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Jackson Park News, Bulletins, Issues, and Notable
Check back often as this page is always being updated! Gary Ossewaarde .And visit
Next PAC meeting JULY 8, 6:30 pm, IOWA BLDG ON 56TH ST. PICNIC! Fieldhouse will be closed. Normally 7 pm at theFieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island. 2019 JPAC MEMBERSHIP FORM Recent Newsletters:
DECEMBER 2018. JANUARY 2019. FEBRUARY 2019. MARCH 2019. APRIL 2019. MAY 2019. JUNE 2019.
(A run of minutes in pdf from January 2017 through April 2018: Visit)
(A run of minutes in pdf from January 2018-December 2018: Visit.)
(Run starting Jan 2019: Visit)
Highlights of the July 2018 Newsletter, FEATURES FROM AUGUST'S 2018.
Membership form printable. Bylaws.
Some on the OBAMA CENTER
BULLETINS-UPDATES Celebration of golf caddie scholarship winners

NEW IN 2018- George Cooley's 1978 proposal for renewing the garden and replication of the Phoenix Pavilion-
Or visit in pdf (
See about the Obama Presidential Center including counter studies with responses on roadway proposals and Plan Commission approval May 17 and City Council May 23 and in October. Obama Center page ( and OPC Updates through Oct. 2018 ( and Section 106 and other Federal Reviews (

2019 SPRING CALENDAR PDF (will be updated regularly). We need volunteers for events!
Events. Meetings including PAC (JUNE 10, 7 pm at fieldhouse.)
THE MAY 18 FLASHLIGHT TOUR IS RESCHEDULED to JUNE 29- only a few tickets left- reg. at

Workdays. June 8 (Bobolink) and June 22 (Wooded Island).
June 15 63rd beach nat area
GENERAL MEETING-- JUNE 10 7 PM, MONDAY AT FIELDHOUSE, 6401 S. STONY I. Agenda items can be sent to the president at

OFFICERS ELECTED DECEMBER 12 2018- President, Louise McCurry; VP, Anne Marie Miles; Secretary, Gary Ossewaarde; Treasurer, Dwight E. Powell.

(August-Oct 2018) Obama Center Reviews & Updates
(ITS OWN PAGE pdf regularly updated)
(Posts now up in the PDF for major mid September updates including lease ordinance, lawsuit, delay in work, and start of NEPA public process)

At the September 12 2018 CPD Board of Commissioners, JPAC, the first formally recognized park advisory council,was recognized for 35 years of service.

CONTENTS OF THE JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER (updates stop after the month's JPAC meeting)
Minutes of the June meeting including actionables from the On the Table dinner
June meeting responses and actionables from the environmental film Sea of Life and talk by the Sierra Club
Revival! The Iowa Building- being improved, what are the possibilities?
JPAC hosts a week-and-a-half "Open House" in Jackson Park: Make Music Chicago, Pianos in the Parks, Its Your Park suite of events and workdays June 13 and 23-- with thanks!
Jackson and other parks schedule of summer happenings.

IN THE AUGUST NEWSLETTER (go to Aug. nl online) What else is new August 2018, And to be reported in the September news

Also new: Updates on Obama Presidential Center (own page)
Other bulletins and new

DARROW BRIDGE- update April 2019.
JPAC Feb. 13 2018 resolution on golf conversion process- ongoing engagement

visit www.
Our golf page-
Bulletins including what's new on Wooded Island restoration project/ (Below for facts on latest Darrow Bridge from Jan 2018 Newsletter. MORE). Updates on planning and Section 106 from Jan 2018 Newsletter- for more see the Obama Center page and Golf page.
Bobolink and the golf proposal
Report from JPAC's 2017 ON THE TABLE potluck discussion.
Brief report on the Obama Center design unveiling May 3 2017. (updates and full background in our OPC page-

Latest updates, bulletins. 2019

June 11. OPC lawsuit was decided in favor of the city and park district approval of the project. Appeal is expected. Judge Blakey said that parks are more than just Nature areas and that the statute gives the jurisdiction to the legislature and they have already ruled. Case dismissed, and construction should begin immediately.

June 8. Bobolink Meadow work, June 10 much accomplished at JPAC meeting, and various meetings expanding our involvement in the community are underway.

The planning team from Japan and the US for revitalization of the Japanese Garden is repeating its vist of early spring with a revised agenda to start the work. Read about the earlier visit and plans in the May 2019 JPAC Newsletter. From communication from Mike Dimitroff, Chicago Park District May 2019

Members of the Osaka City Government team, the master gardener and a member of the Japanese Ministry of land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are returning to Chicago from 6/12-6/17!

The Team’s April visit proved fruitful and the gardener has chosen to focus initial attention on embellishing the top of the waterfall area with additional stone placements and plantings and upgrading the nobedon stone pathway. Our original focus was to be on the main entry, but the integrity is still good, so the scope shifted to accommodate the waterfall improvements and work that could be completed in this time frame.
Granite boulders have been selected from Wisconsin, and will be delivered to the west side of the Darrow bridge, just north of the Natural Area between 6/6-6/10 in anticipation of the work. Clauss Bros. will continue to work in their contractor capacity to perform the work with labor and equipment and transfer of the stones.
We are looking forward to the visit and the garden upgrade and hope to generate continued interest, collaboration and hopefully funding opportunities as we work to actualize our master framework plan and improvement goals.

Sadly, the blossom of our cherry trees south of the Columbia Basin was poor this year due to extreme weather. But the recent native edge plantings are coming along well.
Find the Japanese Garden page, with updates on blooming in
Visit the Chicago Park District website (Instagram and twitter for update information) for the daily “Bud countdown”
Japanese annually hold in Japan a festival of cherry blossom viewing, picnicking, and reflection on the transitoriness of life (hanami). Perhaps in future years that will be done formally in the groves in Jackson Park at about 5800 S., but you can do it. Blooming is a bit delayed this year here, perhaps the third week of May (much later than in Japan or Washington, DC, but the trees are mature enough that it should be fully spectacular if mother nature's winds and rains allow. Tree planting started in 2013 with help from Project 120 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Columbian Exposition and the Japanese involvement including creating the structures on Wooded Island, and also the 1912 gift of the first cherry trees to Washington DC by Japan. Ours is now the largest such collection in the Chicago area. (Other sizable collections are at Morton Arboretum and at Chicago Botanic Garden (which are expected to disappoint this year-- instead view their crabapples also early to mid May). Recently in 2019, steward Nancy Joseph led volunteer and professional crews in mulching the trees and in planting complementary native species along the Columbia Basin shore.
Learn about the meaning of chery blossoms and trees-

June 1. It's Your Park Day. Louise reports: We had a total 67 adults and players and scouts. Projects:
Mulched 44 trees on three paths of fields
Chipped 2 trails
Chipped 4 wet picnic low wet spots,
Picked up 10 bags of Trash
Removed a pile of broken limbs from fields
The Winners of the MWRD Rain Barrels Paraisia Winston and family,
Erin Adams and August.
Thank you Gary Ossewaarde for registration and organizing volunteers
Thank you Jerome Scott for teaching our mulches. Thank you Chicago Parks Foundation for Organizing and supplying this awesome event.
Thank you Chicago Park District for mulch and tools.
Thank you everyone on behalf of Jackson Park for your community service taking care of our beautiful park.

May 25. Wooded Island workday pulled Dames Rocket.

May 15. A crew including Lab School kids mulched the interior Wooded Island trails.

May 13. A diverse and lively group gathered at the fieldhouse for Jackson Park's On The Table (Chicago Community Trust) potluck conversation. Our MEMO TO THE MAYOR report can be viewed here.

May 11. The Bobolink Meadow crew were joined by volunteers from the U-High Lab School in re-chipping a very soggy trail through the Meadow and pulling invasives in the woods at the north end. Because it's been so cold, the spring wildflowers were not yet in bloom, and few on Wooded Island.
Volunteers braved the cold and damp to celebrate International Migratory Bird Treaty Day by the east edge of the soccer fields and south edge of the golf driving range to teach kids how to make bird feeders and how birds exploit different habitats to make their homes and livings and face various threats including pervasive plastic waste. Around the world crews were busy pulling plastic waste from shores and waters. We thank Field Museum for use of mini-habitat boxes from the Harris Extension. Thanks also to George Rumsey for working with Louise on a fantastic banner.
And many people, from birders to strollers and bikers to sports teams were using the park.

May 10. Evanston students tour Jackson Park in our ongoing series of "Eyes On" youth tours.
Louise McCurry writes: Today we had 50 diverse students from Evanston HS , and their teachers and chaperone's who came for a park tour. We do these school tours frequently in spring and fall. I covered the sites of the scientific and historical events of the World's Fair. the site of the First Automobile Race, the African American golfing legends of the Jackson Park Leagues, the Sailing exploits of the historic JP Yacht Club, the importance of restoring our park ecology with native plants and trees, and ended with the Japanese Gardens and the MSI. Only one person from this Evanston group had ever set foot in Jackson Park before. They were in awe, proclaiming they had no idea these awesome places existed. They ask thoughtful questions. Hundreds of cell phone pictures later, all of the youth group declared they were coming back again with their family and friends.
Today's youth tour just reaffirms how important "Eyes On" youth tours are in countering the negative Jackson stereotypes held by many young Chicagoland Residents. If we can get people into Jackson for an "eyes on" tour or event they will be amazed and come back..and maybe spend some money in the neighborhood for lunch or buy souvenirs or fill up their cars at local stations.
Step by step, we at Jackson Park are making a difference in our community.

May 4-6. A team of 4 did the heavy work sprucing up the playground at 62nd-Stony Island. Park District staff was most cooperative in getting us tools and bags and arranging for pickup of the bags and limbs.
Beavers are back at the harbor. A tree is nearly gnawed through by the old harbor house and will likely have to come down. PD is on it.

May 2. Programs in the Jackson Park fieldhouse that enhance life and could save lives. One of these, shown on Channel 5 News, is the Dovetail Project's Fatherhood Project teaching young men how to be fathers. University of Chicago including the Community Programs Accelerator works with the project.

April 29. A wonderful celebration of the Evans golf scholarship winners Tim Arrington and Abdel Raoul and the golf associations and clubs that play in Jackson Park was held in the fieldhouse. Louise McCurry also presented the accomplishment at the Chicago Park District Board annual meeting May 8. And the winners were featured on Windy City Live May 14.

From Brian Hogan, CPGA

Please see below for a recap of last week’s Scholarship Celebration honoring Tim Arrington and Abdel Raoul at Jackson Park Fieldhouse. Sincerest thanks to Louise for her hustle last Monday to prepare the fieldhouse, and again surprise us with acknowledgement before the Park District Commissioners yesterday! From the start, your team has been an inspiration and active resource…arranging school visits, inviting children and their families to speak at PAC meetings, sharing facilities and landscape ideas, hosting tours and info sessions, and COUNTLESS HOURS to support this endeavor.
We appreciate your consideration to share Tim and Abdel’s good news with fellow Advisory Council members, and via any other platforms relevant to circulate info/articles/videos linked below.
Reflecting upon the event, perhaps the only thing cooler than Tim and Abdel’s smiles was the gleam in the eyes of younger attendees upon realizing that hard work in the classroom, volunteerism in the community, and dedication on the golf course could indeed make them future scholarship honorees. Thanks for your support as we strive to make this a repeat occasion many times over!

Chicago’s South Side Golf Scholarship Celebration – Monday April 29, 2019

As reported by Teddy Greenstein for the Chicago Tribune, Marc Meltzer for the Hyde Park Herald, and the African American Golfers Digest community members gathered to honor college scholarship recipients Tim Arrington and Abdel Raoul at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse (6401 S Stony Island Ave). Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly presented Arrington and Raoul with surprise congratulatory letters signed by Tiger Woods. Chicago’s 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston added personal remarks, followed by comments from the scholars and their families.

Video Recap of the Celebration Featuring Remarks by Scholars and their Families:

Notes by Louise McCurry.

5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston: (Introductory remarks) This is a wonderful event it lets you know that our young people are active and involved in the parks; and yes, we do play golf.

(Following presentation of Tiger’s signed letters) Well…I can’t compete with Tiger Woods, but Congratulations to Tim and Abdel. You make the South Side proud. You make the City Proud. You make this Ward proud. I have no doubt that your futures are shiny and bright and the world is your oyster. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you will achieve. I am confident in that.

Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Mike Kelly – On behalf of the Chicago Park District and our Board of Commissioners, Congratulations. I dreamed about being both of you. I dreamed about being a Division I golfer, but it didn’t work out, and I applied for the Evans Scholarship many years ago, but didn’t get it. What you guys are doing, and what you’re going to do for all of us, makes us all proud.

Abdel Raoul: On Stage: I’ve known Tim since 4th grade. Seeing him here, and seeing everybody that came out to support us. I’m truly honored and blessed and I thank everybody.
Post-Presentation Comments Re Letter from Tiger: Tiger has been my role model on the golf course, and with the greatness he brings, it’s an honor. I’m truly grateful. Nobody told me this would happen, and with everybody showing up, I was absolutely surprised.

Tim Arrington: (On Stage) Ever since I became a caddie, THIS is what it has been for. I am going to use the Evans Scholarship to change the world, since it changed my life, I have to change other people’s lives.
(Post-Presentation) Tonight means the world to me. My mother and I have been struggling a little bit. To have this opportunity with all these people supporting me, and to have Tiger Woods noticing the progress we’ve made: That’s amazing. That’s Awesome.

Michelle Murff-Arrington (Tim’s Mother) Being a single mother, I wanted Tim to be exposed to nature, calm and God’s beautiful creation. Especially living in the inner-city, I wanted him to have an outlet and release mechanism, and what better way to have that than out on the greens.

Phillip Raoul (Abdel’s Father) It’s lots of effort by the children and us to take them to practice and tournaments, but Abdel has done the work, and we’re just there to support him. We are absolutely proud of him. You want your kids to be better than you, and he’s a very good example of that. As parents we go to tournaments, where they compete against other kids who have access to much greater facilities. We are grateful for Jackson Park as it is, but we know moving forward they need access to better facilities to play and compete at a higher level. We hope the Chicago Park District and Chicago Parks Golf Alliance can make Tiger’s vision come true. We have a younger son (Ahmad) coming up. He’s got as much game as this guy (Abdel), but they need the facilities.

Tracy Raoul (Abdel’s Mother) To the City and Park District…I would like to say to continue the effort to bring quality golf programs to this community. There are hundreds of children that can benefit the same way our family has. We need more programs, and we definitely need a great golf course so these children can thrive and do well.

Louise McCurry (Jackson Park Advisory Council President) Thank you, everyone for celebrating Abdel Raoul and Tim Arrington’s full scholarship awards. Thank you for being the positive role models for these young men and the youth in our community. This is just the beginning. It is our mission to inspire more children to scholarships, career success and positive community leadership in the next year.

The golf associations and clubs told what they are doing.

Here is th Hyde Park Heralds's take

[pic] Mike Kelly (right), Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO, poses with Tim Arrington (left), Kenwood Academy High School Senior and recipient of the Evans Scholarship at Marquette University, and Abdel Raoul (center), Mt. Carmel High School Senior and recipient of a full academic and athletic scholarship at Prairie View A&M University, as they hold letters from golfer Tiger Woods congratulating them on their athletic and academic achievements. (Marc Monaghan photo)

Contributing writer

Abdel Raoul, a senior at Mount Carmel High School, and Tim Arrington, a senior at Kenwood Academy, were honored Monday night at the Jackson Park fieldhouse for receiving full four-year college scholarships due to their golfing and academic achievements. A crowd of about 100 people celebrated them.

Arrington is the first student to earn an Evans Scholarship working at Jackson Park since 1993. He plans to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee.

“There is no greater feeling than seeing my mother overjoyed with my success,” he said in a statement. “I’m proud this scholarship eliminates the stress of tuition she wouldn’t be able to afford.”

Raoul is the recipient of an academic and golf scholarship to play as a NCAA Division 1 golfer at Prairie View A&M University, a public, historically Black institution in Prairie View, Texas. He has represented Chicago at a tournament at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course on the California Central Coast.

“The golfing opportunities, hard work, and golf courses I have played, along with the sacrifices from my parents, helped get me to where I am today,” he said.

Tiger Woods sent personalized mementos that were presented to both Arrington and Raoul on Monday.

Besides the four-year scholarship, Raoul got a $1,000 check from Andre Stephens, Sr., great-grandson of Chicago’s African-American golf pioneers Walter and Nettie George Speedy.

“Abdel represents what golf is all about, and is bringing in a new generation of golfers to represent the African American community in the game,” Stephens said. “You are free to use these resources both for your academic pursuits and your game of golf.”

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said Raoul and Arrington make it known “that our young people are active and involved in the parks — and, yes, we do play golf.”

“You make the South Side proud,” Hairston continued. “You make the city proud. You make this ward proud. I have no doubt that your futures are shiny and bright and the world is your oyster. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you will achieve. I am confident in that.”

Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly congratulated the students on behalf of his organization. “I dreamed about being both of you,” he said. “I dreamed about being a Division I golfer, but it didn’t work out, and I applied for the Evans Scholarship many years ago, but didn’t get it. What you guys are doing, and what you’re going to do for all of us, makes us all proud.”

Raoul said he has known Arrington since fourth grade. “Seeing him here, and seeing everybody that came out to support us, I’m truly honored and blessed and I thank everybody.”

“Tiger has been my role model on the golf course, and with the greatness he brings, it’s an honor,” he continued. “I’m truly grateful. Nobody told me this would happen, and with everybody showing up, I was absolutely surprised.”

Arrington said, “Ever since I became a caddie, this is what it has been for. I am going to use the Evans Scholarship to change the world, since it changed my life, I have to change other people’s lives.”

Arrington said the occasion means the world to him: “My mother and I have been struggling a little bit. To have this opportunity with all these people supporting me — and to have Tiger Woods noticing the progress we’ve made —That’s amazing. That’s awesome.”

April 27. Environmental Festival Day. Virtual tour of the OPC and presentation, discussion, and Q & A with Robert Rock of Living Habitat about the site and tree/landscape condition now and what thinking has gone into making a good soil, ecologically progressive landscape, habitat and drainage, and bird friendliness.
Followed by Screening and discussion of Leonardo DiCaprio/National Geographic film "Before the Flood Comes" (One Earth Film Festival) with Resource Fair, raffle, refreshments, brief discussion.

Report on discussion with Robert Rock of Living Habitats. From members of Southside Neighbors 4 Hope as in their newsletter of June 3 2019. This editor, Gary Ossewaarde, was also present and confirms the report is substantially correct. Facts were also checked by Mr. Rock and members of the Obama Foundation.

Even with snowy weather outside, our Earth Day conversation with landscape architect Robert Rock helped us understand how the landscape design strategy for the Obama Presidential Center is mindful of climate change, migratory birds and stormwater runoff and reuse. Rock is a Principal at Living Habitats, a Chicago landscape architectural practice comprised of landscape architects and ecologists. Their local knowledge and environmental underpinnings are an important part of the OPC landscape team, led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates of Brooklyn, New York. During our gathering we discussed the many steps the design team and the Obama Foundation are taking to ensure that the OPC will be integrated into this environmentally and historically significant site. Our discussion touched on the challenges of preserving the site as it exists today and the opportunities to both honor the heritage of the site while designing in our current era of climate change. Attendees were impressed by both the depth and thoughtfulness of the analysis that has gone into the landscape design strategy, particularly the point that the landscape is not only meant for "us" today, but rather is to last for generations of visitors and park users.

