The heavy hand of the 2016 Olympic Committee was present at a community meeting last night in Lincoln Park. A Planning Task Force of the Lincoln Park Advisory Council was to make a recommendation to the Council to oppose the placement of the 30,000 seat Olmpic tennis venue in the park on the site of the tennis courts at Addison and Lake Shore Drive adjacent to the Bill Jarvis Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary. The Task Force was prevented from bringing its recommendation to the floor by the Chair of the Council – who had requested the Task Force convene in the first place.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune’s web site, 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky defended the site as the “natural home” for the tennis venue.
Here is the recommendation of the Planning Task Force that was NOT voted on last night:
“The Lincoln Park Advisory Council Planning Task Force opposes and will recommend that the full Council oppose the sitting of the 2016 Olympic tennis court venue at the Waveland Park area because:
(1) It would seriously damage the bird sanctuary and adjacent nature area and the wild life therein,
(2) It would destroy park land,
(3) Cause a net loss of 7 tennis courts,
(4) Cause a loss of approximately 100 trees.
(5) Risk grave damage to this area by the presence of tens of thousands of spectators.”
Olympic boosters brought out some dozen people who had not been to a Lincoln Park Advisory Council meeting in a year or so. Alderman Helen Schiller even put in an appearance to ask that the Council take no action that would appear to oppose the Olympics. Gyata Kimmons, the head of the 2016 community relations department, spoke and promised that all park destruction and construction would be restored after the games.
Friends, the fix is in. The power of the 2016 Olympic Committee to squash any serious discussion of the negatives of the games is real and it showed up last night at the Notebaert Nature Museum.