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Resolutions by the HPKCC Dec 2003 and Jan 2004 Board meetings on the role of park councils and the issues of Nichols and Harold Washington councils

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The Board in December 2004 heard an extended report from Nichols Park Advisory Council President Stephanie Franklin with regard to hopes and difficulties in attaining a design for the juncture of the park and the new shared use gym facility at the north end of the park. The Nichols council seeks a design with a plaza-public gathering space that easily facilitates a wide variety public uses as well as having an adjoining attractive, good formal garden design. (For more, visit and navigate from the Nichols home page.) The HPKCC board endorsed the council's efforts and resolved to work for park district deference to the councils as voices for the community and park users and better, regularized communication and advice-seeking procedures in the park district's dealings with councils.

The board also resolved to support the Harold Washington park council in its opposition to a proposed placement of a parking lot in that park (proposed as a way to accommodate access to new parkland to be built into the lake between 45th and 51st). The two resolutions will be communicated in a letter to the Herald and put up on the website.

Other board business

The board heard vigorous reports and program/forum plans for this winter and spring from its committees and discussed ways to increase membership, participation, and funds and to grow Conference engagement with the community. The committees also raised serious questions about the park district budget and the latest round of CTA bus route changes. Several forums were proposed. The board acquiesced in participation in and public meetings by a multi-organization committee on historic preservation in the area. The board concluded that the University proposals re: its 53rd Street properties are reasonable and forward-looking.

January 2004 business

The board discussed changes, such as resignation of the park district superintendent, and challenges that might impact the neighborhood and critical negotiations, heard updates on upcoming forums, and expressed concern about new clean air regulations and proposals to retrofit buildings with automatic sprinklers.


Nichols and Councils resolution: passed unanimously:

Resolved, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference supports and endorses the endeavors of its committee, Nichols Park Advisory Council, to secure implementation of the community and park district agreed upon design for the school interface, one that provides ample open public space for community activities. HPKCC considers Nichols Park Advisory Council the speaker for that park. We insist that the Chicago Park District develop procedures so it fully communicates with and engages councils on plans for the parks, believing that the desires of communities for their parks, as expressed by councils, should take precedence in park plans.

Resolved that the above be communicated to Diane Minor, CAO, CPD, appropriate project staff, and Alderman Preckwinkle.

Letter from President George Rumsey to Diane Minor, CAO CPD in pursuance of the above resolution

December 5, 2003

Dear Ms. Minor:

In full session on Thursday, December 4, the Board of Directors of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference unanimously endorsed the efforts of the Nichols Park Advisory Council in their attempts to make minor modifications to the landscape design currently being implemented at the new building in Nichols Park.

Having followed the design process from the beginning, the Board has always thought that the space around the entry of the new building had he potential to become a terrific "town plaza" for Hyde Park—an outdoor meeting place for the neighborhood. However, the Board of Education design significantly reduces the size of this plaza, and does very little to tie in the new space in a harmonious form with the existing fountain/formal garden areas.

The HPKCC Board especially wants to enforce the idea that the Nichols Park Advisory Council is the best voice of the neighborhood when it comes to this park. We sincerely hope that you will be able to work with the Council to agree upon some small changes that will make everyone very pleased with the new addition.

If I or other Board members can be of any service, please do not hesitate to let me know.

With best regards,

George W. Rumsey, President


Letter of President Rumsey in the December 24, 2003 Hyde Park Herald

Park District can't have our parks for parking lots

To the Editor:

On Thursday, Dec. 4, the full board of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference voted unanimously to endorse two separate resolutions affecting neighborhood parks.

Stephanie Franklin, from the Nichols Park Advisory Council, presented a well-though-out critique of the current landscaping designs being implemented around the new field house in Nichols Park. Much to the advisory council's dismay, these plans drastically differ from what was originally presented to and approve by the advisory council. The board strongly endorsed the advisory council's view that the design should be restored.

When I expressed HPKCC's concern to the Chicago Park District, at the board's direction I also emphasized our belief that advisory councils in general should be given a much stronger voice in decision-making, since they best represent the neighborhoods that use the parks.

At a later point in our meeting, parks again came up on the agenda. Gary Ossewaarde put forward a motion on behalf of the Harold Washington Park Advisory Council, supporting the council's opposition to building a parking lot in Harold Washington Park. Although everyone recognizes the need for more parking in Hyde Park, the board felt that the loss of park space is not the best way to address this problem.

Our parks give us some of our most precious space, and the advisory councils are the first line of defense in their protection. Anyone who is interested in what is happening in our parks is encouraged to visit and explore the HPKCC's parks web site.

George W. Rumsey, President, HPKCC


Harold Washington resolution: passed unanimously: proposed parking lot north of the Model Yacht Basin opposed.

Final Resolution proposed by the Parks Committee, Re: Proposed parking lot in Harold Washington Park, as approved unanimously 12-04-03

Harold Washington Park is a very heavily-used spin-off from historic Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Burnham Park, is part of the Lakefront protected by Ordinance, and honors the late Mayor Harold Washington and

The Harold Washington Park Advisory Council, when apprised that the design team for the lakefront park and shoreline reconstruction from 45th to 51st Streets has proposed a 60-car parking lot be located between the Model Yacht Basin in HW park and 51st Street, voted on December 2 to oppose the placement of a parking lot in the park, which position was strongly seconded by the Lakefront Region Manager and South Lakefront Area Manager at the meeting and

The issue is a general one both of park integrity and of the interest of neighbors, living in adjacent high rises, who at the advisory council meeting said neighbors deserve to see or look down on a park and not a parking lot, therefore

Be it resolved that
The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference supports the Harold Washington Advisory Council in its opposition to placement of a parking lot in Harold Washington Park.