Trees: Mr. Rock answered questions about designing with the types of trees and plants that will be able to thrive as our climate changes as well as the state of the existing trees on the site. He noted that the current condition of the trees on site was assessed in an initial survey by the Bartlett Tree Experts. Nearly forty percent of the trees were determined by the arborist to be in decline or generally undesirable for a number of reasons. A separate tree and soil assessment by soil biologists and mycologist indicated that yet other trees were threatened by soil pathogens that have already damaged existing root structure. The landscape design strategy includes expanding the biodiversity of the vegetation represented on the project site (the tree survey revealed a serious lack of biodiversity as nearly half of the total number of existing trees fall into only three genera) and choosing species that can better withstand the anticipated extreme weather swings of climate change. Perhaps more importantly, the landscape design strategy will look at vegetation size and growth rates as a way of choreographing the changes in the landscape with time as a variable. The vegetation being installed now will naturally grow and compete with other plants and other forces over time as the site matures and will continually evolve as a space that our children will enjoy when they are grown and will be experienced by the generations that follow them.

Birds: We had an opportunity to discuss the migratory birds that frequent Jackson Park, and the steps that are being taken to actively design for this important park user. From the earliest stages of the design process, the landscape architects have been working closely with the building architects to identify potential hazards to birds and how to reduce the potential for bird strikes. Some strategies were highlighted by members of the group, like the potential use of “bird-safe” glass that is visible to most species of birds and helps to minimize bird strikes. Rock noted that early design conversations have also included the reduction in blind corners on the buildings, which frequently confuse birds and lead to increased bird strikes, and the proximity of vegetation to windows. [Ed. Mr. Rock also pointed out the importance of correct distance beween plantings and buildings.]

Water: Plans for the OPC include an innovative strategy for stormwater management and reuse in which large areas of the site are designed to capture the 100 year storm (over 2 million gallons) and retain it for reuse within the park. Harvested stormwater will be used as irrigation and for other grey-water reuse within the buildings. At the same time, the work done on the OPC project to harness and cleanse stormwater in this small portion of Jackson Park, will benefit adjacent spaces like the Lagoons where currently stormwater practice has allowed stormwater to drain directly from Cornell Ave adding trash, sediment, and other pollutants to the lagoon.

Soil: Soils are a critical component of any landscape as they support a healthy and vibrant landscape. The soils that exist on the site, most of which will need to be removed during construction, are layered with heritage elements both good and bad. The good being the soil and root biology that has developed over many years in tandem with the vegetation; and the bad being the spoils from the years of change, construction, roadway expansion, demolition dating back to the massive change to transform this into the site of the World’s Columbian Exposition. As yet another innovative strategy, the design team is working to harvest the heritage soil biology and preserve it during construction such that the new soils can be inoculated with this heritage soil ecosystem. Doing so will help to support the new landscape as it becomes established and will further enhance the site’s microbial diversity while aiding in carbon sequestration.

April 25. Update on drinking fountains in parks: About 350 drinking fountains will be removed from Chicago parks because of lead contamination. “About 350 will be removed and 350 will be fixed with lead service line replacements.” Those in/at the fieldhouse have been replaced and those by the Golf Driving Ranged are being replaced at the moment.

April 24. A park history and needs tour was held with State Sen. Robert Peters and persons from JPAC, golf associations, Obama Foundation, South Side Neighbors 4 Hope and persons from the CPD Golf sharing perspectives and ideas.

April 23. Louise writes: The CPD engineers came yesterday to inspect the LaRabida Wall that is badly listing and are bringing in the federal and state engineers to do a stability study and are searching for funds to fix the wall and stairs. Hooray!!!!!!
Step by Step , we are getting to our goals.

Also we had 10 volunteers yesterday for our LaRabida Clean up Work Day.

Also we had 100 folks for the Jackson Park/ - Obama Center/ - Beehive workday yesterday . 5000 native plants were planted around the Columbia Basin yesterday-- before the rains. Many thanks to Nancy Joseph for organizing the event.
And The Cherry Trees have a few buds today.

April 22, 24. A highly successful planting at Columbia Basin, but we ran out of time before TStorm-- so continues Ap 24, Wed. 12-1.
Nancy Joseph, Columbia Basin steward, writes: We held a large planting this afternoon [April 22{ with the Honeycomb Project and the Obama Foundation—more than 80 volunteers were out planting native flowers and grasses [including milkweed for butterflies]. We didn’t get them all in the ground before the thunder started and need to get them in soon.
[This was continued for east side of the Basin on April 23.]

April 20 U of C Service students and others prepare the Iowa Bldg and grounds for chess tables and events.
Louise writes: THANK YOU ! For providing your time and muscles, for providing chips and tools, and for your support as we transform a gang drug delivery site into a beautiful active park active area. (Soon to have Chess tables for Community chess games.).
Today, JPAC volunteers and the volunteers from U of C Day of Service cleaned the Iowa Picnic Shelter, re chipped and edged our 2 natural paths, mulched the trees, cleared the piles of leaves, and presented a tour of the 1893 Worlds Fair at that site and took pictures for the scores of curious visitors in front of the Peace Sculptures. Iowa was a positive community resource today.

April 17 2019 Louise McCurry reports on the Huckleberry cleanup project

Team, Thank you All:
++ HPKCC Parks Committee and JPAC for Organizing our Service Day.
+ +Lab 8th Grade Students and
++UCPD Sgt Queenola Smith and Officer Ranney. for your community service day at Very Needy -Huckleberry Park, today.
++ Thank you Farah Tunks for sending the repair team.

This is what we accomplished today:
-We presented the rich history of service of this 6201 Kimbark Playlot for the 8th Grade Volunteers.
-We cleaned the playground of all debris and broken equipment.
-We picked up trash on the walks and alley leading into the playground. Kimbark has seen intense gang activity in past few weeks so we cleaned Kimbark in front of park. Neighbors came out to thank us today.
-We re chipped under the swings,
-We removed invasive species from the gardens in front and in the fence.
-We cleared 2 full dumpsters of trash from the adjacent empty lot. It will make a great soccer field now! PLEASE.
-We developed a" Letter to the Mayor " with an action plan for making positive changes to Huckleberry.
-We committed to picking up trash and especially plastic and recycling wherever we see it.

Some one cared about this park 20 years ago. We cleared trash for a soccer field on vacant lot. We were tired after working. We got dirty. Neighbors came to help. Team let's do it again . There are 2 more Woodlawn playlots needing Community Service. Thank you ALL!
Louise McCurry, JPAC President and HPKCC Parks Chair

Louise also reported on a MAJOR SERVICE EFFORT SAT. APRIL 13 with hundreds of international students under Roosevelt University. Focus was on the shores of the lagoons/basins/beaches. Lots of plastic and other garbage, some large! collected.


Obama Presidential Center.

Mayor-elect Lightfoot
said she she will be meeting with all the sides for a best result including a CBA.

Protect Our Parks lawsuit.

June 11 2019. OPC lawsuit was decided in favor of the city and park district approval of the project. Appeal is expected. Judge Blakey said that parks are more than just Nature areas and that the statute gives the jurisdiction to the legislature and they have already ruled. Case dismissed, and construction should begin immediately.

Schedule for lawsuit

May 3 as the date for the parties to submit motions for summary judgment, each asking the Judge to rule in its favor
May 17 as the date for the responses to these motions;
May 24 for the replies to those responses; and
June 11 for a hearing on the motions.

Rulings of February 19 and 27 2019.
Press and other reports differ significantly. This is what our team (which includes lawyers) have gleaned either or both from attending and from the 21-page ruling in Federal District Court February 19, 2019. GMO. Main hearing in May.

Judge John Robert Blakey ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, but to a fast conclusion, by trial or not. This ruling was NOT on the merits of the case but on a city and park district motion to dismiss and to determine which counts the plaintiffs have standing to formally pursue, in a six-week schedule that includes disposition of discovery, motions et al, briefings, and ruling on whether the case goes to trial.
The case rests upon proving whether public trust doctrine was violated and whether due process and public input were by various means circumvented or ignored- including whether there was deception, or bait and switch, and whether the land was conveyed to a private entity, or gives disadvantageous terms to the public.
Counts 1 and 6 were dismissed; Counts 3-5 are essentially state matters, so not at issue in the motion to dismiss by local agencies and not mentioned in the ruling. Count 2 can proceed.

Count 1- dismissed. This count alleged aesthetic and environmental injuries/damages to individuals. The judge said that there is no evidence that these two persons actually used the park, so no case.
Count 2- standing was granted to proceed through the next stage This count alleges collusion, deception and other crimes and misdemeanors and lack of public process resulting in taking land, especially lakefront parkland (thus from taxpayers without just compensation) and of using taxpayer money without due process by the Illinois legislature vote and votes by city bodies including the Plan Commission and City Council. (Plaintiffs may be asked to show evidence on each point including whether the land is being privatized, whether that is permissible and properly compensated for, all the way to how hearings and public meetings do not amount to proper input or were ignored). The judge also said in a footnote regarding the road changes that plaintiffs claim that the "city is using tax payer funds for environmental remediation and road work and that is illegal," environmental remediation and road work are not illegal use of taxpayer money.
Count 6- dismissed. This count alleges that the Presidential Center advances or could be used for political
purposes, violating the plaintiffs First Amendment rights and tax law, regardless of what is said in the OPC Agreement covering uses. The judge called this “multiple levels of wild factual speculation” and said that if these issues cropped up after the Center is open, the plaintiffs could re-file.
Overall, he said that if “‘public trust’ doctrine is to have any meaning or validity at least taxpayers who are the beneficiaries of that doctrine must have the right and standing to enforce it.”

At a February 27 court date for case management and ruling on discovery and evidentiary disputes, the judge will set a 45-day period for finalizing discovery, and also set a tight six-week schedule for final briefings and ruling on whether there will be a trial. (These may be coterminous.) A main dispute for February 27 is over how much and what kinds of records and information the city and park district are required to furnish-- plaintiff's say the defendants are stonewalling with only the records of the big votes necessary while the defendants say the requests are for a fishing expedition into internal operations. The judge said previously that much of what is requested could be obtained through search engines. The judge had thrown out both sides list of information sought and asked for a joint, agreed upon list by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

There is no doubt, however, that the continuation of the case will at least result in delay, often the minimum object of lawsuits.

On February 27 the sides sparred on the topics and types of documents necessary for discovery to the plaintiff. These include all related to projected costs, environmental and traffic studies and projected financial benefits from the OPC and directed the city to appoint an official to be deposed on the same. (The judge had previously noted that material on most of the issues was already on line and could be "googled.") When pressed on exactly which documents were sought, the judge said he would micromanage the process and set March 7 for the next hearing on discovery. It became evident (see below) that most of the material sought was already provided or readily available, or doesn't exist, or is inadmissible and amounting to a fishing expedition, including thoughts and conversations of officials and staff. April 19 was set as the date for close of discovery, May 3 for filing of motions for summary dismissal by both parties, May 17 for responses to the same, May 24 for replies and May 31 for hearing on these motions.

As parsed by JPAC's team including lawyer:
There are 11 categories of evidence discovery Judge Blakey ruled on.
Discovery 1. The conversations of legislators who passed the state OPC legislation including with the Mayor.
The Judge said the legislation there was ample public record and it is illegal to question staff about subjective conversations; he would not let them ask private thoughts of every alderman and legislator. The Judge asked if city could appoint someone to read the public documents to Protect Our Parks (POP) and explain them to POP. There is a 30v6 called the limited scope request which applies to this ruling.
Discovery 2, 3, 4. Moot due to Judge's ruling last week.
Discovery 5. POP request for Traffic study costs, road changes cost, environmental site cleanup costs. City lawyers explained that every thing they had was already turned over. The Judge ordered them to check and turn over any unturned over cost estimates. And if there is nothing new, then so be it.
Discovery. 6. Financial Benefits to OPC for itself.
POP said OPC could get rich from naming rights, meetings, museum fees etc.
City said the Use Agreement gave the city control as with agreements with other Museums in the Parks, that the Use Agreement has all questions asked in discovery 6 answered and called the recitation "speculations" about potential benefits
Judge Blakey said that IF there were any documents about benefits to OPC that were not in the Use agreement, to please share with the POP. And to appoint someone to read over the Use Agreement with POP and explain it.
Discovery 7. Fair Market Value and Fair Rental Value of the OPC site. POP said the terms are actual an OPC windfall because of low rent.
City said the ownership of land goes to City and no Appraisal of the rental value exists.
The Judge said that if there is no appraisal or rental value, then city can't produce it for discovery.
Discovery 8
POP requests all Soil analysis and remediation costs. City says they have given POP all that they have. The Judge says check again and see if there any other cost reports and share them. If there are no more then city can't share more.
Discovery 9 - moot from previous week's ruling.
Discovery 10- POP says the site may be on Lake Michigan (Lakefront public trust) submerged land, says it does not trust the city Historic Map. The Judge asked POP if they have other maps. They said they have writings. The Judge said bring them all to me and I will rule on them.
Discovery 11 moot- previously ruled. Rule 56-D pertains--the Judge had denied without prejudice the previous motion to dismiss.

March 7- judge will see all documents one by one and make decision.
April 19- Discovery Closed.
May 3 - judgment on all motions
May 17- initial plaintiff and Defense replies to all motions and cross replies
May 24th -Final replies to all cross replies and motions.
May 30th -the Hearing.



March 2019. The caddie class of 12 is in full swing. The team members and our other Jackson Park caddies testify about the personal and professionalism skills and personal relations as well as sports skills they learn.

From April 2019 JPAC Newsletter. CONGRATULATIONS. Tim Arlington and Abdul Raoul, Jackson Park teen golfers and caddies, have won Western Golf Association Chick Evans 4-year full freight college scholarships. Timotheus, the most recent winner, is a Kenwood Academy senior who will attend UI Urbana with hopes of becoming a pediatrician. In the announcement sent by Brian Hogan of Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, Tim “has excelled in AP Science classes, volunteered with STEM and Robotics programs for junior high students, and traveled nationally with the Chicago Children’s Choir. His charisma provided exemplary leadership for the younger caddies, and his Evans Scholarship application essay poignantly thanked his single-mother for inspiring his college dreams.”

Hogan also informs that Jackson Park Golf Association will be planning a season kick-off event (April/May date TBA) to celebrate scholarships for both Tim and Abdel Raoul, a First Tee of Greater Chicago Participant and 3 x Chicago Park District Boys Junior Golf Champion, who will be playing Division I college golf for Prairie View A&M after graduating from Mt. Carmel in May. Hogan gives special thanks to John Kaczkowski, Tim Orbon and all of the Western Golf Association team and adds, “We look forward to the third season of the Jackson Park Caddie Program, and encourage all to join for a round with the fantastic young women and men working at the golf course this summer. “

By the way. Over a century ago.... in 1912 180,ooo rounds of golf were reported played on the two Jackson Park course, according to a post by the Society of Golf Historians 3/22/19.


MARCH 27 OUR ANNUAL PARK DRIVE-THROUGH WAS HELD FOR MAJOR REPAIRS- JPAC members Kineret Jaffe, Louise McCurry, Gary Ossewaarde, Dwight Powell, Esther Schechter, and Fran Vandervoort with Park Supervisor Bobbie Beckham. We met the team overseeing the Wooded Island controlled burn.



Minutes of the July safety picnic at the Iowa Building, including ideas for the Iowa Building, what I'm proud of from JPAC and in Jackson Park, discussion with police (accomplishments, needs, ideas), and Fundraising ideas
Thank you to work groups and and for ideas at the July 9 picnic
The Iowa building visions compiled at the July 9 meeting
Darrow Bridge still on target for 2019 start
Obama Center reviews and updates
Restaurant-Bar concession coming to 63rd St. Beach
Sprucing up Playlots
Sailing classes and Not Such Good News for our beaches
They Played for the Parks
Adaptive sports continues to expand in Jackson Park
The piano: Park pianist Thaddeus Tukes was interviewed by Chicago Tribune, and he and the kids learning on our piano are photographed by the Tribune
And Shedd Aquarium comes to Jackson
Dance performance and SummerDance, a movie and family programs at Jackson. And the story of Dance in the Parks
No Blacks at the White City?, Frederick Douglass, and the Haitian Pavilion

Team ,
Thank you all for coming to our Annual JPAC Iowa Building Picnic. Thank You for participating in our envisioning and planning exercise for revitalizing the Iowa Building & Lot. You saw the major improvements we have made this year and we ask you and your team to walk through the Iowa and lot and envision future improvements and events and activities. I will send out the list of the Iowa Building visions we compiled together. Now we need Positive Activity at the Iowa site to call attention to this resource and secure funding for restoring the roof and bathrooms. Please plan and write a permit for an activity at the Iowa Building this year. Jackson Park is Rising with our awesome combined Team of The Chicago Park District, The 5th Ward Alderwoman and her team, The JPAC Team, and the many community and U of C team members who volunteer in our many Jackson Park Projects. Thank you Spencer [Bibbs} and Jake [Young] for getting JPAC pictures, events, and project information to the social media sites. We are proud of our world changing history and looking forward to our continuing revitalization of Jackson Park. Great Parks (like Jackson) build Great Communities!
(Pictures accompanied the above letter.) Barry Rapoport (on left) JPAC member and retired Hyde Park High School teacher, who organized the Jackson Park historic plaque and boulder honoring Frederick Douglass' historic civil right's and suffrage projects at the Haitian Pavilion during the 1893 World's Fair, is describing his current project to focus more attention on the site.
Tom Snooks (on the right) Director of South Lakefront Park Security described his many successful projects improving the Jackson Park Safety and Security this year. Members of the Chicago Police 2nd District described their work in Jackson Park and answered audience questions.
5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston and 5th Ward Aldermanic Park Specialist Lanita Ross were honored for their critical roles in rebuilding and revitalizing Jackson Park with the 2018 JPAC Bertha Palmer Award.
Bertha Palmer was the brilliant and politically astute leader who brought women of every state and many nations together to establish the Women's Fair Board, Women's Building which was the site for organizing US and International women's suffrage organizations, and was the showcase for Women's Art, Music, and Literature, and the International Women's Rights Symposiums. She also created the Children's Building showcasing equality of mental and physical education of boys and girls and providing international education and daycare which enabled women to work full time jobs.
JPAC historian and secretary [Gary Ossewaarde] holding the Anniversary Cake honoring the 125th Anniversary of 1893 World's Fair in Jackson Park and the 35th Anniversary of JPAC. Cherry Theard organized a team to plan our 125th Anniversary JPAC Community Celebration.

Your combined Iowa Envisioning ideas, planning, and calendar to follow.
Louise McCurry, JPAC President

VISIONS, IDEAS AND OBSERVATIONS FOR THE IOWA BUILDING FROM THE JULY 9 MEETING given by teams (not in priority order, "several" means idea given by several attendees). A committee will be formed to organize and seek implementation of the best ideas.
Defunct fountain in the center should be made functional or repurposed, as for a garden? (several) or for an exhibit perhaps on the WCE
Gardens, plantings inside and out
The outside patio should be taken up, preferably replaced with concrete or permeable pavers(several), alt. temporarily chip. Suggestion that the patio need not be so wide on the south- low shrubs there would be nice
Toilets - make functional (alt.: signage directing to Beachhouse)-what for winter?
Roof replacement perhaps with better, long-maintenance material. And keep trees and weeds from growing inside building (alt. creative patching)
Security should be ongoing with redundant means (thanks for what has been done)—Iowa needs to stop being a dead area that seems uncomfortable (several). Have a police roll call (being requested)
Activate it with performance (incl. dance and music), art, activities, chess and coffee tables, making the middle friendly to performance, classes, gatherings, and art (several)
Concession either in the house or via truck including coffee in winter
Opening up to the east (lakefront), coordinating with Lakefront/beach/bike trail activity (several). May require trimming back vegetation on east slope.
Bike rack, or bike concession
Picnic table(s)
Keep it clean
Pedestrian access/path to 56th St. (several) (temporary coming)
Promoting for receptions etc.
Upgrade the lighting within- ask Region to inquire about solar panels, LED and self-powering

On the Table and other conversations/outreach
Make Music Together and the piano in the park
Culture and arts including music and dance increasing in the park and fieldhouse including via new fieldhouse classes, dance in the parks, Lucky Trikes kids interactive. Promoting coming to Jackson for culture as well as recreation and nature.
More nature and health programs and activities in the park- including the Shedd
Workday activities, especially large groups coming to the natural areas
History and other tours we offer to the public and to private groups
We set the standard for PACs and make ideas on many fronts work
Our hard activity in the park and advocacy over many years set the stage for those who want to do things in Jackson Park, including Obama Foundation. Buzz about Presidential Center has encouraged families to come to the park and groups/organizations to engage with us and our community
Established relationships with the University of Chicago and several other institutions, and groups like Scouts--from interns and tech work to big workday groups and tours
Wonderful beaches, recreation and other amenities
Big events especially last year at 63rd beach house
Bringing adaptive and access sports to the park
We’ve helped make a better park, and that adds many kinds of value in surrounding communities.

