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Welcome to the June 2007 J.P.A.C. Newsletter online

June 2007, Volume 14, Issue 6

Published by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago, Illinois, a recognized advisory body to the Chicago Park District.

Editor Gary Ossewaarde

Hosted in hydepark.org, the website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Administrator George Rumsey.

In this issue:




Minutes of the May 14, 2007 Jackson Park Advisory Council Meeting

Ross Petersen opened the meeting at 7:35 pm in the fieldhouse. The minutes of the April meeting were approved as circulated.

Fieldhouse Programs and the Park. Bill Tillis, Supervisor, reported that the spring program is one of the most successful in history in terms of participation and variety. Among reasons credited for the success is work with and in the schools, our male and female instructors, and publicity. While programs are centered around sports (track and football conditioning this spring), they include much more, from homework to cultural to social and life-skill learning. Climax will be a Showcase June 1, 6-8 pm and a sports awards ceremony June 8 4-6 pm. The public is urged to attend.

Tillis asked the Council to help with costs for the awards, to be obtained from Palos Sports. Upon motion from Fran Vandervoort and second by Dwight Powell, the council appropriated $400.

June 18-19: a special 2-day Lakefront Camp in football and cheerleading is set.

Summer programs were filling ahead of last year’s pace, but still had openings. (Some families wait until they know whether their kids will be going to camp.) The prices have been cut more than half to $155. (Prices at different facilities are based on cost-per-hour and a demographic sliding scale, and are regularly reviewed for appropriateness under direction of Superintendent Mitchell.) Upon motion of Dwight Powell, seconded by Esther Schechter, the council set aside $1,000 to be used as needed and called upon for scholarships for families needing help to send their kids to Jackson summer programs.

Tillis noted that the various parks and regions now work together to make sure all kids find a place in other field houses if their first choices are full and that they participate in integrated programs—for example, Jackson staff also goes to Harris Center, 6200 Drexel, which has a pool. He also reported that the South Side kids go to the same and same number or more of plays and other cultural activities and other trips as the North Side kids.

Teen programs have become especially important at Jackson Park, said Tillis and Lakefront Director Alonzo Williams. There is a citywide cultural and recreational initiative based on a survey taken by teens in schools. (Not surprisingly, girls and boys wanted a different mix—in some cases it works best to tell the kids what they are going to do—and they end up liking it). In the mix are etiquette/life lessons and help from such organizations as Hyde Park Art Center. The program includes learning-earning, fund raising, sweat-equity and volunteering: They get to do X if they do Y.

A new initiative is the summer-long tour-the-lakefront bike challenge.

The roadway by the soccer fields and Golf Driving range are being re-graveled and hopes are that it will soon be budgeted for a new paved roadway with curbs, to discourage the public from parking on the grass.

Tillis also reported that the (reconfigured) Drumming Circle is completed but frequently needs sand removal.
Public informational meetings and discussion on beach policies and protocols including swim bans were planned for May 15 at Rainbow Park and May 17 at Margate Park.

Park/Lakefront staff held a walk through of Jackson Park with 3rd District Police Commander Franklin related to policing, signage, parking lot and lot gates issues. Members mentioned as recurring trouble spots the Driving Range, Music Court, tennis court, and La Rabida lots and Wooded Island at night. Police were said to do their best to stop the public parking on the grass. JPAC will invite Cdr. Franklin to the June meeting.

Matters of concern brought up included fresh wood chips dumped by parties unknown on the community garden (to be removed) and need to consider rotating heavily used sports fields.

Eleanor Roemer, Friends of the Parks: Completing the last 4 miles of public Lakefront
Roemer shared results of public charette and meetings with stakeholders and nearby residents on ways to complete the vision of A. Montgomery Ward, Daniel Burnham and others for a publicly owned and accessible lakefront forever open, free, and clear, starting with sections in the 7000s and at USX. (2009 will be the Centennial of the Burnham Plan for Chicago.) Neighbors concerns have been assessed and “soft” ways sought by architects to have public access without interfering with either owners’ rights or the currents and freshness of the water. Efforts have also been made to mesh with other features and possible projects such marinas, parks, biodiversity/lakeshore restoration, transportation, and South Lakeshore Access.
A public symposium will be held June 20, 6:30 pm at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive. The Council consented to be one of the sponsors. Concepts can be previewed at the Bronzeville Visitors Information Center, 3501 S. King Drive, and the 7th Ward Office. Suggested was involvement of classrooms in exploring issues and design concepts.

Nature Committee. Ross Petersen. Frances Vandervoort brought a list of a small set of native plants donated and to be planted on Wooded Island May 22. A small meeting of experienced parties concerning replacements and plantings on Wooded Island has been set up with the park district and Friends of the Parks. Among needs raised tonight were continuous review of: plant templates, how much and how to replace downed trees and brush, removals policy, ways to specify follow up tending of new plantings and replacement of what dies, perhaps by moving some from “capital” to “operating”. Concerning whether the lagoon levels are regulated to prevent edge plantings from being drowned or dried out, Petersen reported that the equipment installed during the Lagoon Restoration Project has stopped working.

Old business. Barry Rapoport showed language given to the Park District’s Adam Guerrero (External Affairs) for the plaque honoring Frederick Douglass. The Council by general consent found the language fine and suggested a boulder about 1 and a half to two feet in diameter. Several alternatives for containing the text were considered fine, including aluminum, bronze, and etched into the stone. The stone erected by the Women of the American Legion east of the 59th St. tennis courts was referenced.
The text reads: “Frederick Douglass dedicated the Haitian Pavilion on January 2, 1893, celebrating the first finished pavilion for the World Columbian Exposition and Haitian Independence Day.”
The meeting was adjourned. Next meeting June 11, 7:30 pm, Field house.

Respectfully submitted
Gary M. Ossewaarde



Volunteer Workdays in Jackson Park’s Wooded Island and natural areas. 2nd and 4th Saturdays, 10 am-1 pm. Darrow Bridge, south of Museum of Science and Industry. Parking east of the bridge, from Lake Shore Drive at 5800. Ross Petersen, 773 486-0500.

Doug Anderson Bird Walks. Wednesdays at 7 am, Saturdays at 8 am. Meet at the Darrow Bridge. 773 493-7058.

June 1, 6-8 pm. Spring Quarter program Showcase at the fieldhouse. Public invited.

June 8, 4-6 pm. Sports awards ceremony June 8 4-6 pm. The public is urged to attend.

June 16 two Nature Oasis events: 10-1 or 2-5 Family Kayaking for 6 and up, $10, lagoons behind Museum. 11-1 Family Quest treasure hunt on Wooded Island. CPD 773 742-PLAY.

June 20, 6:30 pm. Public symposium on completing the lakefront, convened by Friends of the Parks and co-sponsored by Jackson Park, Rainbow Beach and South Shore Cultural Center advisory councils. South Shore Cultural Center, Robeson Theater, 7059 South Shore Drive. Details in flyer on reverse side. Top