intrusive "artificial object."
[Ed. note, on the other hand, Frances Vandervoort read at a Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting a letter of Olmsted proposing a music pavilion in Washington Park.]
Documentary on Olmsted and design of American Parks available, to be broadcast.
Special: PBS doc on Olmsted, Designing Americas Parks with extras is available on line and will be broadcast on PBS June 26 9 pm (EDT?). Passed on by Madiem: We are pleased to let you know that “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America,” a one-hour film, will be broadcast nationally on PBS on Friday, June 20 at 9:00 PM (check local listings.) Attached below you will find a pdf of the broadcast announcement, which we hope you will share with your friends via email and social media.We have produced six short bonus videos for the film, which you can see now on the PBS Olmsted website. We have also produced a twelve-minute film for the Library of American Landscape History, which also will be on the PBS site soon. The film is called “The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System.” It is part of the LALH “North American by Design” film series and it is available now on the LALH website, as are two other landscape architecture films. I’ve put the links to both sites below.
Olmsted Bonus Videos. Library of American Landscape History Short Films
JANUARY-MAY+++ 2014- THE CLARENCE DARROW BRIDGE, WHICH INCLUDES
ACCESS TO WOODED ISLAND AND OSAKA GARDEN FROM THE LOT TO THE EAST OFF LAKE SHORE
DRIVE AND TO BOBOLINK MEADOW AND THE LAKEFRONT BIKE TRAIL ETC. FROM THE WEST
HAS BEEN CLOSED BY TRAFFIC OFFICIALS BECAUSE OF UNSAFE
CONDITION. JPAC, THE PARK DISTICT, TRANSPORTATION AND ELECTED OFFICIALS,
OTHERS, ARE WORKING ON A SOLUTION FOR EMERGENCY REPAIR AND IN ANY CASE ALTERNATE
ACCESS. THIS IS CRITICAL ACCESS TO ONE OF THE MOST VISITED SPOTS IN ILLINOIS
AND IN CASE OF EMERGENCY NEED. THIS HISTORIC 120 YEAR OLD BRIDGE HAS TO BE HISTORICALLY
RESTORED. After JPAC and others sought structural assessment of the bridges
in Jackson Park (with only Darrow failing-- it has only been patched since its
construction in 1870 and reconstruction for the Columbian Exposition), the park
district applied for IDOT grants but was denied, at least on first round. Funding
is not yet secured, but is being sought diligently by elected officials and
public agencies. But time is urgent.
See update from August 2014 JPAC meeting.
PETITION IN PDF WITH CASE FOR REPAIR AND REOPENING. (Time is urgent
as there will be an online petition cut off and the results sent to the agencies.
LINK TO THE PETITION IN CHANGE.ORG- PLEASE SHARE: https://www.change.org/petitions/chicago-department-of-transportaion-and-illinois-department-of-transportation-and-chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-and-illinois-governor-we-the-undersigned-request-that-cdot-idot-request-emergency-funds-to-quickly-repair-and-re-open-the-historic-clarence-d
nature and landscape revitalization going strong:
April 22 2014 Friends of the Parks, Exelon Corp, JPAC and Openlands volunteers planted 25 native species trees south of the Golf Driving Range. Majority were various species of oaks, upholding the oak savannah heritage of the park and area. Thanks to all.
Louise writes: "Many thanks, to all of you who helped, this week, planting 25 new oak trees, re chipping the Bobolink Meadow path, and mulching around the trees at the 63rd street picnic areas. You made a positive difference in the ecology of our park and lakefront."
Thanks to those who helped with the SPECIAL PLAYGROUND WORKDAY THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014 spreading fibar under new equipment in this enormous playground at the fieldhouse. Thanks to Chicago Park District and to Friends of the Parks, esp. Maria Stone.
JPAC President McCurry called for participation in Earth Day activities in letter in April 23 2014 Hyde Park Herald (and it will returning April 2015-- we also encourage people to look for Earth Day/Harold's Day activities in Harold Washington Park.)