High- Bring showcase(s) to Jackson, such as dance (similar to South Shore) and tie with arts teachers shared with other parks such as SSCC. Fieldhouse, Iowa, other locations depending on size and draw.
Very high- Our own golf tournament
Low- Sell bottled water or treats on lakefront etc.
Middle- a soiree at one of the yacht clubs

DARROW BRIDGE see update below.


JPAC main pages on the matters, with links: (this page)

Modified 8-22-18 GMO. This page will be periodically updated online.

OBAMA CENTER. The Section 106 and other reviews of historic and environmental effects and impacts of proposed changes, and any ameliorations/mitigations that will be required in a Memorandum of Agreement for the OPC to proceed, and for the road changes to proceed, will not be completed until early next year. The final Historic Properties Inventory is still scheduled to be released this summer. Next up in late summer/early fall is a meeting (“3rd”) that includes a report on “impacts” and on preferred alternatives for lost recreational land/fields. This fall will see: the “4th” Section 106 historic properties Consulting Parties meeting (JPAC is included), the final Memorandum on that, and the environmental (NEPA) finding that will be subject of a public meeting in late 2018. The final federal finding is due in early 2019. There are varying views about how the review process should go, and the assumptions under which it operates, and involved is lots of material, staff time, thought, and likely negotiation, not to mention the volumes of comments and testimony to be sorted. Conclusions and reaction to some or all--will likely be, or viewed as subjective.

Meanwhile: (1) The city is preparing a complete, updated lease contract/ ordinance specifying the site and terms of use for OPC operation--this should go before City Council at the end of summer or early fall and is expected to factor into the lawsuit re: siting and use of park land for the OPC. (2) In response to the review and other delays, the official groundbreaking and start are now pushed back by the OPC to some time in 2019. Michael Strautmanis of the Foundation is quoted in the Tribune that they “knew there were some things that were not in our control. We insist on going through the process with integrity and without rushing.” They have pledged that no tree removal or work on their intended 19.3 acre site (which is north of 62nd St.) will happen until all reviews and approvals are received

The timelines of the city’s final ordinance and the Protect Our Parks lawsuit vs. City of Chicago and Chicago Park District before U.S. District Judge John Blakey

• January 2015 City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to enter into agreement to transfer a parcel in Jackson Park for subsequent transfer. It was not specific, for example not authorizing an agreement with a user or of course what such terms could be. Also, much including the proposed footprint changed afterwards. The state also passed an enabling amendment to the parks law.

• May 2018 a lawsuit was filed by Protect Our Parks organization.

• May 17 the Chicago Plan Commission heard and approved the OPC, road changes, a replacement track and more but did not include the specifics mentioned above.

May 22 the Zoning Committee, and May 23 City Council approved the same as the Plan Commission, the new turf track, road changes and more including preliminary (“Local Partner” declaration of what it wants to do was, inter alia, said needed for the federal reviews continuing although, but, one speculates, not necessarily to their conclusion.

• In May, the judge set a status hearing for the lawsuit for July.
City and park district filed requests stating grounds (May 30 and later) for extension to file (Rule 12(b) motions to dismiss. June 4, without dissent from the plaintiffs, the judge set July 9 for defendants filing and July 30 to file responses to motions to dismiss, August 6 for plaintiffs to respond and August 9 for a motion hearing.

• July 28 the defendants asked to push back this schedule until a complete ordinance is passed-- “after an ordinance governing significant aspects of the Obama Presidential Center’s Operation in Jackson Park is introduced to the City Council and the City Council chooses to enact it. The ordinance would provide the necessary legislative authorization for the City to enter into an agreement with the Foundation addressing how the foundation will be permitted to use the site, and would also approve the terms of the agreement, which would be attached and included into the ordinance.” They argued in effect that the lawsuit cannot be resolved until and unless there is an action- a law implementing what the lawsuit seeks to stop and that no damage will be done to the plaintiffs because no work can proceed on the site until after the ordinance and an agreement with the OP Foundation is in effect. (A complication is that work in the new track site the site would start before that redefinition of site is officially made—work has since started, see below.) July 9 the court granted defendants’ motion to strike August 9 hearing and set the status hearing (including for case management dates) as August 28, 9:45 a.m. at the Dirksen Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn, room 1203. Dates of course may change.

• August 14 – hearing on plaintiffs’ motion to delay or stop work and construction on the track site and move up hearings. (See outcome in next section on the Track and Field- holds/stays on trial and on track and field construction were lifted.)

• Status check schedule was set date for hearing next full hearing date including on each party’s motion for summary dismissal and more, is October 24. Holds and discovery continue. City Council vote on the Ordinance of Use Agreement with Obama Center is set for October 31.

• September 12 plaintiffs filed "motion to correct the record" for "material misrepresentations" regarding connections between the track and the Obama Center re: February 26 agreement on funding from the Obama Foundation for the track, and following statements. September 20 hearing was held. SEE THE UPDATE PAGE FOR LATER HAPPENINGS.

The following have been and are being updated in the update page

Track and Field south of 62nd St. The field was nearly finished, but access is blocked due to continuing litigation over the site as of March 2019. This (along with prolonged winter and soggy ground) has caused difficulties scheduling ball play and practice since the work on the replacement baseball field also was on hold.

Work was started the 4th weekend of July 2018 on a new, updated artificial track and field on the northeast corner of 63rd and Stony Island. Arrangements have been made with the sports teams that had been using the ball fields on that site—they’ve been using these all summer. The replacement track and field (but not the displaced ball fields) will be paid for by the Obama Foundation. The present track and field is presently in the OPC proposed site. The new site is proposed by the city to be not part of that site (see above). Plans were in motion (and are hard to stop without penalties and higher costs et al) before the review and approval processes were set back, so that summer break could be used to get a new track in place by fall for the teams and public to use without disruption. That exact and tight timetable had long been public. This is nevertheless irrelevant if the PD is correct that this remains their land with right of action and this is not land they intend to turn over to OPC where they said work will not start until all is resolved.) After the track and field work began and trees cut down, the plaintiffs to the lawsuit filed to stop the work. Note that this could have denied the sports teams and public their improved field and left a very visible part of the park messy and fenced.

The judge on August 14 did not grant plaintiff’s motion and lifted the temporary hold on construction and said he would see the parties back after the city passed the OPC ordinance and lease agreement and lifted the hold on the suit--the parties can move forward with discovery, subpoenas, et al including how Jackson Park became the site for OPC, for the larger lawsuit. Not addressed were arguments that damage was done by trees removal (note- many of these were dead or dying) and possible damage to historic remains or their becoming less (note- the track is mostly above ground and historic inventory so far indicates what’s underground does not have historic value sufficient of excavation).

Statement in letter to the Sun-Times by CPD Director of Planning and Construction August 16 2018.

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial’s assertion that the Chicago Park District jumped the starter’s pistol in Jackson Park disregards the public process leading to the construction of the new track and field.
The Chicago Park District held numerous public hearings over the past year to gather community input and roll out plans to relocate the Jackson Park track and field. In fact, the District held nine public meetings as part of the South Lakefront Planning Process during which the project was discussed. The Park District also attended additional meetings organized by community stakeholders to keep residents informed of the projects timeline.
During these meetings, representative restated plans to complete the track and field in time to accommodate the local schools’ fall sports schedules. At no time did the Park District representatives indicate the project would be delayed, as evidenced by the Lakefront Protection application filed in 2 January approved in May, giving the district authority to proceed. Prior to filing the application, the district also mailed notices to all property owners within 500 feet of the site.
As recently as April 11, Park Distinct representatives presented information about the Jackson P ark track and field, including a schedule to start construction this summer. Plans for the project were heard and approved by the Chicago Plan Commission and documents relating to the track and field, including a tree removal diagram were posted on the City’s website in May. Contrary to the Sun-times accusations, the Chicago Park District is not violating any federal processes, as this is a local project and is not subject to federal review.
Despite the Editorial Board’s criticism, this process is neither premature nor bad form. The Chicago Park District operated transparently and in a manner that demonstrates responsibility and respect for the community being served.

More about the track and to think about: First, this is an opportunity to get a renewed and better multi-sport field. It may not be completely ideal because the field will be wider and accommodate more sports and amenities but the site is a bit narrower creating a squeeze on layout partly to save trees around the perimeter (excepting numerous dead and dying ashes such as along Stony Island). Some replacement and new trees are in the drawings, but numerous trees in the center are lost. We should insist at the least that net lost trees be replaced promptly within the park. A possible ball field east of Cornell Drive has not been resolved yet. Another ball field needs to find a replacement site outside of Jackson Park, according to a federal review finding from the Urban Parks/National Parks Service. That will doubtless be part of the quest to assemble new parkland in Woodlawn (a suite of city-owned lots in the 64th-Kimbark area is said to be identified) that could also make up some acreage or green space lost to the OPC in Jackson Park.

In other news, the Foundation and the hired Lakeside Alliance general contractor and the hiring and training consultant firm and newly hired monitor are taking first steps in recruiting, training and developing a subcontracting and career workforce team that meet the promised high local and minority standards. Lakefront Alliance is now sited at Black United Fund of Illinois, 1750 E. 71st St. And, as reported in its just released Annual Report, the Foundation has started and participated in community, antiviolence, and civic leadership training initiatives and issued a broad commitment of promises document. Nevertheless a coalition seeks a community benefits agreement enforced by city ordinance that includes 30 percent affordable/low income set aside in new housing, a tax freeze, rent increase regulation, independent monitoring of jobs for OPC and other development, support for schools, a community investment fund, and means of addressing forces and practices, and lack of services, hurting communities.



June 16, JPAC members Louise McCurry and Gary Ossewaarde cut down the overgrowth along the fence of the 67th/Jeffrey playlot, not only making the place more inviting but allowing more light in to discourage adult loitering and illicit activity at night. Park and city police have also worked in the area to return the playlot during the day to kids- engaging and persuading many of the adults and older teens that this was not the place for them. On the week and weekends of July 4th, families were seen heavily using the playground and that at 67th and Ridgeland. More needs to be done, including renewing the wood chips in the playlots. Join us, probably July 21, 10 am.

July 7. Louise McCurry writes concerning the re chipping of Earl B. Dickerson and Chrysalis playlots at 56th Street and Stony Island and Cornell respectively. (Earl B. Dickerson was a civic, business, civic, and political leader of the African American Chicago community from the 1920s into the 70s.) In the 1970s the Hyde Park Historical Society led the move to name the original playground built by the community at 56th and Stony for Dickerson. The community also requested and participated in its recent modernization under the park district collaborative grant program (led by Maria Stone). A part of that program is commitment of communities to annual maintenance work in the playlots.

As in the Hyde Park Herald, July 11 2018 Hyde Park Herald, Louise writes:
" Thank you for the help with Dickerson Play Lot Workday. Thank You, JPAC members, community members, parents and children for helping us repair Dickerson Play Lot in Jackson Park. Thank you, Spencer Bibbs for recording our workday and live streaming it. Thank you my role models, Fran Vandervoort and Gary Ossewaarde for showing our young parents the skills for chipping their kids playlot. This was one of the new play lots that JPAC [re]designed and spread the first chips six years ago. Thank you to Christopher Watson, our positive and hardworking Eagle Scout Candidate. We admire your energy, strength and great work.
"Thank you to Michael Brown, our Chicago Park District Natural Areas Supervisor, who got the wheelbarrows, chips and forks to us. Thank you, Park District Staff members who delivered and packed up the equipment. Thank you to Cherry Theard, super JPAC member for organizing a raking plan and for bringing a spirited canine buddy (Mr. [Winston]) to [participate] in the Canine Cheering Squad. Thank you to the over 20 community members who came to help chip their kids' play lot. There were foot deep holes under the very popular and always in use play equipment, where playing kids have worn away all the chips, the dirt and ground cloth have been exposed, and the weeds were popping up through the openings between chips. JPAC monitors the lot and was proud to bring our community together to improve their play lot in Jackson Park. We shared the morning cleaning up the bottles and cups from a late night playlot liquor party.
We recruited neighbors who came to play, to help rake chips. They all want to join JPAC and help us again, and were invited to our JPAC meeting on Monday at the Iowa.
"We finished chipping Dickerson Play Lot and it looks really great, but we still need to finish Chrysalis and will be doing the other playlots."

OUR WATERS and BEACHES. By Gary Ossewaarde
SAILING CLASS practicing maneuvers, survival and rescues. This is a joint endeavor of the park district, outer harbor yacht clubs and others, encouraged by JPAC, which steered several school youth toward scholarship admission. JPAC treasurer Dwight Powell, along with vice president Anne Marie Miles (also an officer in the Jackson Park Yacht Club) and the club commodores have been especially diligent in encouraging the program locally, which grows from an endowed program. Youth must have passed the Red Cross test of swimming/ ability to float safely in order to enroll in sailing. Swimming classes occur year round at park district facilities including locally Don Nash Center and in the summer at Washington Park.

AND... NOT SO GOOD NEWS ABOUT BEACH SAFETY. Media reporting on swimming deaths and rescues reveals an apparent thinness in summer beach protection. Monitoring and concerns about various beach conditions has had the attention of JPAC since its founding.
The physical presence of lifeguards is critical both when people are in trouble in the water (including situations that need marshaling and direction of rescue personnel) and also in general to monitor conditions and beachgoers and warn or forbid entry during unsafe conditions, whether due to weather, currents, or rough-water, or for high e-coli and pathogen presence. Lifeguard hours at Chicago beaches have been seriously reduced for the past 9 years, starting as late as 11 a.m. and generally ending at 7 p.m. rather than 9 to 8:30. In response to media reports and JPAC inquiries, lifeguards at 57th St. Beach may now start at 10 a.m. rather than 11, but so far CPD is in general holding to 11 to 7. Some advocates and media say hours should run from daylight (which at midsummer can be as early as the 6 a.m. time the parks open) to dusk or at least the old time of 8:30 or to when beaches close at 9 p.m. Swimming is currently supposed to end at 7 p.m., but 5 beachgoers and swimmers are often still present (as they are in the morning well before 11. There is an online petition by Halle Quezada of Rogers Park for longer hours and other changes. Perhaps the allowable swimming season is too short given climate change.

Also, there have also been incidents at 57th St. at least when colored warning flags (“red” means no swimming even if the fine-print policy is "at one's own risk") and signage have at least temporarily disappeared, may not be seen, or the meaning is unclear. Many people do not know of or think in the moment or have internet access to check daily updates in or

The park district has changed the flag policy to leave the red “don’t swim” flags visible from when lifeguards leave until they are on duty again in the morning. Signs have been installed on the lifeguard perches saying there is swimming only when guards are on duty. More educational materials will be available including to schools. Is this sufficient? Perhaps the budget needs to be increased and or new steps taken.

Indications that the wave or underwater action may be unsafe may (but don't necessarily) include one or more paths of debris into the water, whitecaps, or sandy stirred up water. If caught in a riptide, try floating until you have caught your breath then swim parallel to the beach until you're out of the riptide. Life guards are trained well-- a regional training center is at Rainbow. This is a good opportunity for youth. Still, youth and adult education in safe use of the water is crucial.
By the way, our beaches are vulnerable. During a recent high wind, wave and current episode much of the 57th St. Beach temporarily disappeared. There has been a severe loss of natural sand transport along the shoreline necessary for beach replenishment, and we are in a high lake level phase (partly due, allegedly, to opening gates to drain also-high Lake Superior). Some other areas such as along the La Rabida peninsula and south of the park the washing away of mostly-wooden breakwaters over the years may be a contributing factor--the lake wants the land back, thank you. We have asked and the park is inquiring of the Army Corps what are the facts and what can be done at what cost. There appears also to be problems with placement of the main breakwater at the Outer Harbor-- suggested changes are in the South Lakefront Plan. We are grateful that the park district now employs a fast, closer-to-real-time assessment of unhealthy water at beaches, but the public is allowed to enter the water at its own risk and the warning mechanisms may be weak. All of these factors affect beach safety and enjoyment as well as the physical integrity of what Olmsted called our greatest asset, the lake and its shore.

And a shout out to the 57th St. lifeguards. Noted by Kenneth Newman and Gary Ossewaarde, on Sunday July 15 a bad accident on southbound Lake Shore Drive at about 5800, SE of the museum, as Newman observed, "resulted in some excellent lifesaving work by some of the 57th Street beach lifeguards, as well as those who witnessed the accident, who came across Lake Shore Drive and rendered aid to injured car passengers for quite a while, even after firefighters and ambulance crews arrived on scene... Great to see some CPD employees put their lifesaving skills to work in an extreme emergency situation."

The Chicago Parks Foundation held at Jackson Park Golf Course its annual Play for the Parks fundraiser for amenities and service and public programs in Chicago Parks. The Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the Chicago Park District. Executive Director Wilma Iglitzen Lang wants PACs and all friends of our parks to know that the Foundation's intent is to be open and equitable in sharing funds and involvement and wants to hear ideas and needs for all the parks. One of it major activities is funding and developing suites of programs such as Night Out in the Parks. CPF has helped Jackson with organizing numerous public events, especially over the past two years. When we come to them with a clear idea, they help put us in touch with promising partners, help organize, publicize, and come to cheer us on. Or they come to us with ideas. The programs and activities range from environmental awareness and cultural programs to putting us in touch with groups and organizations that want to do workdays in the park or give for the park.
July 12, 140 signed up to play golf for the Play for the Park general fundraiser and there were many corporate, union, nonprofit and individual donors including for the prizes. Especially noticed were the youth caddies-- shout out to Reggie Seay of Chicago Golf Course management, First Tee of Greater Chicago, Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, and JPAC members Dwight Powell and Fran Vandervoort for recruitment et al. JPAC members served at Play for the Parks as greeters and handed out refreshments to players at the 10th hole. It was a very pleasant way to spend a summer's day.

The Chicago Park District's adaptive sports program under leadership of Larry Labiak this year offers a two-day Dare2tri Kids Camp Para-triathlon developmental training for youth with primary physical disability or vision loss- at 63rd St. Beach July 17 and 18. Also on September 18 they will for the second year hold the citywide Adaptive Golf Tournament in Jackson Park. Volunteering at these events, such as by helping escort or transport participants is highly rewarding as JPAC members can attest. There is a large set in Chicagoland who regularly play adaptive sports; their camaraderie is infectious. Contact about becoming involved or to give suggestions on expanding the offerings.

