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

Produced by Jackson Park Advisory Council Chicago, a recognized advisory body to the Chicago Park District

Editor Gary M. Ossewaarde. Contact at hpkcc@aol.com. 773 947-9541.

Hosted by Onshore in www.hydepark.org, website owned by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, 77 3 288-8343. Administrator George W. Rumsey, rumsey@aol.com.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, October 2007

In this Issue:


Minutes- Jackson Park Advisory Council September 10 2007 meeting

Ross Petersen convened the well-attended meeting at 7:35 p.m. Due to a full and special agenda, elections were postponed and the agenda adjusted. Fran Vandervoort moved approval of the August minutes; approved.

Fieldhouse and Programs. Terry Jones, Physical Instructor. Full and expanding enrollment and kinds of programs were described. All-around skill and lifestyle development are stressed. Cultural and seniors programs are on board. Teams in a wide range of sports were successful. Bishop Brazier’s tennis programs were praised.

Lakefront. Alonzo Williams, Director of Lakefront Operations. Williams thanked JPAC for its support of programs, which garnered an award at the September 8 Advisory Councils Recognition celebration on Northerly Island. The recognition and plaque, shown by Gary Ossewaarde, were greatly appreciated by members.

Nature Committee. Ross Petersen. Workdays are temporarily in Bob-o-link Meadow, where burdock and more are being removed. The plan for Wooded Island management is being readied for expert and stakeholder review.

Olympic and Paralympic presentation. Valerie Jarrett, Gyata Kimmons, Doug Arnot of Chicago2016 and Arnold Randall, Chicago Commissioner of Planning and Development. Also John Hillman, Mark Jones, Tony Romano; Alonzo Williams CPD.

Jarrett said there would be impact locally, but this is an opportunity to leave improvements and legacy with minimum disruption, if planned carefully and prudently. She said the Committee wants and needs continuing engagement in an open, fair, collaborative process. She noted that changes have already been made. A strong bid needs consensus. Concept drawings and a video on the citywide suite of venues were shown.

Arnot, who has worked on design at other Olympics, said they are working hard to avoid mistakes, including to the environment, or leaving white elephants. The park is to be returned to its condition and uses, with some compatible improvements (not asphalt but possibly including security features). Structures, lighting, stands will be temporary (although security features could remain) and will not go below ground. The two artificial surface fields and third, grass will be legacies. All facilities must be fully accessible to persons with disabilities, one of the reasons for artificial surface fields. Arnot said the latter would also allow maximum use afterwards since grass fields are and would be quickly degraded. Arnot gave the timeframe as a few months of phased work in late 2015 and again in 2016.

Questions and challenges.
· Parks, field team experts were asked experience with artificial turf playing fields. Offers advantages.
· What will be off limits or have impractical access? Hayes Drive, golf driving range, soccer fields, Hayes lots incl. for basketball there. Not Bob-o-link, Wooded Island, Golf course, Lake Shore Drive.
· Impacts on natural areas. Petersen showed what structures and activity might be too close to lagoons and the ADA boardwalk and where crowds, short-cutters, support vehicles, lighting might disturb birds and wildlife.
· Will infrastructure like sewers be affected; could improvements be made? Team: generally no to both. And any wider kinds of improvements like playlots, transit cannot come from Olympic program, funds.
· How will the athletes, people be moved? Shuttle buses; no autos (re-educate off autos). Plan will take time.
· Several feared congestion in neighborhoods, effects on mobility, harbors, golf et al.
· Will alternative places be offered teams, users? Past help in previous displacements can be a model. Sports team reps stressed management and success at such accommodation as critical.
· Several asked if more substantial legacies could be left: little result for lots of disruption. Also suggested for effect and congestion/conflict mitigation during the event was use of portable bridges for access, shiny steel. Team would consider but is cautious about redirecting the park or leaving white elephants.
· An archeologist said the law requires a full reconnaissance ahead of work; site was Columbian Expos.
· The short timeframe was generally challenged. Team cited Olympic, other experience, no work underground.
· Will there be an extensive set of public input meetings and charette? Yes. The presenters asked for input to help develop consensus on landscaping, behaviors, traffic, being green. An “Olmstedist” is on the design team. Full detail design starts in late 2009—that is the best window for input.

The Olympic Committee was thanked for discussing and answering and were urged to return often. Members reviewed concerns and alternatives. Concern was expressed about the park’s current state and needs, including major facilities, that may not be adequately addressed because the energy and funds will go to the Olympics. Petersen summarized consensus: Continue to learn and evaluate, Compile member questions at the next meeting. Adjournment.

Respectfully submitted, Gary M. Ossewaarde, Secretary

Appended report: Monitors/board members-at-large Geneva Calloway and Vernita Jones. They met with Alonzo Williams and Natural Areas Manager Zhanna Yermakov in July. All hope that by next spring the following will be or been addressed: Sand-stabilizing plantings at east side of 63rd underpass, Driving Range path, Pedestrian paths especially on the west side, parking lots at 63rd and Cornell. The driving range road, 63rd lot are since completed.

Workdays Oct. 13, 27. Meet at Darrow Bridge south of Museum. Ross Petersen, 773 486-0505.
Halloween Haunted House fun at the 63rd Bathing Pavilion late October. Call 773 256-0903.