Join Jackson Park cleanup for the Earth.To the Editor:
Saturday, April 26, the Jackson Park Advisory Council is participating in the 25th annual Earth Day park clean up sponsored by Friends of he Parks. JPAC invites all neighbors to join them at 9 a.m. at either the 57th Street Beach or the 63drd Street Beach to clan up the plastic bags, cans, bottles and debris left on the beaches by the winter's storms and beach visitors. Earth Day T-shirts and goodie wil be given to volunteers as long as they last, so come early. Families are welcome. Children can enjoy being with their parents and friends cleaning up the lakefront while enjoying a few hours at the beach.
Around the world, Earth Day is being celebrate in some creative ways. The Earth Day Network and Forest nation are joining forces to provide fast growing tree kits for students to sell as fundraising projects instead of he usual candy and popcorn. The kit is then used in impoverished nations to plant fast growing tres to improve the economy and ecology of the impoverished community. Around the word, 260 universities in 42 nations are taking part in "Mobilize U" matching world college students with ecology cleanup projects in their communities. Many libraries are participating in a progam called "Reading for the Earth" promoting environmental literacy for children.
Throughout Chicago and the suburbs, Friends of the Parks has Earth Day clean up sites in parks and preserves. Volunteers are still needed. You can sign up by going to fotp.org and clicking on "Earth Day" or come at 9 a.m. on April 26 to one of the designated EArth Day sits. You will be glad you did your part to clean up the Earth.
Common, Kanye West join forces for annual AAHH Fest in Jackson Park to launch multi-year program to hire youth, give shadowing ops for careers THIS EVENT WAS MOVED TO UNION PARK.
Mission accomplished. After years of work and thousands of petition signatures and stakeholder letters, the north bridge to Wooded Island was named for JPAC past president, ace photographer, and park activist Nancy Campbell Hays in January, 2014. A nice sign was put up. Dedication was held March 15. Nancy C. Hays page. Hays petition (FYI-of course, closed)
Presenters. JPAC and Montgomery Place residents are most grateful to Friends
of the Viking Ship (http://www.vikingship.us)
and Raymond Johnson and friends of Friends of the White City (http://www.friendsofthewhitecity.org)
and to our host, Montgomery Place, for detailed, elegant presentations at Montgomery
Place Retirement Community on March 10. The
presentations were informative and elegant. We learned the history, sad subsequent
neglect, and recent stabilization and hopes for this unique replica ship-- much
with this ship and its journeys being unique. The Park District in Augusts
2012 agreed to relinquish rights to the ship to Friends of Viking Ship. And
we learned a not-so-good story about the ice house at the fair and the many
firemen lost-- and that we can find the huge wooded statue of Columbus that
was at the building, now at the Greater Chicago Firefighters Museum. Read more
about the Viking Ship in Jackson
Park History page and Columbian
We held a follow up at the December 2014 JPAC meeting at UC Lab School Early Learning Center. Frances McNamara presented on her mystery novels set in late 19th century Chicago including at at the Columbian Exposition. Ray Johnson zeroed in on the fire a teh ice house at the Fair.
The park district also agreed in March 2014 to carry out its long-since agreement to place a sign at the 63rd St. beachhouse naming the balconies for Eric Hatchett, past president of JPAC, largely the force behind restoration and reopening of the beachhouse, and youth mentor and activist. See the information and resolutions.
unfortunately is a fact of life in urban parks. Two
of the most serious in 2013 were theft of copper piping- including underground-
at the 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion, rendering the interactive spray pool inoperable,
and removal of (high) fencing at the Golf Driving Range so dealers could do
their thing. Park benches and water fountains are frequent targets.
Safety-- there's been lots of improvement, but certain (moving) pockets continue to offer opportunities.
Response by Chicago and park police have been excellent.
Park awarded new playground equipment 56th and Stony May 2013 under CPD-Friends
of the Parks program.