THEY LOVE A PIANO. by Gary Ossewaarde
Our piano's lessons are very popular with the kids. Our piano was at first a bit hard to move around (needing to go inside at night or during bad weather), but park district trades eventually installed a sturdy set of wheels. Then our president Louise McCurry got the idea of taking "exposure" to the piano to another level by asking that the back be made removable. The kids just love watching the hammers strike the strings when the keys are struck. Pianos in the Parks is the inspiration of Make Music Chicago (, which is moving beyond the idea of "citizen musicians" making music around the world on the longest day. Heading the program with pianos in 5 parks this summer is Make Music Chicago's artistic director Kuang-Hao Huang. Persons of all ages are invited to play on the piano or take short free lessons, which we hope to make a regular year round program after the piano becomes a permanent fixture at the fieldhouse. This summer's teacher, jazz artist Thaddeus Tukes was interviewed by the Tribune and some of the kids involved in the programs agreed (i.e. their parents did) to have their pictures taken for the Tribune. The feature, by Savannah Eadens, appeared in the Tribune July 17. The object is to stir the imagination of kids, who no longer usually find a piano in their homes-- it's generally another forbidden big object and so it's hard to imaging themselves a piano player, especially with piano lessons these days rather expensive. To see a piano outside in a park... and themselves pounding it, or taking a sampler "lesson"- that's something--certainly a hit with the 175 kids in our summer camp. As president Louise McCurry told the Tribune, "These kids will walk away from their 10-minute lesson calling themselves a piano player." Thaddeus Tukes recalled his own exposure to the piano then to keys, piano and vibraphone education- he is now a scholar as well as inter alia playing in and forming bands, giving lessons at Kenwood Academy and St. Benedict Preparatory. He is composing a piece to perform at the upcoming Hyde Park Jazz Festival September 29 and 30 ( He thinks of this as inspiring to learn music -- not "giving back," but giving cultural access , which may well in general be an inclusionary/participatory and superior way of designing programs in the parks.

AND SHEDD AQUARIUM. By Gary Ossewaarde.
We looked forward with enthusiasm and curiosity to the visit of a 15-foot aquarium in front of the fieldhouse July 17, accompanied by experts obviously very devoted to their piscine charges and by interactives and lots of facts about the Aquarium, fish, and the Great Lakes. Families and a toddler camp from the South Side YMCA were among those enthralled, although the youngest were sometimes a bit cautious. The tank came with its own set of filters and temperature controllers for up to 48 hours in case of a breakdown. Among interesting facts is that at the Aquarium there are many times the number of fish of each species in tanks behind public viewing tanks than are on view. It rotates the individuals (partly to reduce stress on them) and is always breeding and growing young replacements. In addition to expanded visits throughout the city, the Aquarium has transformed much of its permanent exhibits this summer into a special experience of Underwater Beauty.

In addition, The Shedd and Park District Jackson Outer Harbor, with the Jackson Park Yacht Club and the sailing program, organized a set of learning boat rides July 17 and 18. The rides (space very limited) were also opened to JPAC and community members. Specialists and experts were on board leading participants in hands on activities including water testing and underwater robotics, connecting to nature and discovering the wonder of animals living in our local waters.
Here is some of what Louise McCurry saw and photographed: Aquarium scientist guides; boat builder who described building this boat; bird guides finding birds on the shoreline; looking for currents; underwater observation vehicle with camera, lights, propeller revealing lake fish, shellfish, plankton, vegetation and trash; the best operator, teen; studying the food chain by sampling with a funnel device and ID'ing via microscope and iPad
. "The Aquarium boat tour of our own Jackson Park Harbor is an exciting educational science adventure that works for both adults and children and leaves a lasting awareness of our role in maintaining our lake and water ecology. Thank You on behalf of all of us on the tour, for this wonderful Lake Michigan & Jackson Park Harbor experience today. I recommend it for everyone 9 years to 90 years."

Two SummerDance programs are scheduled July 25 and August 15 (Wednesdays, 6-9 pm) in the Music Court area south of the Museum of Science and Industry and adjacent to parking and accessed from Lake Shore Drive at 5800. In cooperation with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Dancing in the Parks lets patrons enjoy a free dance class and dance the night away in the evening's selection of genres. These are big draws from all over the city.
Also, July 28 DJs were scheduled to lead dancers and dancing under Cultural Arts (formerly Donda's House); probably in the Music Court-- check with the fieldhouse, 773 256-0903.
"THE INCREDIBLES" is scheduled for screening at the Museum of Science and Industry August 11 dusk. Sponsored by Bank of America.
THE LUCKY TRIKES brings their brand of interactive story-telling and music making August Wednesdays (14, 21, and 28, 6:15-7:15 p.m.) to the 67th Ridgeland Playlot. Bring a picnic supper for all-ages music story times. Dynamic, interactive reading of great picture books and The Lucky Trikes own stories are backed up with improvised participatory classical music and original songs. Musicians from Chicago's thriving new music and free jazz scenes join Deidre and Kyle for each performance. This event is presented as a part of Chicago's Year of Creative Youth.
FLOWERS FOR THE LIVING. August 17, 6 p.m. at 63rd St. Beach. Begun with Harold Green, his wife and an acoustic trio as a YouTube series that paired spoken worked with cover of popular love songs, it now has a roster of over 20 singers, an 8-piece band, live visual artists, and a series of quarterly live productions. The idea is to spread love throughout the community and give people their flowers while they can still smell them.

THE STORY OF DANCE IN THE PARKS. (The following draws upon a feature by Lauren Warnecke in the Chicago Tribune July 6, 2018.) Dance in the Parks is a nonprofit collaboration that evolved starting in 2004 between the Chicago Park District (under the division of Culture, Arts and Nature led by Krista Bryski-Richard) and dance organizer Katie McCann, currently director of Dance in the Parks. As recently as 10 years ago, the dance scene in Chicago was virtually dead in summer. A few years after its founding and major growth, Dance in the Parks was partnered with Night Out in the Parks (a nonprofit launched by the park district as a result of the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan developed under the city's Department of Culture and Special Events). Night Out in the Parks and its larger program umbrella Dancing in the Parks that also produces SummerDance, presents or serves as umbrella for over 2,000 events a year, including the wide-ranging series of 14 performances under Dance in the Parks. SummerDance, managed by DCASE, has now-citywide free programs of a dance lesson, live music, and social dancing in several genres. Jackson Park has two SummerDance and one specialized Dance in the Parks this year. Last year we had a three-performance participatory ballet by Chicago Dance Theater; we are working for such for next year.
Over the years, Dance in the Parks (DitP) is said to have reached over 10,000 patrons in 32 parks in 29 neighborhoods. What that statistic means is that dance, largely with a downtown and scattered North Side presence serving a specialized as well as largely elite audience, is gradually gaining exposure among new audiences including children and youth. First priorities, according to DitP is that the offerings be quality and able to engage, and also that each participating park gets the same program, and as many parks and communities as possible get them. (Included is ticket giveaways to the performing company's regular season performances.) It's my observation that the programs and the art inevitably become more innovative (even seat-of-your-pants), multimedia, and informal in the best sense-- and become participatory (shouldn't audiences have a part and say in the evolution of arts?),.This in turn can reflect back into the larger dance scene, while emerging dancers and choreographers-- and the companies--gain experience and exposure, just as is happening with music, theater, and opera thanks to their programs in our parks (indoor and outdoor) and cultural centers, and (yes) in schools. What's the giveback to the parks? The park district says its data show what we observe--active parks are safer parks where neighbors want be and to take ownership and responsibility for their park.
JPAC and the park and park district staff are highly attuned to these trends and having more of these cultural events in our and other parks-- and to removing barriers to such programs and ability of youth to access them. We are thinking together of what the right mix might be as far as types and quality of kids and adult classes, one-on public performances, and joint programs or instruction with other parks such as South Shore Cultural Center. This was a high priority expressed at recent JPAC meetings including the On the Table conversation and the July 9 picnic at and about Iowa Building potential.


Friends of the Parks (FOTP) with Hyde Park Historical Society held a panel discussion at HPHS headquarters followed by a tour July 15 on how and which African Americans and others were excluded, included, or presented at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The program was part of FOTP’s Walter Netsch Series, this year focusing on the 125th anniversary of the White City and the question of black and white in the parks and the city. The Fair's background, context and story were presented by panelists Christopher R. Reed, PhD and Professor Emeritus at Roosevelt U., author inter alia of "All the World Is Here" about Black participation in the Fair; Rebecca Graff, PhD, archaeologist at Lake Forest College who has excavated in Jackson Park and studies the material culture of cities, and Courtney S. Pierre-Cain, PhD, an expert on the Diaspora and Haitian community at Lake Forest College. Dwight Powell, PhD, Jackson Park Advisory Council treasurer gave commentary.
We learned many nuances, including the role of class, money, and social connections in decisions and participation in the Fair. Black people (a very small population in Chicago at the time) who were most satisfied were working class laborers and craftsmen who were hired and the members of the many churches and social clubs who threw welcoming parties for visiting relatives and visitors from their home towns. Least pleased were the well-educated and elite, who had little voice in Fair committees and decisions and no dedicated space to showcase black progress and achievements. But Frederick Douglass and activist and journalist Ida B. Wells and her future husband Ferdinand L. Barnett didn't just complain very eloquently about this, they also acted by using the Haitian Pavilion (the first pavilion completed and opened at the Fair with a speech by Douglass) as a welcoming and safe space for people from around the world and especially the Diaspora, and as a base from which talk and engage and distribute literature about the situation of people of color in America, especially the lynching crisis, and also African American accomplishments and progress left out of the usual narrative. Frederick Douglass had been American ambassador to Haiti in the late 1860s (charged with finding out how the U.S. could take it over!) and there developed close ties to Haitians that led to his serving as Haitian representative, including at its pavilion at the Fair. Douglass gave important addresses at the Fair and called attention importance to the world and the U.S. of the Black Haitian Revolution that led to the founding of the first modern, ex-colonial nation of Black ex-slaves. The pavilion was part of a suite of national and state pavilions in the northern sector of the Fair, large structures although dwarfed by the main buildings of the Fair.
The program concluded with a walk with a Haitian flag to the Frederick Douglass monument northwest of the 59th Inlet (Marina) bridge and underpass, with commentary by JPAC/Friends of the White City tour guide Trish Morse. Naturally, group photos with the monument were taken of the nearly 30 of us who made the walk on a hot day. The monument consists of a cut boulder with a bronze plaque. Like other boulders placed without a concrete base to spread the weight, ours at times works its way partially into the sand beneath it, sometimes resulting in the plaque taking on an off-square angle. A correction is due again.
About the Monument. About 15 years ago, Barry Rapoport, then a South Shore High School history teacher and JPAC member began having his classes visit the site of the Haitian Pavilion (northwest of the 59th Inlet Bridge, currently at the path to the 59th St. underpass of Lake Shore Drive) to dramatize Douglass at the Fair and hand out the story. He initiated and shepherded planning for an on-site monument to Douglass and the Haitian Pavilion. After much effort, the permissions were granted by the Park District, a bronze plaque was cast and attached to a granite half-boulder, the latter planted, and an impressive ceremonial dedication was held May 2009 that included a Resolution by City Council and Mayor Daley arranged by Alderman Hairston and the Haitian Consul-General of Chicago. Read about this and more about Douglass and the monument and find a link to Rapoport’s pamphlet at

Other news and developing stories August 2018 and beyond.

(Since August Newsletter, looking towards September) WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

August events included Summer Dance, Lucky Trikes storytelling at 67th Ridgeland playlot Tues through the 28th, Flowers for the Living at 63rd Beach, and coming--5th Ward Back to School Picnic at 63rd Beach, and Beach Clean and Col Expo picnic at 63rd Beach Aug. 28.

Work began on the replacement field and track, said to be on track for completion about the end of August for teams. The court in the Protect Our Parks lawsuit August 14 declined to stop the work or rule that the PD does not have full right of action over that part of the park. Gathering of info, subpoenas etc. for the larger lawsuit will proceed and be heard after the city passes an ordinance defining the site and lease/uses allowed to the OPC.

In process of being addressed: perennial flooding and other problems at the 59th underpass. Temporary wood path has been constructed inside. Pumps are on order. Ultimate objective is to put in a new floor above the water table. This may also be necessary for Marquette.

The loop of the lagoon south edge nature path-- the emergent-wetland nature path and bridge southwest of the Driving Range, remains fenced off since the Chosen Few festival. Park District is supposed to be working to get it removed.

Problems were noted by our safety committee with 63rd beachhouse doors unsecured and blown sand at playground, structural problems to 57th south end of the beach and the bike trail.
Another problem is parking on trails and grass at such places as Iowa building, 63rd beachhouse... the police do ticket and flush if called. Signage is suggested to at the least give people a warning and if necessary serve as legitimate cause for the ticketing.

To be launched if possible late summer or fall is an intergenerational program at Montgomery Place and the Iowa Building by Montgomery Place, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Changing Worlds and JPAC bringing together elder residents of MP, youth from the Jackson Park junior counselors program and other youth and possibly mothers who have lost children to violence on the theme of Courage-- to share and compare memories resulting in a product of journals, spoken and written word, music, and a performance.

Another month of piano lessons with Thaddeus Tukes was added for August for our piano at the fieldhouse- Wednesdays at 1. Lessons and usage with Bethany Pickens on July 31 was filmed. We hope for another year of lesson funding.

August 3- final day of Day Camp- games etc., Thanks to generous donations, food was provided by JPAC. Followed at 6 by the annual Showcase. Students and staff signed a lovely card thanking JPAC. The annual showcase was held at 6.

Schedule is available at the fieldhouse for Fall classes-
Preschool Decorative Arts, Textiles, Tumbling, After School, Teen Club, Basketball, Stop the Trafficking, Pickleball (free!), Fitness, Walking Club.

Another great sports day in the park August 4 - tournaments in tennis, volleyball, plus White City tour at 11 and a piano concert with our piano at 1.

August 11 [2018] saw a beach volleyball tournament at 63rd St. Beach following sunrise ceremony. JPAC, Scouts, Jackson Park Park Kids, Obama interns were among those marching in the Bud Billiken Parade.
Also, 20 scouts and parents cleared paths to the shore at La Rabida Hospital and Eagle Scout Matthew Chang led planting of sea grass at the waters edge as part of an ecology project.

Eagle Scouts and La Rabida Shore- August 11 and 12 2018

Eagle Scout projects give youth the opportunity to develop skills In nature, in community responsibility, and in developing leadership skills. JPAC is proud to work with Scouts and their families in Jackson Park. This weekend two Eagle Scout Candidates : Matthew Chang and Derek deJong , working with JPAC, led and successfully completed their Eagle Projects at LaRabida Peninsula in Jackson Park. LaRabida staff and patient families came out to cheer on the scouts as they worked.
Scouts took away the important life lesson of what a major visible, positive difference in the quality of life of our community can be made by their team's scout project.
Pre Project picture: This is the north promontory beach , near the 1893 historic wall at Jackson Park's LaRabida Peninsula before the start of Matthew Chang's Eagle Scout project Workday.
Post Project Picture-Matthew Chang's Eagle Scout Workday - people came immediately to enjoy the beauty of this natural historic beach as soon as scouts cleared the path and beach of the Invasives. The wide path enables LaRabida patients in wheelchairs and strollers, families, and staff to visit and enjoy their beach and lakefront.
The Scouts cleared the Beach path of invasives allowing LaRabida Hospital Families to bring LaRabida patients and families to enjoy the beauty and healing serenity of our lakefront.
North beach: pre clearing

PRE BEACH CLEARING AND PLANTING AT LaRabida North Promenade. Scouts removed 3 giant bags of garbage, bottles, cans, food wrappers and clothes from along the Historic 1893 Worlds Fair Wall, Scouts cleared a truck load of invasives taking over the three beach wheel chair paths..

Marram Grass has deep roots and its planting has successfully controlled the flooding at the 63rd Street Beach. Scouts added 25 Marram Grass transplants here at north promenade to hopefully control the flooding and undermining along the Historic 1893 Worlds Fair Wall and the wheelchair paths. This scout team was directed by Mathew Chang, as his Eagle Scout project working with our JPAC team.
This is the Lakefront Promenade separating the Lake waves from the LaRabida Hospital Inpatient wing. Parents pushing strollers or wheelchairs of LaRabida patients previously had the lake view totally blocked by the overgrowth of tall invasive species plants along the Promenade here. This area also has had few butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. JPAC planted Milk Weed plants here last year and we saw a few butterflies here this year. Derek de Jong's Eagle Scout Project was to add to the Milk Weed's success by clearing the invasive plants like the overpowering grape ivy off the Promenade paths so sick kids can see the lake and add Butterfly Bushes to attract more butterflies, insects and birds to create this natural habitat.
Surprising Find: the 6 foot tall rock and steel barrier that was put here to prevent lake flooding of the Hospital has now shrunk below the 2 foot steel holding wall. Will forward this photo to Park District .

Post Clearing of the invasives off the Promenade. Children and their families came out from the hospital to watch and had a family picnic here with their wheelchair and strollers at this beautiful
lake front vista cleared by the scouts.

One of the 5 butterfly bushes planted by scouts, near the milkweed to attract Butterflies and Birds to live here.

Eagle Scout Candidates are in the center of front row:
Matthew Chang (in Kelly Green Shirt) and
Derek de Jong (in Tan Scout shirt).
Boy Scout Troop 599 and their hard working parent volunteers and Scout Leader Jim Poueymirou , Assistant Scout Leaders : Jamel Brown, Adrian Govis, and Jim Sowerby and JPAC team proudly posing at site of their project at this beautiful Jackson Park vista behind LaRabida Children's Hospital at their Promenade site which they cleared of tall invasive plants and planted their 5 new bird and insect enticing butterfly bushes. Next year we will look forward to birds, butterflies and other insects making this their new habitat
to the delight of LaRabida kids and their families.

Scout Master Jim Poueymirou and Asst Scout Master Jamel Brown, part of the team who have guided these scouts to develop leadership skills and take responsibility for improving their community.

Scout team proudly surveying their completed community and lakefront ecology project.

When Scouts created safe and beautiful
Lakefront Promenade people came immediately to enjoy it.

Congratulations Troop 599 and Scout Leader Poueymirou, and Derek De Jong and Matthew Chang and all the troop members and their parents on your Community Improving Eagle Scout Projects.!!!

Celebrations of the 125th Anniversary of the Columbian Exposition are underway. Attend the White City tours from th Darrow Bridge east side Saturdays at 11.
August 28, Tuesday, 5-7 picnic at 63rd beachouse by the interactive spray/play fountain --after a 63rd St. Beach clean 3-5.
More are likely.

WHERE OUR PICTURES (and video links) LIVE.


Initial NEPA (environmental) review information meeting was held. Information, public meetings schedule, and 30 day public comment opportunities will be announced soon along with the UPARR designation finding, following stakeholder meetings, in

Bobolink Workday 2nd Sat. at 9 - meet by golf driving range lot., normwbell@gmailcom. July 13.

63rd St. Beach Natural Area Workday. 3rd Saturday 10-12 April-Oct. July 20.

Wooded Island Workday 4th Sat at 10 - . Usually meets at the south end of the Island. June 22.

White City Columbian Exposition Tours Saturdays at 11, from east end of Darrow Bridge. Resume 1st Sat in April


EVENTS- See full spring calendar (pdf page printable)
April-June 2019

June 29, Saturday, 1-3. Southside Neighbors 4 Hope holds a discussion with Ghian Freeman, new director of Emerald South Collective for Economic Development. Jackson Park Fieldhouse, June 29, Saturday, 1-3 pm. This second conversation will provide an opportunity for community residents to talk about the steps needed to ensure that the neighborhoods around the OPC will benefit from its construction and operation in Jackson Park. Foreman, who grew up in the Hyde Park – Kenwood area, has been a long-time community leader, investor and developer on the south side.
While you’re there- drop in on the 13-service-agencies state fair for resident services hosted by Sen. Robert Peters and former State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie. Same place and time, different room.

