At a forum held at the Cultural Center on April 9, Friends of the Parks repeated its support for the 2016 summer Olympics coming to Chicago despite the many venues being planned for public parks all over the city. FOTP’s stated mission is “a designated park advocacy organization, dedicated to preserving, protecting, and improving Chicago’s parks and forest preserves for all citizens.”
2009 is the Centennial Year of the Burnham Plan for Chicago. Daniel Burnham called for ten acres of park land per thousand residents. According to a study by the Trust for Public Land, Chicago ranks 10th of all major U.S. cities in park land per-thousand-residents. We have 4.2 acres per thousand residents. Number One is Washington, D.C., with 13.1 acres and Boston comes in at second place with 8.5 acres. So why is Friends, excuse me, Foes of the Parks, in favor of destroying Washington Park, parts of Douglas Park, Jackson Park and placing a 30,000 seat tennis stadium adjacent to the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary at Addison and Lake Shore Drive? [Download the report. totalacresperresident_08] So what’s up with supporting the biggest single public land grab and park destruction program in Chicago’s history?
In a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, the newly re-named Foes of the Parks made their position clear:
Friends of the Parks maintains that the best community use for the land is open fields for baseball, softball and cricket, low-impact facilities that they claim maintain the vision of Olmsted, the famed park and landscape designer…Nonetheless, Friends of the Parks is in favor of bringing the Olympics to Chicago, Tranter said. “I’m very hopeful” the two sides can work out satisfactory compromises, she said.
We’re not so hopeful. We’re pretty sure that if the Olympics come to Chicago citizens of the Washington Park, Jackson Park, Douglas Park and Lincoln Park neighborhoods will experience the destruction of their public spaces, massive traffic jams, cost overruns, disruption of the wild life and taking of public and private property to suit the games organizers.
Why don’t you call contact Erma at 312-857-2757 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let Foes of the Parks know that we know they have betrayed their mission and mandate.