Earl B. Dickerson was replaced autumn 2013 and included a community workday spreading the fibar and a dedication with Bret Harte School. Chrysalis Playlot and that at the Fieldhouse will be rebuilt starting spring 2014. "Thank You!" to Friends of the Parks and park staff. Community workdays are involved. JPAC had done a survey of the park's 7 or so playgrounds with the Safe Play coalition the year before and found the three being replaced the worst (along with one not recommended for continuation because of problems with the location). So we were ready to do our request and community support-building when the program was announced competition to replace 50 or so playgrounds a year over 5 years.
Maria Stone of Friends of the Parks wrote to JPAC May 29 :
Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Park District have received and reviewed your community’s nomination for Jackson Park (5625 S. Stony Island) for the Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation Program. We are pleased to announce that Jackson Park has been selected as the one of the first playgrounds to be built in the first year of the Chicago Plays! program.
The Chicago Plays! Program has created much excitement and has gotten Chicagoans thinking about community and its importance to their parks. There were numerous outstanding nominations from community organizations across the city of Chicago so the decision making process was a difficult one. The commitment and enthusiasm that your community has displayed in your application was evident and both the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks are excited to work with your community to make this new playground a reality.
Over the next few months we will work with you regarding the anticipated construction date and playground designs. Your community will have the opportunity to select playground equipment based on the provided designs.
Congratulations on your new playground!
Maria Dmyterko Stone
So far, two new sets of playground equipment were installed in the northwest corner- Earl B. Dickerson and Chrysalis, a large new set at the fieldhouse, 6401 Stony, and approved for south of the track at 62-- south Stony/Cornell and approved or at least put in for east of the 63rd beachhouse. JPAC is considering a new playground near La Rabida. The rest seem to be in good condition.
Park sports programs soar. Under new Daycamp Director Erika Robinson
and new park Supervisory Bobbie Beckam, the range, organization, and recruitment/enrollment
for fieldhouse and field sports program blossomed in 2013 and 14. Major and
minor facilities upgrades were carried out or placed on the radar. Notable is
the Take The Field soccer-football artificial turf field at the track, Windy
City Hoops, and Junior Bears.
Issues with the track area are being addressed.
And visit the fieldhouse including to look at the council's Nancy Hays Gallery.
There is hope that the fieldhouse will see in 2014:
- air conditioning in 4 special and multi-purpose rooms incl. the conditioning/weight room
- Floor of the gym.
and inventorying nature, landscape. (See more in Nature
News.) In addition to phased replacements and infill under the Wooded Island
Habitat Plan et al, JPAC took the physical lead in a tree survey of the natural
to the regional inventory-Here is the link to the Openlands interactive GIS
JPAC has followed up with flagging and protection around volunteer oak sprouts (enabled by the diligent clearing of invasives and opening of sunlight- and giving hope for survival of the oak savannah ancient habitat). This also dovetailed into start, and hoped soon-completion of a woodchip nature trail through Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, the now rehabilitated meadow, and soon a connecting trail along the south edge of the east lagoon and also tie in with the tree and plant identifiers and nature activity literature prepared by JPAC. Signage is next.
Also, JPAC works with the PD, Friends of the Parks, and Exelon to infill areas where trees have been lost or seem needed. I addition, Garden of the Phoenix and Project 120 replaced invasive overgrowth with about 120 cherry trees at the north end of Wooded Island and north of the lagoons.
And JPAC, with the park district has returned the Promontory Circle area (La Rabida and Outer Harbor shores) to a state of beauty and public use. None of these things would be possible without large volunteer groups who help us.
JPAC continues to follow changes in monitoring and responding to pollution of our waters and beaches, and hope for progress. Visit the beach and swim ban page.
Lakefront Bike Trail- there was a collaborative gathering of input and recommendations, but little has been done yet.
This and That
In late winter 2014 Paul Clyne reported a goodly inventory of birds in the Jackson Park harbors. There's a lively variety of ducks, but see quickly as through the advance of April, many species go south.