JPAC/Jackson Park Spring-Summer 2019 Calendar rev. of 6-16-2019

(Find rolling updates at Spring Calendar.pdf )

Next July 8 6:30 picnic at Iowa Building on 56th St.

63RD ST. BEACH NAT AREA 3rd Sats 10-12 (Jy 20, Au 17, S 21, O19). SO SH CULTL CTR NATURE SANCT 3rd S 10-12 WOODED I. 4TH SAT. 10-1.
Columbia Basin, TreeKeepers- Nancy Joseph

JACKSON PARK 1893 WORLD’S FAIR TOURS. SATURDAYS, 11 AM APRIL-OCTOBER. Meet at east side of Darrow Bridge (pkg lot s of MSI). Itineraries vary. Q or confirmation- Louise McCurry.

(Events are subject to change.) Except as otherwise noted, contact Louise McCurry with questions.
We need volunteers to help on the following -contact Louise McCurry,, 773 844-2225 June 21, and special-group workdays.

June 19, Wednesday, dusk. Movies in the Park. "Back to the Future II." Museum of Science and Industry front lawn. Pre-movie activities are centered around favorite and temporary exhibits. Free.

June 21, Friday, 12-6 pm. MAKE MUSIC CHICAGO. Adult, youth and children’s ensembles perform. 12:30 Music in Schools Inspg Change, 1:15 Gymnasts 158, 4:30 HP Sch of Dance, 5:30 Lyric O Chorus, 6:30 South Shore Opera soloists.At the fieldhouse.

June 22 forward. Our piano (newly tuned) in the fieldhouse is available to play 9 am-6 pm.

June 22. Saturday, 10-1. Wooded Island Workday.
And first day of availability of our Piano in the Park (after tuning)- fieldhouse outside or in lobby.

June 25, Tuesday, 1-2 pm. Tuesdays through July 30. Free short lessons on our piano with Thaddeus Tukes! Fieldhouse.

June 29, Saturday, 8 am-5 pm. Woodlawn 5K Dash starts in Jackson Park. The Food Truck and Mental Health and Antiviolence Awareness Fair is on the Midway.

June 29, Saturday, 1-3. Southside Neighbors 4 Hope holds a discussion with Ghian Freeman, new director of Emerald South Collective for Economic Development. Jackson Park Fieldhouse, June 29, Saturday, 1-3 pm. This second conversation will provide an opportunity for community residents to talk about the steps needed to ensure that the neighborhoods around the OPC will benefit from its construction and operation in Jackson Park. Foreman, who grew up in the Hyde Park – Kenwood area, has been a long-time community leader, investor and developer on the south side.

June 29, Saturday, 8:45 pm. Rescheduled JP Flashlight Tour. Meets at Golden Lady. Reg. mandatory- limit 150. Reg. at

July 8, Monday, 6:30 pm. JPAC’s annual Picnic Meeting at the Iowa Building (1750 block of 56th St. opposite Montgomery Place Retirement Community). See the new amenities.

July 11, Thursday, 11 am. Annual Play for the Parks golf tournament- fundraiser for parks by Chicago Parks Foundation. Golf Clubhouse, Richards and Hayes Drs. Register at To volunteer- Louise.

July 13, Saturday, 9 am-noon. Bobolink Meadow Workday. Meet at golf driving range lot.

July 20, Saturday, 10-noon. 63rd St. Beach Natural Area Workday.

July 27, Saturday, 10-1. Wooded Island Workday.

NIGHTS OUT IN THE PARK. Flashlight Tour rescheduled June 29 but probably full..
Movies (MSI lawn) June 19 Back to the Future II, Aug 10 Wonder Woman. May be one Aug 24 at 63rd beach.

Summer Dance (Music Court & lot se of MSI) July 24, Aug 14. Draws from all over the city!
SUMMER CAMP & session registration opened online April 23, in person April 27 for programs June 24-August 2. A variety of programs for kids, youth and adults from pickleball and ping pong to sports, weight & fitness to crafts. Low prices; scholarships are available. Info and reg. at PD website.

Go Run Chicago holds FREE TIMED RACES at 63rd St. Beach - Saturdays at 9AM- …, MAY 18, JUNE 15, JULY 20. Register at


HBCU golf association will hold an open tournament August 17.

There may also be an adaptive golf tournament in September. And part of the Senior Games is usually in Jackson Park.


October 31 2018 full City Council unanimously ratified the OPC Master and Use Agreement followig recommendtion by 2 committees).

(May 22 the City Council Zoning Committee recommended 9-1 to City Council the parts under its purview.
May 23, City Council, after a large number of pubic comments for and against in the public speaking segment ahead of the meeting, approved all 6 ordinances 47-1.
The lone dissenter at both meetings was David Moore, on grounds of public cost when there are so many unmet infrastructure and social needs in the neighborhood. The approvals included the OPC and revised permission to lease and definition of site and use, roadways, Framework Plan, and golf consolidation plan.

May 30 and 31 the General Assembly passed the state budget that includes $172 million in road, underpass and infrastructure work related to the Obama Presidential Center. The Senate vote was 56-2, the House vote 71? -14. The Governor was said to be prepared to sign. The funds are part of a $2.5B capital program. )

May 7 2018 Alderman Hairston held a ward meeting about and with the Obama Foundation and its design team, SmithGroup/JJR, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Lakeside Alliance and other contractors and training/apprenticeship vendors at South Shore Cultural Center. This came between issuance of the Community Commitment document and the meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission about these matters in her ward and provided an opportunity for full expositions, updates and questions. Among the updates were the final plan for the new Track and Field, to be funded by the Obama Foundation, located south of the OPC site and to soon go out to bid and to be done this summer. (See features.) Another change was decision to move the playground and nature playa area from the far southeast corner to a more central location closer to Stony Island between the Forum and Library building rears. The southeast corner will now be a picnic grove.
The commitment on Museum affordability (including free to low income) seemed firm although a suite of admission prices could not yet be given.
In a sign of readiness to partner, the exhibit team has moved into the Experimental Station.
Also noted (as at other recent meetings) that Cornell would remain 2-lane in each direction between 57th and 59th and safety enhancements were being sought for the unsignaled crosswalk south of 5800. In addition, signal coordination work for safety on Lake Shore Drive, Hayes Drive and connectors will start immediately.
More details were available on reconfiguration of Hayes Drive and Stony Island and the Hayes bike trails and (generously sized) underpasses. Since Hayes will be relocated at places and in some places at a distance from the bike/ped trails, it is likely more trees and shrubs will be lost.
It seemed more clear that the Midway section west of Stony Island will NOT be in the footprint.

It was also noted that Alderman Hairston played a major role in the drafting and provisions of the Community Commitment Statement. One of the questioners, Jason Malone of KOCO thanked the Foundation for putting its commitments in writing, although there is a lot to be filled in, and asked whether the specifics in the later and in the Department of Transportation presentation regarding hiring, contractors, training, and more would be presented to the Plan Commission and City Council (answer by the parties and Ald. Hairston, yes). He asked about housing and displacement provisions, and teh Ald. said some had not yet been worked out in legalese and some that the CBA Coalition asked were difficult or not possible under current laws, ordinances and regulations. She noted that the 5th Ward does not have the land for new housing with or without being at 30 percent affordable or subsidized, so CBA would have to talk with other aldermen.

Jackson Park Golf Proposal Review Committee July 2017 report, conditional endorsement of golf consolidation project. Later reports coming.
Read in pdf. Our golf page is in

South Lakefront Plan
March 21 2018. PARK PROPOSALS UPDATE Done for now, received by CPD board of Commissioners April 11.
The main outlines of proposals for the Obama Presidential Center (OBC), roadways, as well as for a revised South Lakefront Plan seem to pretty well set in the general form they are expected to be reviewed by the Chicago Plan Commission (in themselves and under the light of the Lake Michigan and Lakefront Protection Ordinance) in April. But changes could be inaugurated then. (Golf itself is not in that process or as yet under Section 106 federal review). Further changes could come the Section 106 reviews continue through at least late in the year. Meanwhile, all these processes continue to accept public input (for the Lakefront Plan through at least March 28) as well as engineering tweaks. A meeting for Section 106 on March 29 wil take place March 29, Thursday, 3:30-5P30 adt Logan Center, 915 E. 60th St.. We encourage all to go the various sites (see front page) and take a good look and give your views on both the general questions and on specifics.

Section 106 Environmental and Historical Review- see in our page for findings, background.
March 29, occurred- Section 106 Environmental and Historical Resources Impact Federal Review Meeting 2.
The (237 page) report is at Send comments to
)- see in our page for findings, background.
The reports are at Send comments to
The actual urls of the Historic Inventory, Appendices, and Archeology reports are
And now up is a Tutorial on the Highway 4(f) review. More reports will appear from the tinyurl website.
30-day public comment period ends April 19. The Effects assessment and possible recommended mitigations phase starts with meeting in May. Summaries of findings and background will be in our page,

For updates on the OPC, including May 2018 report on letter of intent for the CPL branch, visit

Golf. At its February 13, meeting, JPAC voted to encourage continued planning for a consolidation and that we would continue to evaluate. We have expressed expectations and concerns with regard to access by the general golfing and non-golfing public in a public golf course, safety, training and opportunities for youth, preservation and enhancement of nature and environment. At a meeting held under the South Lakefront Plan umbrella January 31, certain changes were offered including 1. Reorientation of many of the fairways, especially south of Marquette to improve safety and circulation; 2. Movement of the clubhouse to NE of Jeffery and Marquette to avoid congestion near Cornell/Hayes and make 9-hole play more feasible, 3. Expansion of naturalized landscape spaces.
Other matters remain in discussion or examination including the Nature Sanctuary at South Shore Cultural Center and golf and public trail configuration there. We understand there is not likely to be significant change in upcoming months. PD managers say it is still just a concept - when/if it is a go, then review processes may well kick in. Conversations facilitated by the Aldermen's office including with South Shore PAC golf committee are still in progress regarding possible revisions for the nature areas and safety. A joint golf committee for SS and Jackson said it believes consolidated golf can coexist with the nature sanctuary and new nature areas and expressed satisfaction with proposals for the golf driving range that will protect and increase Bobolink Meadow.

Replacement artificial turf track and field. The park district wants to get the new facility completed before any other work starts, especially on the OPC site in late 2018 or 2019 so that the high school teams and other users will not lose even part of a season’s track use. February 27 the Obama Foundation agreed to pay $3.5 toward the replacement. The Park District came to the JPAC March 12 meeting and to others ahead of rollout of the consolidated South Lakefront Plan the following two days. Although there remain details and concerns from coaches from varied perspectives to be decided and questions about proceeding, JPAC voted at its meeting to give its general support. See details in the minutes. The schematic is in the southlakefrontplan site.
From the March 12 2018 minutes:
New Track and Field. Chicago Park District presentation and discussion of plan for a replacement artificial track and field in the 6200 block of S. Stony Island Avenue. Nichole Sheehan, project manager in the CPD Department of Planning presented the plan to JPAC ahead of introduction and comment opportunity, as part of the consolidated South Lakefront Plan draft, at public meetings March 13 and 14 at South Shore Cultural Center. She said it is essential to the teams using the present track to have the replacement ready before work might start on the Obama Center in early 2019 that would cause closure of the present track.
Sheehan expressed regret that she needed to present and leave before one or more members had yet arrived who had deep experience with tracks and team needs and had emailed many concerns. She would nevertheless include in her presentation responses to the concerns.
The track, comparable to that at Wilson Park, will be 400 meters and have 8 lanes. A 100-m reversible sprint lane will be located north to south. The field will be wider than that of the present track to the north to accommodate regulation lacrosse, soccer, and football. The new track will have a wider curve, for speed. The high jump is at the south end as is a turf warm up area. (In answer to question, CPD does not provide pole vault in outdoor facilities, Gately being the exception.)The entire facility will be ADA- accessible. Concrete pads on the Stony Island side will accommodate bleachers seating up to 500. There will be a scoreboard and lighting similar to the present on 4 standards that may be retrofitted with LED. 20/22 trees will have to be removed, but the shape and facilities, including location of the (reversible) long jump inside the track are designed to avoid cutting more trees. This plan, which they hope can be completely paid for with the $3.5 committed by the Obama Foundation, does not include restoration or upgrade of the washroom comfort station to the north. Alternate year round washrooms are at the fieldhouse. There will be full inside electricity inside the track. Storage bins will be provided, There will be a plaque honoring gifts for the present tracks by the Bears/National Football League and by Take the Field.
Sheehan said she would be delighted if JPAC would support the concept and send a letter of support. Along with the South Lakefront Plan, into which the track will be integrated, the plan will go before the Chicago Park District Board at its April meeting and then the Chicago Plan Commission. Bids will be taken thereafter and the work will be done in summer and fall.
Members strongly urged that the comfort station be brought up to standard before the new field opens.
Margaret Schmid asserted the plan cannot be implemented at present because the site is currently part of the Obama Center footprint, not under control of the Park District, and that the Obama Center and Lakefront Plan remain subject to approvals including the Section 106 federal review that will not be complete until late in this year. Al DeBonnett contested various of these conclusions.

South Lakefront Plan. April 11 2018 the South Lakefront Plan was presented to the CPD Board of Directors and received. (It does not need Plan Commission approval and will be finalized after the projects review process) Emphasized were it reactivation of the "bleu" spaces including new water connections and management, addition of shoreline- mostly natural, strengthening of nature and recreation components, and respect for history and legacy. Public comments were mostly favorable with caveats that funding for very little has yet been identified outside OPC and the track (baseball field replacement will be done). Most comments were on the golf proposal- some very strong pro and con, and the SPAC supporting but wanting a conversation on course alignment and the nature sanctuary. Approval of the plan is for later as federal and local review of major projects are still in progress. At a One Woodlawn stakeholder's meeting April 30, footprint for a possible new fieldhouse was shared.
New parkland and recreation in Woodlawn are being identified and there will be a planning process for there and the Midway starting in summer.

Roads. At a One Woodlawn stakeholders meeting April 30 2018, Commissioner Seinfeld reported on tweaks and showed new graphics for the road and trails proposals. Notable: Cornell: the section north of 59th will continue to be a 4-lane road, and they are still tweaking safety measures for the part of Cornell that will continue north of 59th St. including for the unsignaled crossing at 58th. (Suggested was a traffic island in Cornell at the 57th St. south side crosswalk.). The underpasses, which continue to be refined, will be wide and with clear views and linking directly to the cross-park trails. Shown were examples of those for Hayes Drive. Traffic islands are envisioned at intersections. More details were shown for changes to Stony Island Avenue including where there will be parking. There will be 756 more, strategically located, parking spaces in the park (currently there are 1,605), some free and some pay. Larger new parking sites are by the inner harbor, (reconfigured at) La Rabida and JP Yacht Club, the golf driving range, and (if golf is approved) shared with golf at the new clubhouse on Jeffery Dr. For all of these intent is not to reduce net green space.

March 21, 2018. The consolidated version was rolled out March 13 and 14 with presentation and boards at the South Shore Cultural Center. A chief aim of the plan is to update the 1999 plan in support of the Obama Center (and golf consolidation) by showing these two interacting with the whole park, and is in turn the stated reason why federal review is required as well as to show the Plan Commission how the proposals fit into a whole park. (No changes for OPC or golf or the roads beyond what was shown in January are in the draft.) The other purpose of the revised SLP is to garner public and stakeholder input and conduct an engineering and design process for the next decade or so of the park. Many have taken advantage of the planning to stress their specific ideas, priorities or vision, or support or opposition to the OPC, golf or road proposals, and to consider various specific changes for elsewhere in the park-- which ones would benefit the park and its users while keeping true to legacy, or not.
In the presentation on March 13, SmithGroup/JJR landscape architect Gregg Calpino said the key is “striking a balance” for the park between the perspectives of the highly varied park user, stakeholder, appreciator groups- community members, as well as design experts and park district staff. “This is a vision, not to be achieved in a day or a year. It’s a guide, an ongoing effort. Some plans will continue to evolve.” The key goals are to 5
serve communities and visitors, steward environmental integrity, and “renew and maintain park legacy.” Highly important, he said is keeping and enhancing the park’s unstructured, multi-purpose spaces. Playing fields will clustered along Hayes Drive, especially between the inner harbor and the lagoon, many shared.
Also, the park’s water-based history and character will be enhanced, including both water activity and water quality/management (reversing the practice of using the lagoons and harbors as a wastewater dump).
Cumulatively there are many changes, but in the non-project parts of the park not wholesale.
New things include The new field and track (coming first), historic structure restoration, new fieldhouse, a dog park at convenient access and parking, more picnic areas including on expanded and protective naturalized lakeshore with new amenities, harbor improvements, new fields for today’s sports and a multiuse field south of an updated golf driving range, more Bobolink Meadow, reconstruction of a lost part of Olmsted’s lagoon connections, more washrooms, more efficient (and, yes more) parking, fixing and modernizing the mixed trails and walks, nature walks, and a children’s spray pool. (There will be no concert venue or pavilion other than what might be part of the OPC.) Funding for this except the Track and Field is not included!

Track and field. The new track was nearly completed whent the PD backed off in light of the lawsuit. This and accompanying inability to prepare a replacement ballfield, and soggy conditions, has created difficulites for scheduling ball training and play.

See Obama site revisions in the Presidential Center page. The Park District was able to file for a replacement new track and field on land the Foundation will not be using (because in the OPC Plan Commission filing of January 10 the site is 59th 62nd, not 60th-63rd). The Park District committed to the replacement from the beginning, and was asked for it by JPAC and many others from the beginning as a precondition. There are still alternatives for the t & f design (including which sports in the center) in the scenarios for a new South Lakefront Plan.
The Obama Foundation agreed in late February to contribute $3.5 for the track. Concept plan was presented at the JPAC March 12 2018 meeting, which approved by resolution and sent a letter of support. The plan was rolled out at the March 13 ad 14 South Lakefront Plan open houses- further changes are possible. this goes next tot he PD board of commissioners and the Plan Commission April 19.
The park district wants to get the new facility completed before any other work starts, especially on the OPC site in late 2018 or 2019 so that the high school teams and other users will not lose even part of a season’s track use. February 27 the Obama Foundation agreed to pay $3.5 toward the replacement. The Park District came to the JPAC March 12 meeting and to others ahead of rollout of the consolidated South Lakefront Pan the following two days. Although there remain details and concerns from coaches from varied perspectives to be decided and questions about proceeding, JPAC voted at its meeting to give its general support. See details in the minutes. The schematic is in the southlakefrontplan site.

Obama Presidential Center. March 21. Two very different vetting's were held, one by the Foundation Feb. 27, and a symposium March 7 at U of C where speakers and citizens alike set forth and challenged very different perspectives and information.
Meanwhile, reaching out to potential builders, vendors, and workers has begun with fairs and “Meet Lakeside Alliance” open houses.
Closing of Cornell Drive remains a contentious issue. A widely proposed solution of reducing to one lane maybe with some physical narrowing with a trail on the side seems to this writer problematic—it keeps heavy traffic, air and noise pollution and runoff into the lagoons—next to the natural area, and keeps the park cut into sections while not giving substantially better and peaceful circulation and expansion of nature and landscape. This writer also wonders why Cornell must carry traffic to be in keeping with Olmsted’s design while the trail across the Darrow bridge (as generally agreed at open meetings)) should not although in the past it did carry traffic.
My Brother’s Keeper and the Obama Foundation, of which MBK is a part), have appeal or applications for grants to organizations mentoring youth, promoting violence reduction, and youth service and training. Also available are college scholarships for a large new academic division in the U of C Harris School.

Darrow (Columbia) Bridge to be restored, timetable revealed. To more

March 2019. JPAC has learned from CDOT that the governor's office (and related state agencies) last year rejected the plan and stalled permits (so construction funding is either not released or in part or whole not available). We are attempting to find out the reasons and to seek possible intervention from elected officials. So it is still in "planning" phase and the bridge cannot be done before 2021.

April 2019. The following information was provided by State Rep. Curtis Tarver (25th) Office:

"It has taken longer than they anticipated working through the historic/environmental coordination and approvals of the engineering study (which is Phase I). Currently, they are getting final approval of the study to move onto Phase II. Construction will start after the design (Phase II) is completed, which they now anticipate will be the end of 2020 or early 2021."

March 21, 2018 Darrow Bridge. The Chicago Plan Commission and Illinois preservation agency assumed oversight of the process for redesign of the bridge since the bridge is protected under the Museum’s landmark designation. There will be no sale (which elicited no bidders anyway). At a decision meeting with CDOT March 6, the decisions included: the deck (not original) will be entirely replaced, using existing railings et al to extent possible. Replacement abutments will be of concrete faced with as much of the original stone as possible. A move to stipulate the bridge will be without traffic in perpetuity was not adopted. Work should start next year.

February 9, 2018
. By Louise McCurry. I called Luis Benitez , CDOT Bridge chief engineer who has been working with us on Darrow Bridge restoration since 2011. I asked him to discuss the facts vs recent rumor about the Darrow Bridge restoration being stopped by other groups.

The Facts: The Bridge restoration is on schedule. The usable historic structural stones and any reusable decorative railing will be reused if possible to preserve the historic character. No one has bought the Bridge. The money to restore it is already in place [Mar 2019-for phase I, planning-- construction needs clarification]). Luis and staff is continuing to present plans, and listen to any suggestions from the multiple community meetings. The state historic 106 process is going forward and may slightly delay construction as they complete the historic structures study.

Darrow Bridge "sale offer" under required offer of left over materials- will be reconstructed.
December 13, 2017.
Darrow Bridge offered “for sale,” per law when a replication not reconstruction…
The bad news is CDOT has determined that little if any of the currently-closed historic Columbia (aka Clarence Darrow Memorial) bridge is in condition to be reused—in which case the old must be offered to a party that might reconstruct it elsewhere under strict conditions. Up to 95% of the stones are assessed fractured or otherwise unsalvageable and metal is rusted. We expect to hear more on the basis and evidence for the determination that the new bridge needs to be a structure of new material (a “replication” rather than one of the higher legal “solutions”- reconstruction, repair, or rehabilitation.) A guess is that CDOT considers there is not enough usable material, and mixing to be too costly and/or structurally dubious. Certainly, we hope, at least that some of the visible, very historic ornamentals such as some railings can be incorporated.

The bridge is historic under National Register standards and is a state bridge. The whole park was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and also became a Chicago Landmark as part of the Museum of Science and Industry designation. It was first built in 1880 by Burnham and Root as East (or North Pond) bridge, underwent at least two major reconstructions and expansions for and shortly after the World’s Fair, and was twice repaired in the 20th century. In 1957 it gained the further cachet of being named the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge. Qualifying features include its unique balustrades and its truss style typical of bridges placed throughout the Columbian Exposition but later demolished or replaced.

It is also a key connector across the park, and the paths all the way between Stony Island and the Lakefront are considered part of this project. Olmsted twice incorporated it into his plans of curving pathways, in this case then intended to carry light touring traffic in an oval defining the north sector of the park. Its vistas, as Olmsted intended, are among the most stunning in the park. And Clarence Darrow, a community and national figure and intimately associated with the bridge, adds great luster and is the occasion for a major annual gathering at the bridge (where his ashes were scattered) on the anniversary of his death March 13, 1938.

The replacement must be historically true in accord with the National Environment Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Under guidelines of the Department of Interior and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency there are four levels of repairs and reconstructions- in this case it would be a “replication,” meaning most or all the material is new but must be in accord with the old. Beyond the question of necessity for a completely new structure, is how much and in what ways it must be like the old. This is being wrestled by designers and in the series of public meetings already started. The new bridge will be just for pedestrians and bicyclists, and in any case railings et al have to be up to modern safety codes. Often, new materials are less costly or lighter, or the original materials (including stones from an original quarry) are not available. Another particular consideration here is public access to the underside of the bridge—in the various early versions it was sometimes open below, and again after the reconstruction of Columbia Basin edge c. 2004. But at other times the lower level was sloped and blocked, inadvertently preventing exploration and fishing but also preventing setting destructive heating and cooking fires. The bridge has already undergone extensive documentation including boring and tectonics and initial design options.

If not to be reused, the bridge must be publicly offered as a whole to anyone who can show in a proposal by 4 p.m. February 28 that they can finance and document the move and reconstruction of the entire structure and maintain and use it as spelled out under the Act. If no party steps forward and is accepted, parts of the dismantled bridge can be given to members of the public to use for educational purposes, not for resale.

When the bridge was closed as unsafe in 2015, JPAC led a drive to ensure its reconstruction. After fits and starts, approval and a $5 million grant was obtained through CMAP (Metropolitan Agency for Planning). Applications to replace the bridge have not yet been filed. Ongoing approvals are needed from the IHPA and other agencies, as well as public comment and integration into the Framework. Construction- 2019?

August 22 2017, CDOT discussed, sought public input at the fieldhouse on initial concept plans to restore Darrow Bridge. Plan concepts include clear bike-pedestrian paths from Stony Island eastward around the Music Court to the Lake Shore Drive underpasses. With funding (c. $6M) secured, work now concentrates on design, approvals and on the construction in 2019. Planning is currently in phase 1- engineering, environmental studies, structure evaluation, and public meetings leading to the project report. Historic ornaments will be reinstalled or replicated with some compromises as per ADA, safety and other modern standards.
JPAC led the calls for the bridge’s restoration via petitions and letters from community organizations, individuals, and elected officials (and lots of emails and phone calls). Support and approvals from many agencies (local, state, and federal, including historic oversight) as well as assemblage of funding (mostly federal) were required for this state-owned bridge. Frankly, it was not high priority since it is not an auto roadway, and being historic, it is expensive to fix, involving taking it completely apart including the abutments. We were repeatedly told that a temporary bridge would be nearly as expensive and as hard to get approval for (let alone, where would be room?). Initial grant applications were denied. Possibly, embarrassment at the situation in light of park selection for the Obama Center moved the project along. Meanwhile there has been and continues to be a fundamental disruption to park circulation creating great inconvenience for many.
Input included providing security by closing off access under the bridge to prevent fires being set. (The bridge is difficult to light and monitor. There was access under the bridge during the Columbian Expo and restored about 2002.) Among other things asked was park signage in the vicinity. Abutments date from a narrower 1880s bridge with fancier railings, across a neck between the “North Pond” and lagoons to the south. A new bridge was built for the Columbian Exposition, and a wider bridge retaining Expo decoration was building 1895. Restorations were done in 1942 and 1961. It once served traffic around the whole Museum- blocked in 1995.
Visit in Facebook CDOT News, email 312 744-3600.

February 13 2018 JPAC resolution on golf reconstruction process.
Old Business. Golf discussion. JPAC member Al DeBonnett proposed a resolution regarding the Chicago Park District's proceeding with restoration of the Jackson Park Golf Course after Margaret Schmidt asked for clarification of JPAC's position on support for Jackson Park Golf Course restoration a number of times during the meeting. A quorum of members entitled to vote was present. Requirement of notice was then stated by Margaret Schmidt. Al DeBonnett moved to waive notice for vote on the proposal, in order to tender a vote during the February 13, 2018 meeting, The motion for waiver of notice was seconded. With limited 2 discussion a vote was then taken, whereby a majority of JPAC members present voted in favor of waiving notice.
JPAC member Al DeBonnett then moved for JPAC members present to take a vote on the resolution. The motion was seconded and discussion proceeded. Norm Bell, Jerry Levy, Margaret Schmidt and Al DeBonnett were recognized during the discussion period and all other members had ample opportunity to discuss the motion.
After the discussion period concluded, the motion was stated and a vote was taken, whereby 12, a majority of qualified JPAC members present, voted in favor of the resolution, with the exception of 2 votes against said motion and two stated abstentions.
“JPAC supports the process for reconstruction, upgrade and consolidation of the JP and SSCC golf courses and proposed infrastructure changes indicated for the projects and desired for the community and will continue to evaluate any proposals for the golf course and make a final determination after discussions with the proposing parties and a plan is firmed up.”

DECEMBER 7 AND 11, - SOUTH lAKEFRONT PLAN PUBLIC MEETING PRESENTED 3 OPTIONS FOR THE PARK. . Golf revised pan was presented January 31. Next for SLF mid or late March.


Section 106 review. A governmental Task Force has been formed to Review historical, archaeological, and environmental resources and impacts of the proposals. At this stage the meetings are invite. JPAC is a Consulting Party. Information, report, comment portal: Visit

LINKS TO PARK DISTRICT ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED TO SUPT KELLY AT THE JAN. 9 2017 JPAC MEETING (and in the future at the January 24 ward meeting) and to SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS are in the Park District website ( homepage (updates) or go to News and Events and find them in the Jackson Park or South Shore Cultural Center park pages.
Oral questions and answers from the January 9 JPAC meeting will be in the February Newsletter.

Page contents below.

INDEX TO NEWSLETTERS from 2006 to date
(The most recent online newsletter is updated until the next one goes online)






MAY 2019 NL

Minutes and Resolutions (through April 2019)
To page on the Golf proposal
To Project 120 information including links to MOU et al (in this page).
Project 120 page
by itself, updated
Skylanding page.
To GLFER/Army Corps project (in this page. in its own page.) (here an update)
Obama Library page- full background and updates with links. mid 2018 forward update page
You can sign up for notices and info from the Foundation at and visit or
Section 106 review for OPC

Our official website is Calendar
JPAC'S lively FACEBOOK PAGE with new pics- (please like us)

NOW AVAILABLE! OUR MOBILE APP TOUR- at home or in the park including 8 locales.-
JACKSON PARK IN YOUR POCKET. Downloadable for free at Or go to our website.


JPAC regular Monday January 14, 7 pm at the fieldhouse.

Come help the fieldhouse kids celebrate the holidays Friday, December 21, 4:30 pm.

Section 106 Environmental and Historical Review- see in our page for findings, background.
March 29, Occurred- webinar link is in the tiny url site.
The reports are at Send comments to
The urls of the Historic Inventory, Appendices, and Archeology reports are
And new ones including a Tutorial on the Highway 4(f) review process.
Next meeting is in May on Effects and recommendations for mitigation.
A 30-day public comment period closes April 19.

Summaries of findings and background is in our page,

Enviromental Review- first meeting was Sept. 17, expect more.


. See above. The Park District team is looking with great seriousness at the many public comments. Comments in full and summary formats should be posted on the sites below by the 4th week of July.

Surveys and posting walls are available at and See also project links on page 1 and Friends of the Parks list of media reports and opinion- from

In addition. the Obama Foundation wishes circulated far and wide its Request for Proposals for a General Contractor-

Thanks to Chicago Cares, One Block-One City and others and JPAC volunteers- August 19 100 folks cleaned up in Jackson Park, including 63rd st. Beach.

Full list of events for September and October visit Schedule (


The city real estate and transportation committees have aproved the proposed OPC ordiance. (Widening of Lake Shore Drive still needs to go to committee.) City Council is expected to vote on the OPC related ordinaces Oct. 31.
The lawsuit is continued to December 5 when a tria date wil be set if not either dismised or deciced on th bench. the judge promises teh case will not be allowed to linger.

See Darrow Bridge. Stalled in Springfield.

From the January 2018 JPAC Newsletter:
The big projects and topical planning
Additional broad public meetings have not been set as of this date. Although it is frustrating to be looking at separate tracks of project, subject and large footprint planning, there is an advantage to close focus on the parts that will have to be integrated.

Section 106 historical and environmental assessments are an open-ended process and will take many months of research and meetings with stakeholder and focus groups before ready for public meetings. An observation: the proposed inventory of historic structures and land features has everything (but missing a few features?) over 50 years old without priorities. Take a look at
(From December minutes:) Section 106/Framework.... [President] McCurry reported some highlights of the Section 106 Historic Review and the 3 scenarios presented in the latest South Lakefront Plan meetings, for example varying degrees of shoreline protections and additional parkland by harbors and LaRabida and various scenarios for coordinated moving or concentrations of recreational facilities and a new dog park. Sharon Lewis, Transportation/Connectivity chair, said she was excited about commitment to rebuild and add paths in all the scenarios.

South Framework Plan reassessment set forth 3 scenarios that are now in public comment and stakeholder focus meetings. Public meetings will resume later in the winter. Visit the plans and leave your comments at It would help us at JPAC to see them also- Basically, the scenarios cluster or scatter park activities (that aren’t major fixed or historic features) so they are more rational or convenient to users and reinforce one or several of the major characteristics of the park from Olmsted forward. One can vote, or pick and choose items, or offer other ideas. This is a big and complex park, so a lot of thought will be needed.

JPAC introduced, at behest of community residents, at the December 13 2017 CPD board meeting a resolution and petition to name the former Coast Guard rescue station for Jesse Madison, pivotal Executive Vice President of the Chicago Park District under Mayor Washington an impetus behind restoration of the station and many harbor improvements. The Board was very receptive. After plan et al research by the Park District, a presentation on the naming will be made at the next Board meeting, after which the Board may establish a 45 day public comment period.

We are pleased to announce that Wooded Island has been open permanently for all visitors since Oct. 22nd 2016. In November, 2017, fences, except around the staging areas (and of course Darrow Bridge) have been removed.
Jake Young, assoc. steward and JPAC IT, wrote the following November 7 2017
[See this in our Facebook page: JacksonParkAdvisoryCouncil/ posts/1697018876975373]
Gary Ossewaarde

For those of you who haven't ventured over to Jackson Park in the past week, I'm happy to report the majority of the fences have come down! This allows access to new paths and overlooks just east of Cornell and on the north/south sides of the lagoons. There's still some fencing around the staging area in the SW corner of the park, as this project is ongoing through Fall 2019.

While there has been a lot of discussion regarding Jackson Park recently, there hasn't been much talk about the nearly $8 million project focused solely on ecological restoration. The Water Resources Development Act authorized this federal project through Section 506, the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program (GLFER). It's a 5 year capital improvement project to promote wildlife habitat within the park through a historically-based landscape preservation plan.

The project partners include the Chicago Park District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Project 120 Chicago. Additionally, leading Olmsted experts at Heritage Landscapes worked on the site designs, while Applied Ecological Services worked on the construction. Lauren Umek, the CPD Project Manager, has done an amazing job coordinating all of the moving parts of this complex project.

The current project scope covers nearly 83 acres of natural areas: the enhancement of 58 acres at Wooded Island and the lagoons and addition of 24 acres of new natural areas surrounding the island, near the Statue of the Republic, and along the west side of Lake Shore Drive.

The ecosystem improvements include the installation of over 180 trees, 11,000 shrubs, and over 600,000 native plants, that include more than 300 different species of trees, shrubs, ferns, vines, grasses, and flowering plants that will increase the biological diversity of the park and provide critical habitat and beautiful scenery for park visitors.

To improve access and circulation throughout the park the following has been installed: 9 overlooks along the water’s edge, nearly 8,000 linear feet (lf) of new, crushed stone pathways, and the reconstruction of almost 4,000 lf of existing pathways on Wooded Island.

There are still many plants to install, so staying on the paths and respecting people working on site remains important. Everyone now has the opportunity to enjoy the space while improvements continue to be made.

On a different note, I'd like to thank JPAC President Louise McCurry for being a tireless park advocate, who, among other things, has been responsible for overseeing 1000's of volunteer hours in Jackson Park this year alone. And, thank you to Jerry Levy for his continued stewardship of wonderful Wooded Island, and to Norm Bell/Gail Parry for their ongoing stewardship efforts at beautiful Bobolink Meadow.

In addition to having these wonderful natural areas to enjoy, we're beyond lucky to have such passionate people volunteering their time to nurture them. Good neighbors indeed!

Jake / JPAC

PS - If you're interested in seeing a few photos of the new paths and current conditions, I've shared some at the following link.

January 2018 the Blackstone Branch Library offered JPAC the opportunity to examine George Cooley's 1978 book and plan on the Japanese Garden and a proposal for rebuilding the Ho-o-den. This can be examined at

DID YOU KNOW...about the Bobolink Meadow. Norm and Gail write...July 2017

Over the past couple of years Bobolink Meadow has received positive attention from at least 2 prestigious conservation organizations. Last Fall we had a special workday for members of The Nature Conservancy board of directors, and this Spring The Nature Conservancy sent a documentary film crew from Washington D.C. to Bobolink and other sites to film for a documentary they are preparing on volunteerism in nature areas. In 2013 the Bobolink Meadow received the prestigious Chicago Wilderness award for Restoration and Native Landscaping.

There is now (July 2017 some concern that the Meadow and woods could be affected by plans to expand the driving range. WE HAVE BEEN ASSURED THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Read more. IT DOES APPEAR THE INFORMAL DOG AREA WILL BE REMOVED OR MOVED FOR THIS PROJECT.


The Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago today announced that they will begin to hold community meetings to discuss the future of Jackson and South Shore Parks in light of the addition of the Obama Presidential Center and related park improvements.

“The upcoming addition of the Obama Presidential Center and plans to enhance the golf courses at South Shore and Jackson Park provide a unique opportunity for community and city residents to help shape the future of the South Lakefront and surrounding communities,” said Michael Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “Residents will be a critical part of this process, and we look forward to receiving valuable input.”

The meetings, billed as Community Conversations on the future of Jackson & South Shore Parks, will be hosted by the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago and will include brief presentations from the Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Obama Foundation. However, the main purpose of the meetings will be to obtain community feedback about the future of Jackson and South Shore Parks.

The meetings will kick off a framework planning process for a new South Lakefront Framework, an updated version of the 1999 framework plan encompassing Jackson Park, Washington Park and South Shore Cultural Center. Given the addition of the Obama Presidential Center and related park improvements, the framework will first focus on changes to Jackson and South Shore Parks, with a discussion about Washington Park to be held at a later date. The original South Lakefront Framework Plan, authorized in 1999, was intended to define the changing needs of the parks, provide a plan to enhance each of the park’s commitments to serving the neighboring communities and to preserve the intended historic character. These plans served as guides to future improvements within the park; many of these improvements have been completed, including ecosystem restoration and cultural landscape preservation of Wooded Island in Jackson Park, interior and exterior renovations to South Shore Cultural Center in keeping with its historic character, and new neighborhood activity centers such as playgrounds, basketball courts and a dance studio in Washington Park.

The Park District encourages community members/organizations to attend the meetings and voice their opinion on the updates to the South Lakefront Framework. For more information on these projects and the South Lakefront Framework, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict. com.

From the Jackson Park Advisory Council JPAC Newsletter July 2017 (June minutes and page 5)
[and see below for latest concern]

Golf and park coordinating committees. Jerry Levy, chair, said the committees will meet again after the public meetings presenting the engineering and design reports and proposed golf layouts. Alderman Hairston’s golf and park advisory council toured the parks last Thursday. The Alderman spoke of infrastructure and shoreline needs for park and community that should in any case be addressed. CPD Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly assured that the parks are being evaluated in their entirety, potential plans being coordinated, and public input process being set up leading to comprehensive park plans. He emphasized that the Obama and golf proposals are turning points in really discussing, looking at these parks. Committee members gave feedback.

Meetings started on JP Framework Plan, Obama Center, Golf Course, roads and infrastructure
[This commentary reflects views of its author, Gary Ossewaarde, and not necessarily the Advisory Council]

WHERE TO READ MORE, POST COMMENTS OR TAKE SURVEYS., www. See also project links on page 1 and Friends of the Parks list of media reports and opinion- from

About 600 attended the first of this first set of public meetings at South Shore Cultural Center, 150-200 at that at Hyde Park High School, and a large crowd was turned away from the small venue (75 seats) for the 5th Ward meeting June 27. The meetings started with 15 minute presentations on each of the four subjects by the Park District, Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, Obama Foundation, and Chicago Department of Transportation, with Smith Group/JJR engineering giving parts of the presentation and moderating. These gave background, vision and objectives, general plans, ways the park would change under each, and timelines. Renderings were either preliminary and conceptual or else mostly large scale rather than detailed. The Obama Center, being the smallest site and somewhat further along in design gave the best sense of the envisioned spaces and programming. Engineering studies are just coming in for golf and for roads and circulation along with the first Tiger Woods firm layout proposal for the golf course. It was evident that coordination has just started, in part because major decisions such as on roadway closures or remakes and who would fund underpasses and shoreline work have not yet been made. In addition, the main projects have expanded although they affirmed each is within its acreage footprints and every displaced feature will have 1 for 1 replacement (although for sports there will be a demand study, with some space possibly being outside this park –it is asserted there is not room enough for both all existing and all new things.) (Also, the Park District is mapping, assessing the state of, and costing every feature in the park.) There seemed to be different timelines, with the Obama Center to go before the Chicago Plan Commission as early as November. The golf planning is ongoing and driven by funds raised and desire for a tournament in 2021. The Framework Plan revision is supposed to put out for comment and meetings later in the summer, with process to be wrapped up by the end of the year—perhaps after major projects have received approval and possibly not giving enough time to be well thought out and as reflective as possible of community consensus and felt park needs. Nor has it been shown that much thought has been given yet to what features and activities should be in Jackson and what in other nearby parks.

The presentations were followed at the first two by breakouts with a mostly-digital survey interspersed with periods for comments and questions. Few questions were answered except where there was felt to be a clear misunderstanding, in part because they said a deliberate decision was made to listen before preparing working versions, and in part because there is as yet insufficient information or no decisions. There were comments and strong opinions pro and con on plans in part or in whole.
So, beyond those or informational matters, and assuming the major projects move forward…
What were some of the flashpoints that need to be given persuasive justification or addressed?

--The road closures, especially Cornell between 59th and 63rd Hayes and Midway EB Stony to Cornell and whether shifting to LSD and Hayes will make new problems and what might ameliorate that
--Sports field replacement /placement/how many (new track and field was shown south of the Obama Center)
--Fieldhouse future and site
--How much outdoor programming at the Center and its impact west and to nature areas as well as its incorporation of the present Perennial Garden site
-- Golf – can it truly stay affordable and serve the spectrum of users including local and stay sustainable and how much the site can be accessed by the general public
--Decision not to move the Driving Range but expand it at cost to tennis courts and dog friendly area and and need for a guarantee not to diminish or impact Bobolink nature area;
--Golf facility encroachment on courts etc on the west side
--Making the golf perimeter and fencing better and more inviting but not putting off communities
--Golf - amount of tree turnover and guarantee of biodiversity and environmental responsibility and gain.
--By far the major issue for South Shore was moving/reconfiguration and full replacement of the nature area.
--Impacts in the neighborhoods

JPAC’s golf committee and the Alderman’s council will assess studies and drawings now in hand.

Note, not in the above. JPAC's board is y concerned about proposed general expansion of the golf footprint and dominance in the park, squeezing much existing out, and the decision to keep and in place and expand the golf driving range. Problems include--
- potential threat to Bobolink Meadow (permanent or during construction).
- loss the informal dog park and tennis courts to the northeast with no more than a vague commitment by pd to evaluate and consider 1:1 replacement (where, when?)
- opportunity loss- to realize Olmsted's plan for a great lawn and walking connection of the park along the wet side of the Drive, via open lands.
We are also concerned with golf proposal in our sister park South Shore to change the nature area, with ceding of prime lakeshore and its downtown and other views to golfers.

JPAC will be pressing address of these matters with the Golf Alliance, Park District and at the Alderman's Council and JPAC's golf committee.

Read a good introductory summary (and link to original with the map) to proposed and potential changes to Jackson and Surrounding parks. From Sam Cholke and Tanveer Ali in 8/8/17 DNAinfo post.

Let's Celebrate and Send our Congratulations to another Eagle Scout, Samuel Morin, completing his Eagle Scout Project August 27 2017 in Jackson Park organizing and directing his fellow scouts in the project of removing Invasive Species from the park. These teens will be our future Park volunteers and PAC members. Congratulations to Sam and his Dad, also longtime AYSO coach and players. Louise McCurry.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2017 JPAC MEETING. At motion of Jerry Levy, JPAC voted to create a standing committee to review and seek coordination of construction and projects proposed and underway, in light of the transformation of the park and the need to look at the park as a whole. In addition to JPAC, invited participants would come from the fifth ward office, JPW, FOTP, Obama Foundation, the Golf Alliance, and the overseeing agencies CPD and CDOT.
More were invited. A fine meeting was held in March, summarized in the March minutes in the April Newsletter.

Also, a Kiddie College room will be coming to the current fieldhouse.

To Report on the On The Table dinner in May 2017.

For extensive discussion of comprehensive park planning, now underway, and who's starting, including the Park District and JPAC committees, see the June Newsletter.
More detailed reports from the two committees will be posted after review by the committees.
Available from golf- January 27 2017.
Available from Projects and Park Coordinating March 6.

New information on Darrow (formally Columbia) bridge. JPAC received formal confirmation in August that funding to actually rebuild the bridge has been secured. The bridge, which belongs to the state, crosses the neck at the north edge of the east and west lagoons It is key bike and pedestrian connector east west in the north half of the park, and its historic repair is a key matter for all. Recently cores were observed being taken as part of Phase I engineering. At Alderman Hairston’s Ward meeting March 28, Luis Benitez, CDOT Asst. Chief Engineer reported that Phase I study should be ready within the year and Phase II engineering should then begin and take about a year, with construction to start in 2019. Most important is that funding for the whole has been secured. CDOT (Tanora Adams) reported at the May 8 2017 JPAC meeting. In mid-July, CMAP planning agency approved the reconstruction, which gives certainty. A public meeting will be scheduled for later 2017 (held August 22). Federal permitting still required. The reporting CDOT official was unable to confirm 2019 as start date. It is important to remember that the responsible agency for Darrow Bridge is the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Note that illegal activities and habitation as well as lack of maintenance brought the bridge to this state—we must all act now and plan for its future.

Darrow (Columbia ) Bridge. Tanora Adams from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) provided an update and answered questions. The bridge is formally Columbia Bridge, as an extension of Columbia Drive to the east. It was originally built in the 1880s, 28 feet wide, and rebuilt for the Fair the in 1895- 56 fet wide and long. The bridge was rebuilt in 1941 and 1961. Phase I evaluation and planning is still underway. Work is funded 80 federal (SAWA program) and 20 state at $6M and will commence and be completed in 2019. It will be usable for ambulances and police as well as bikes and pedestrians- but will not be able to accommodate fire trucks. Work will include removal of the existing structure and abutments, steel beams and wall and replacing them (exact options are under consideration--access to the abutments, reestablished about 2002, may not be provided). It will be rebuilt historically, under ongoing approvals by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, including the railings part were used on the grounds of the Columbian Exposition. Paths will be provided (provisionally as of now) as far as Stony Island).

President Obama, design team unveil concept design and program for the Center May 3, 2017. GO

Links to other views.

The following will be revised and report added on a very encouraging discussion of the landscape design team with experts and communty stakeholders was held May 10

At South Shore Cultural Center supporters and leaders of stakeholder groups held a media event and discussion of the concept plan. A model and drawings were on view and the President shared his vision then took three questions on which he and the design team fleshed their inspiration and ideas. Neither the design or the programming are set in stone and will be subject to much public input.
As summarized in a Sun-Times release, the theme of Obama was, 'It's about hope.' [as for th plan,] Architect Dina Griffin said the design called for creating just one tall building, and having the others covered with landscape." Separately,
Friends of the Parks said it has not yet had time to review and again called for more comprehensive planning (which judging from its own release is heavily under way- once studies and coordination, including with many groups, are ready, a larger process can begin.)

Full report in the Obama Center page.

May 10 a large but select group (ranging from local organization leaders and stakeholders to Friends of the Parks and Chicago Botanic Gardens and other landscape and natural landscapes experts) met at the Washington Park Refectory with the Landscape Design team for the Center--Michael Van Valkenburgh, Heidi Natura of Living Habitats, and Ernie Wong-- the last 2 are South Siders. They explained much of the rationale behind each element and integration, including the visitor's perspective and experience, and reasons Cornell Drive should go. Changes and adjustments were already underway and would continue. He asked the group's input on a number of options, and their concerns and ideas. One was that there needs to be better connection and invitation to Woodlawn- not easy with the railroad and the low income housing across the street. The team seemed very open and discerning, and very attuned to Olmsted.

Mike Strautmanis of the Obama Library Center addresses Woodlawn Summit March 18 2017

First, he said, the center is to be global, and urban and a community center and- most important--experience center that will build citizen engagement—train in how to engage and have an impact, as well as serve needs of the South Side communities. It will tell and build connection not just with the First Family’s story but the South Side’s Story. They don’t just want people to come and take ideas out into their communities, but also for there to be pathways and corridors for people to visit in the communities themselves. The designs will come, and there have been a lot of small and larger meetings, but a best plan for input is still under development. The Foundation seeks strong input into the design and program of the Center—there has not been much on their website from local people so far—people telling their stories and needs, and asks residents to visit
For hiring and other direct involvement that will lead to sustainable careers, enterprises, and development, Strautmanis urged new approaches beyond a high standard and high targets.
Attendees spoke for a vision of the Center as an educator and human development engine. Attendees brought up the idea of a community benefits agreement, and there was much support and also skepticism. Strautmanis said he would continue to meet with the coalition groups seeking a multi-topic CBA, but he indicated he thinks there are better ways and encouraged thinking of benefits as broadly as possible. GMO

Golf update from Brian Hogan of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance (more updates in the golf page)
(As to Jackson Park Advisory Council.) “We remain confident of our ability to raise $30 Million of philanthropic contributions. Pending the civil engineering studies and detailed construction estimates, we target $20M to golf course improvements, $5M for programming and operations, $5M for endowment to support maintenance and preferred pricing for local residents. Currently, we have collected preliminary donations to cover design services and short term operations. ..[I}n deference to the community review process, we have yet to collect funds related to construction costs until we can share design proposals and project timelines with our donors. Michael Ruemmler stated this to the Sun-times: ‘We’ve got a lot of people [who] are ready to go as soon as they can see some designs and make sure that everything works. We have to make sure that our community input is strong and that the designs are feasible… [P]eople want to make sure that it’s real before they give any hard-earned money.’” Hogan added, “Most importantly, funding is secured for the caddie program to begin this summer regardless of any design/construction timelines.”
Youth seeking caddy jobs this summer should write

President: Louise McCurry, 773 844-2225,
In November-December 2016, several concerns about Wooded Island were raised. At the December meeting, JPAC held an open discussion (albeit abbreviated) on these, Wooded Island rules and signage (including re dogs on the Island and fishing) and overnight security (not discussed but immediate issues are being addressed). There is also anxiety to look into some kind of parking option closer to the Island (no solution yet in sight) and to keep on the radar opening the trail around the south end of the lagoon as son as feasible, as well as a number of specific amenities concerns. Here are responses/discussion on some of these. See additional discussion in the December, January, and April Newsletters.

Questions raised about Wooded Island and signage and some responses

Lauren Umek, CPD project manager writes November/December 2016. (ed. By Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC)

The concerns [recently] brought up...are timely and already on our radar. Wooded Island and the areas around it are entering year 3 of a 5 year restoration project and while we did allow public access to Wooded Island this October, much of the work planned here is not complete and thus not all of the amenities have been replaced or installed yet. So, no, these are not trivial concerns to be mocked, but things that are very much on CPD’s radar and are in progress. I’ll address [the] main concerns [of a park-user’s letter to CPD:]
1. Water fountains – we are looking into an appropriate location for both best public access and efficient installation considering infrastructure for a new water fountain, but this won’t occur until spring at earliest.
2. Installation of a new bike rack near the Japanese garden is also in the works – again, this would happen in spring at the earliest due to weather.
3. There are several, at least 4 pairs of garbage and recycling bins on Wooded Island – a pair near each of the new overlooks as well as near the north and south entrances to the island. Many of these bins are a painted metal type, and not the larger, plastic style that were there and are common in other parks. (Receptacles [whose placement had raised concerns] are being moved off the overlooks themselves.)
4. The benches that are currently on Wooded Island are an older bench style and we are looking into repair or replacement options. Broken wood slats were replaced as a fix until a longer term solution is reached. Benches cannot be replaced under the Army Corps project as that project and its related funds are dedicated to ecosystem restoration (and not public amenities).
I am sympathetic to the “bump” feel of the new concrete pathway but encourage park users to view this as an opportunity to take a moment in our busy urban lives to slow down and appreciate the space, flora and fauna of the island. There are many other ways to travel on asphalt quickly on wheels throughout the city, but there is only one Wooded Island.

Regarding park rules and signage (by Lauren Umek)- New park signs were installed prior to re-opening of Wooded Island to the public as the site enters year 3 of the 5 year Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project. These new signs now include historic and nature-oriented photos of the park, maps, a description of the recent park improvements, and the park rules. These rules include Park District wide rules (i.e. permits required for large gatherings and no littering, alcohol, smoking, vehicles, etc.) as well as site specific rules that are determined by park staff. The rules on this sign, while the language has been adjusted, are the same as before with the addition of the new rule “Do not touch or climb on the Sky Landing artwork” that accompanies the installation of Sky Landing and is a standard rule for public art/non-playground structures. |
Of the rules that seem to be of conversation within the community – dogs and fishing – these rules are not new and were posted on signs to the island for several years, and were replaced with new, improved signs so that they would be more visible. Fishing has been and will remain prohibited from Wooded Island. There are currently no fish stocked in the lagoon at the moment (only small fish introduced for migratory birds), and will not be stocked for game fishing, so this rule is new but not really applicable at this time.

From Chicago Park District Code - Chapter 7, B10. a (1)
“… Animals may not enter or remain in any building, zoo, playground, harbor, lagoon, swimming pool, spray pool, garden, athletic field, animal or bird refuge, or other areas that may be designated by signs as prohibited areas….” The entire Code - Chapter 7, which covers laws, hours, restricted areas, destruction of property, fines, renaming, permits, and animals (B.10), is found in:

(See PDF version of this Newsletter for picture of current sign with rules.)
From one of the new signs: Natural Areas- Chicago Park District

Please report any concerns or vandalism immediately to Chicago Park District Security (312) 474-2193.


From the November 14 2016 JPAC meeting minutes:

[Jerry] Levy reported that Army Corps work over the winter will be minimal. Among items he felt would enhance the Island and natural area experience are:
A path with a sign pointing to the south entry and one or two similar signs north of the Island to help people find their way,
Alternative parking such as the Museum west lot until the Darrow bridge is fixed and open,
Opening the path around the south end of the lagoons from the Island to Bobolink as soon as plants are established,
Benches at the lookouts, solutions to aesthetics of the trash cans there and erosion gulleys in the gravel,
Planning re: security concerns.
Levy moved, Kenneth Newman seconded, and approved that JPAC prepare a letter to the Museum of Science and Industry asking weekend parking in its west lot for access to Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden.
Placed on discussion agenda: concern about after hours security on the Island and asking the Park District for its protocol, ideas or options that could include an arm-gate at each end like at the Golf Driving Range drive.

From minutes of the December meeting

Karen Szyjka, manager of the Japanese Garden for CPD, talked about conditions and ideas for more full realization. The latter include expanded plantings under the tree rings and of ground cover and conifers, and expansion of the moss garden. The cherry trees were pruned in a way that creates an illusion of depth. She suggests a healing-walk brochure. CPD is meeting with designers about a replacement traditional fence or wall. (not to enclose the Skylanding sculpture-- she was asked to return with a set of options when ready.

Signage and rules on Wooded Island. A paper with questions was distributed by Jackson Park Watch and summarized by Margaret Schmid. Also, handouts re: the Island with responses to various questions, concerns, and requests (some by CPD project manager Lauren Umek), and sections of the CPD Code were distributed and summarized by the JPAC President and others. Highlights of responses: McCurry had conferred with CPD leadership-- regulations are uniform across the district. Tonight’s discussion revealed that more clarity may be needed regarding future of fish stocking and fishing and whether sign language about fishing may need changing in the future. Jerry Levy noted five signs on the Island that point out its designation as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary. [Ed.- other questions raised are considered in discussion pieces in the accompanying Dec. Newsletter.]

Jane Masterson sought more involvement of naturalists, including tree condition experts and suggested a nature subcommittee for JPAC- Julius Stanley moved the same. It was approved, but by consensus more discussion and implementation were deferred to the next meeting, with CPD experts asked to attend.

Questions raised in the Jackson Park Watch December 12 handout
(Response by Gary Ossewaarde)

Park District rules and Code. The whole Code was revised a few years ago, partly to address legislation, liability concerns, duty of responsibility/accountability, uniformity (and, doubtless control). They were reviewed by Friends of the Parks and committees of PACs. Changes were made before Board adoption, but there was never complete agreement. A code of clear rules would seem to be necessary, experience shows, but could perhaps be balanced by signs with icons or wording of how people CAN enjoy their park responsibly—as signs in schools and some in parks now do.

Fishing future for the lagoons. Fishing on the Island was past practice but in modern times formally not allowed. Ideas mentioned have been to move signage for fishing at least from the bridges, or have structures at some overlooks that serve fishers but prevent trampling of shore vegetation or bothering fishing birds-- but such have not so far been considered. GLIFER prospectuses did suggest larger size and species of fish down the road [and the Great Lakes Fishery part of the grant was the basis for funding the Jackson Park project] , so clarification is needed. Adjacent Columbia Basin is stocked with game fish by the state, and good fishing is common in the harbors and Lake Michigan shore.

The question of dogs on the Island has been revisited often. JPAC has consistently supported no dogs, agreeing with most of the birding community and studies and in order to protect the Garden—again partly from experience with a small, irresponsible minority of dog owners. It seems highly unlikely, no matter if every park change happened, that most of the park would not be friendly to dogs on leash. In fact, JPAC has supported the idea of a dog-friendly area in the park.
There are at least five signs on and at the Island referencing the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary.

Renaming the Japanese Garden. Renaming the Japanese Garden. A few years ago, the garden’s conservators and CPD proposed a renaming because Osaka no longer sponsored the Garden: Interest by the larger Japanese community might be encouraged, and the site’s historical and cultural meaning and significance could be enhanced by honoring the Phoenix Pavilion, a gift of Japan and there 1893-1946. This writer’s understanding is that the change was publicly proposed at CPD board meetings (covering at least the usual comment period) and had no objections. The Superintendent (under CPD Code) then approved the change. The naming was not an issue in the large, small, and JPAC meetings since, about Project 120 and proposed enhancements at the Garden.

[Whether there should have been a larger discussion about and design information on the Skylanding sculpture (design was done late) is a policy matter that needs more examination. It was brought up, without design specifics, which were not developed early, at numerous public meetings, some quite large. As compared to other Project 120 ideas such as Pavilion at the Music Court (extrapolation upon a 2000 framework plan recommendation to restore the Music Court for small music presentations), the idea of a major public sculpture at the Garden/site of the 1893-1946 Phoenix Pavilion garnered little comment.]

Separate note, Jackson Park Watch brought some of these issues up at the Park Board meeting. CPD lawyers gave answers to points and board members said sufficient answers and time had been given.

December 18 2016 Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a major golf course redesign and program, under Tiger Woods (TGR Design), WPGA, and Western Golf Association. Superintendent Kelly and a team are expected to first attend the JPAC meeting January 9, then there may be a larger-community meeting on this in late January or February.
Among newspaper articles--A Chicago Tribune article by Teddy Greenstein gives the project background and is at Article in the Dec. 17 Sun-Times by Fran Spielman focuses more on park impacts and issues. Link is:
Hyde Park Herald-
JPAC has not yet held discussion on the matter.
To our new page on the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance proposal (under construction)

Meanwhile, JPAC has met with the Park District and gotten results or a plan of action forward on:
1 Security strategies, actions and patrols in specific parts of the park.
2 Protocol for work orders and drive-through checks of the park.

CPD Gen. Supt. and CEO MIKE KELLY and team discussed the golf proposal and other questions at the January 9 JPAC meeting.

Also, thanks to a $12M gift from Ken Griffin arranged by mayor Emanuel, the remaining sections of the Lakefront Trail, including by Promontory, Jackson and South Shore Cultural Center, will be refurbished, with where possible separation of bike and pedestrian traffic. Standard widths for th e 18 miles of Lakefront trail will be 12" asphalt for bikes and for pedestrians 14' asphalt plus 6' soft-mix on each side. Note that it will not be easy or perhaps possible to meet these standards in all sectors from Jackson south.
February 8 the PD board approved a $1.7 study and design by AECom of Los Angeles for the trail and the separation between bike and slower traffic whereever feasible. Work will include drawings, community meetings, cost estimates, and plans for re-routing during construction. The money comes from the Griffin gift. Work on some parts starts spring 2017.


A stellar two seasons for JPAC- end of April workdays, May 10 On the Table dinner discussion, May 14 Migratory Bird celebration with activities, tours, education, work activity. May 31 public meeting on Project 120. June 18 It's Your Park Day cleanups and mulching in the Music Court, July 18 picnic, September 10 playground ribbon cutting and picnic on 67th St., September 17 beach sweeps, September 21 World Peace Day dedication of Peace Rising sculptures at the Iowa building, lots of groups helping with workdays. And looking forward to dedication of Yoko Ono's Sky Landing in October in the Garden of the Phoenix.


Inquiry and questions about Wooded Island restoration project and reopening of the Island can be addressed to or Jerry Levy at (Updated Jan. 6)

10,000 RIPPLES ART PROPOSAL AT THE JUNE 8 MEETING- read about Then the installation in September- read about it in the September and October Newsletters.

PROJECT 120/SKY LANDING- (READ/PRINT IN PDF) Yoko Ono dedicated “SKY LANDING” construction with ceremony June 12 2015 on the site of the historic Japanese Phoenix Pavilion from the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. The design was introduced May 24 2016 at the Art Institute of Chicago (see below). SKYLANDING was given a ceremonial dedication by
Yoko Ono on October 17, 2016 and will be open to the public with the Island on October 22, 11 am from then on.

Officers elected to one-year terms November 14, 2016. President Louise McCurry, Vice President Anne Marie Miles, Secretary Gary Ossewaarde, Treasurer Dwight Powell.
Auxiliary board members- may be renewed in December: Jake Young and Cherry Theard (membership and media); Norm Bell & Gail Parry and Jerry Levy (Nature Committee and Site Stewards). Nominations for officers open at the October 11 JPAC meeting. Election is in November 2016.


JPAC officers helped plan, presented at and staffed a fine poster on the park at the conference at Truman College.

HOWEVER, ACCESS TO THE ISLAND IS RESTORED OCT. 22, 2016 FROM 11 AM. (from the south end)
ALSO, DARROW BRIDGE IS SEALED OFF UNTIL IT CAN BE HISTORICALLY RECONSTRUCTED AS A ROAD STARTING IN 2- YEARS. Meanwhile, a new fence and sign saying "Road Closed" has been erected.

See more information in the Jackson Park homepage (link above), and in Minutes and Resolutions of JPAC, Jackson Park Timeline recent years, or JPAC's official website and those of its allies and stakeholders, links given in the Jackson Park homepage.

About our meetings and program: Our aim is to:
1. Create more diverse community interest and network for our park ,
2.Expand the number of positive active members who WORK and otherwise contribute and expand our vision and impact, giving an equal voice to communities and interests, developing new park community leaders and networking with park areas with no previous voice.
3.Notify the PAC and others of park needs requiring solutions in ALL areas of our geographically large park community. Great parks make great communities.
Our programs are reaching these goals. They provide experienced park activists like you a golden opportunity to make a real difference, inspire, educate, serve as a role model, and encourage NEW Jackson Park activists to continue the work we have started.
Thank you for your patience as we build park community membership and leadership for today and the future!
(modified from release by Louise McCurry, president)

HYDE PARK HERALD IS PUBLISHED ON YOUTUBE THE ENTIRE JULY 14 2014 JPAC MEETING. By Andrew Holzman. The project is underwritten by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. The URL is:

Join JPAC- to 2017 membership form

To March 2017 Newsletter. In printable pdf .
Minutes and Resolutions (February 2017
now added).


shortcuts to Latest on Army Corps Habitat Restoration incl Island 2015 closure (See in its own page. March 6 2015 report)
Project 120
- public presentation of January 13 2015. PROJECT 120 page.
NEWS of ded of Sky Landing by Yoko Ono June 12 (by itself in pdf)
Obama Library (here)
Obama Library in page by itself- has new material not here
January 12 JPAC meeting open Library discussion in pdf.

NEWS ITEMS, Bulletins, MEETINGS/coming activities, CALENDAR. See also the most recent Newsletter.
Special workday- groups of teens coming to LaRabida July 20, 27- volunteer helpers needed
Park program registration fall reg starting August 4
Reflections on what was good, what needs attention given at July 11 2016 meeting.
From the Stewards, Natural areas/Wooded Island updates
How about this- suggestions, thoughts and criticism for JPAC or the park-
63rd St. Beach issues
head and behind- great thanks

Cleanup by the 57th underpass
Thank you's
Burroughs naming

Iowa updates
Painted panels from Japanese Pavilion found, to be restored and put on display in AIC
HORSES return to Jackson/Midway, including Iowa bldg July 25! But motorcyclists, car drivers disrespect park and people, some problems various areas being addressed by police.
Big accomplishments at LaRabida Aug. 2015- and important article on shore erosion and sand deprivation.
63rd beach and Schiff interactive fountain 2015- 2nd week of August Repairs were being finished and staff being assigned to watch fountain and kids
Successful Gala!
Two members added to board for membership and web/media, other actions at May 2015 meeting
10,000 Ripples proposed art project (read about by itself), and SAIC class project:
Iowa Building- improvements and new uses coming?
Thanks to the Parks Foundation help and tools for June 20 workday
Good birding in Bobolink in May 2015 despite fenced off Island,
Pickleball is back (as are croquet and lawn bowling)
Project 120: O'Donnell presented on JP restoration, plans June in Russia and Yoko Ono inaugurated her SKY LANDING
New on beach/Lake pollution safety measures

Sky Landing design unveiled JPAC SKYLANDING PAGE
Cornell Drive in line for safety upgrades? (being studied, is it too much? will likely depend in part on Library selection)
Successful beach sweep Sept. 20 & latest on water testing at beaches
HPHS Stories focus on the parks
WITS reading program in 2014 culminates in WITS gift of books to launch library and JPAC w. donor gift of filled backpacks
Nike basketball tournament brings improvements, mentoring to park
DARROW BRIDGE- JPAC Herald letter. NEWS MARCH 2015, MAY 2016 UPDATES August and December 2017
We lost one of our kids
Security and shooting summer 2014
July 14- Security
Swimming and boating lessons sought
and an award given

They're up! replacement signs honoring the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary, signs designating the 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion open upper section the Eric Hatchett Pavilion.
Shakespeare in the Park August a huge success, reactivates the Music Court for public performances- expected again in June 2015

PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY See also in own page. Formal announcement made May 12 - UC Bid. Architects were selected. Jackson Park was named the site in July 2016-- but not official yet.
Beach pollution and swim bans - progress but being revisited- Alliance for Great Lakes planning beach sweep Sept. 20
Playlot dedications held
White City tours
Picnic and park security (July 2014 meeting ),
Art in the Park and urban fishing;
70th anniversary of Sub capture

ARMY CORPS fishing and ecosystem restoration project 2014. JPAC ENDORSEMENT LETTER and President's thanks AUG. 2014. From the August 11 2014 meeting. ACE PROJECT IN ITS OWN PAGE.
Project 120

Darrow Bridge and its access closed
Fieldhouse playground finds ready volunteers

Louise McCurry's April 23 2014 Herald letter on why Earth Day cleanups matter
announced for Jackson Park other new things coming (2 playgrounds, Shakespeare Aug. 2)
Mission accomplished: Nancy C. Hays bridge dedicated Mar. 2014. See in Nancy Hays C page
Signage for Eric Hatchett 2005 naming - confirmed this and Paul Douglas plaque replacement coming, confirmed in July
Planted: 25 new trees in Jackson Park
Impressive presenters on Columbian Expo, Viking Ship
at March 10 2014 JPAC meeting
Vandalism and safety/policing
Playgrounds replaced
in ChicagoPlays! joint program (another has been applied for for 2015)
Parks sports soar
Renewing and inventorying nature, trees and La Rabida Peninsula
Water safety see more updates in the 63rd beach/water safety page.
Lakefront bike trail- process found need plenty of work needed, but when?
JPAC, leaders have received awards in 2013 and 2014
This and that

News Items, Meetings, Advisories, Issues of interest from JPAC and the park

Written by Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary.


Good news. The pump for the Marquette underpass was about to be installed as of the end of May 2017.
Watch for news of a special jazz concert July 9 at 63rd St; beach and a new concession venue there this summer.
For latest news, visit the May and June 2017 Newsletters or

meetings- see above.


See Bobolink workdays and May 14- Pictures and report:

Join Jerry’s listserve at and check in events.


EXPERIENCES and REFLECTIONS reported by members at the July 2016 JPAC meeting

The following were noted by attendees at the July 11, 2016 JPAC picnic as best or most exciting associations with the park during the past year.
LaRabida shore, especially the carvings in stone blocks from 1892 on.
The loads of garbage removed
Major activities: Migratory Bird Day, Its’ Your Park and really good workdays and tours:
New attendees, visitors and allies, new points of view
Jackson Bark and other communities of people
On the Table dinner May 10
Chosen Few picnic
Andy Carter and his telling and singing about George Washington Carver’s time in Jackson Park
New playgrounds in and coming
Field Museum involvement monitoring monarchs and milkweed and birds
Discovery and care of oak saplings on the Island, ecological care from micro to GLFER
The 3 yacht clubs and enjoyment of harbors and Lake Michigan
Website, social media development, taping interviews

The following were said to need attention
Golf Driving range closing as early as 5 pm, opening late
Lack of benches / seating (see Dwight, Esther, Sylvia for specifics)

The issues raised by last week’s violence and how the park can help or be affected
Darrow Bridge
Marquette underpass
62nd comfort station (may be fixed?); that by La Rabida
Signage at Jackson Bark
Need for a Safety tab on the website with emergency and fix numbers, possible posting section
More improvements, rethinking at 67th playgrounds under installation
General security and safety, especially south and west edges of the park
Better fibar supply and maintenance, workdays
La Rabida upkeep, beach etc. protection
Trees including oaks under attack by insects and diseases


Park program Registration is in progress online and in person for the next quarter's park programs- call/visit the fieldhouse and go to register at the pd website.
2019 Summer camp/session registration opens online Tuesday April 23, in person Saturday April 27- to do this online you must have registered. Look first at the checklist in the site and your park's programs (or in any park the programs you are interested in) and conditions. Note that if programs are filled or cancelled, registrants are referred to similar programs at other parks.
In person registration in parks usually opens the Saturday after online registration.

WORKDAYS-and more!!

2nd Saturday, 9 am-noon. 2nd Saturdays Bobolink Meadow workday. Visit and contact Note, a footrace (not large) is expected- Jackson Park Classic in and around the park.



HOW ABOUT THIS? Suggestions, questions, and criticism about and thoughts for JPAC or the park

Jackson Park issues: When words have meaning, or don't. By Frances S. Vandervoort, Jackson Park Advisory Council Nature Trail Steward. As in the Hyde Park Herald December 21, 2016

What? More transparency? Haven't we been hearing that word a lot these days from a coterie of so-called Jackson Park supporters asking for more transparency from officials and community representatives involved in restoration of our lovely but somewhat run-down Jackson Park? This, despite numerous public meetings held over the past two years where proposals have been vetted, questions asked, and clarification provided again and again.

Hyde Park is indeed fortunate to have excellent ecologists, urban planners, and Olmsted experts involved in the future of Jackson Park. the loveliest feature of Chicago's south side. Yet, there are those who profess to have expertise in areas of forestry, wildlife management, and park use --or non-use-- who reject the goals of professionals deeply committed to the true role of this south side jewel. Some local residents even advocate benign neglect which, as we all should recognize, resulted in many of the problems besieging the park over the past half-century and more.

Some individuals bemoan the relocation by trained wildlife experts that come visiting from points south, chewing down mature trees lining Jackson Park lagoons. Ironically, these are the same folks who object to replanting of bur oak saplings in fear that the resulting density of these sturdy trees will lead to overcrowding and disease. Never mind that these oaks are descendants of trees that have thrived since woodpeckers carried their ancestral acorns north as the last ice sheet withdrew nearly 15,000 years ago.

Other terms distorted by the naysayers are plan vs. concept. A pavilion has been conceptualized, but not yet formally for the Music Court, southeast of the Museum of Science and Industry. Might one ask if it might not be better to have musical performances, even if loud, tightly focused and monitored in one locale rather than emanating from huge, generator-powered speakers scattered at random throughout the park.

For these folks, transparency has become a euphemism, even a subterfuge for their inability to recognize a good thing when it is presented to them. No one would want Jackson Park to revert to the original mosquito-infested morass of swamps and swales of more than 150 years ago when the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted with his partner Calvert Vaux produced its original design. Today, Jackson Park is on the verge of becoming a truly great park for all people. Olmsted designed parks as elegant, natural venues where all people could come together to promote the spirit of democracy. This is the destiny of Jackson Park. This is the destiny of us all.

At her July 22, 2014 ward meeting Ald. Hairston passed along a suggestion she received and is putting to the Park District-- lack of umbrella tables at 63rd and other South Side parks.
Unofficial information on how such amenities work, from a PD staff member: The umbrellas are put out by a private vendor, which would need to be contacted. Location decisions are partly based on each park's record of such amenities not being wrecked or "disappearing".

A neighbor raised concern about weed-spraying on wood-chip trail(s) in the Wooded Island. The steward for the Island (Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary), pd staff, and the contractor are certified sprayers who occasionally apply fast-degrade weed killers (which break down within a few hours or a day and which under normal conditions and application do not harm humans or wildlife) in limited areas. Signs are left where this is done. The inquirer asked specifically about affect on dogs. See preceding, but dogs are not allowed in the natural areas, on or off leash.

Hyde Park Herald (editorial, mid August) and others raised questions about the fish and lagoons portions of the ACE plan. Our president and Wooded Island steward dug deeper and sent in letters, and Mr. Veraldi of the Army Corp developed an extensive FAQ sheet, reproduced in our ACE2014 page.

A neighbor wrote to the Herald in late September 2014 suggesting that increasing the water circulation and freshness in the lagoons might allay the need for periodic killing of fish and replenishment. Suggested was opening an existing weir or creating a new channel to Lake Michigan. The issues regarding killing fish and the methods have been answered as above. Also, aside from improvements to the slopes and other changes to stop erosion and keep the water quality, habitat and food better so the fish and other new aquatic life will have a better chance of surviving and reproducing for years, the costs would be high and there would be risks- 1 is flooding-- last time there was some opening, in the 1980s, there was flooding into the Museum of Science and Industry at the back steps and flooding elsewhere. 2. IN SHORT, THE WATER IS ABOUT AS HIGH AS IT CAN BE ALLOWED TO BE- we can dredge down, but not let the lagoon water get higher-- in fact, there is a spillway from the lagoons at the Music Court bridge just in case. 2, There are invasives, bacteria and more in the Lake that we would not want to see in the lagoons.

One of our members responded to the letter:
" It is unrealistic to open up the lagoon to Lake Michigan. In other words, remove the weir at the Music Court Bridge. That was installed at a time of high water in the 1980s, as I recall. It is unwise to open the lagoons to flow from Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan has many invasives: spiny water flea, quagga and zebra mussels, and round gobies (fish) that cause serious problems in Lake Michigan and could cause even more serious problems if they become established in the lagoons. Yes, water circulation is not the best, but a pumping/circulation system would be expensive."

Nonetheless, we will ask the expert at the Army Corps what was considered and decided re: circulation and oxygen needs and related improvements and stabilizations. GO


A letter-writer in the Hyde Park Herald November 26, 2014 asked why it seems necessary to make major changes to natural areas in Jackson Park, particularly to replace non-native plants, thin out or to manage in general.
My response would be the following. Gary Ossewaarde

Jackson Park is a public park that serves many needs and users. Even the parts that are called natural areas (most of Wooded Island ((Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary)), Bobolink Meadow and Woods, the northern lagoons, and less formally some other sections where various habitats and wildlife are encouraged) are managed natural areas - not wildernesses and largely (but not entirely) human created. They are managed under two guiding principals-- as historic Olmsted-designed (Frederick Law Olmsted and later his sons) parks, and as habitats in themselves and that serve and strengthen larger habitat systems such as the Great Lakes Migratory Bird Flyway and Great Lakes Shoreline habitat and fishery-- which are federally and internationally recognized. Natural areas, and parks as a whole don't "stay" the way any generation designs. They need renewal from time to time, it is hoped in ways that experience and new study show they will both fulfill ideals and support those (wildlife and humans) who use areas or depend on them.

These distinct purposes do not always mesh well. And intensive studies have shown that the both purposes have been increasingly degraded in the park in recent decades. The current projects were designed, and continue to be guided by the most intensive park-wide study and planning effort undertaken since the park templates of over a century ago and in accord with modern understanding of how to realize and blend the ideals of the Olmsted park and natural landscapes. The study and design have engaged not only the ecological, engineering and historical sections of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Chicago Park District but also Heritage Landscapes under the leadership Patricia O'Donnell, one of the preeminent students and restorers of Olmsted parks and expert in ecology, funded by Project 120 Chicago as an independent third party in the projects and development of a new framework plan for the park. The Illinois Department of Historic Preservation has oversight powers and local park stewards and Jackson Park Advisory Council also have their eyes on the project.

As for the Army Corps work, by no means will all non-native trees and plants (some of which were introduced by the Olmsted's) be removed-- either their presence as species or in significant presence. Some that are persistently invasive or exclusionist will be heavily removed (particularly buckthorn, ailanthus, and some mulberries). And some of the work, particularly in the south of Wooded Island) will involve heavy removal. Replanting will start promptly as well as contouring the lagoon edge to prevent erosion of soil into the lagoons (detrimental to introduction of many new fish and aquatic wildlife species) and allow shoreline plant variety, and creating of access and viewing paths to the water. There is no denying that it will take time for the trees and plants to fill in. However, the result will be support for a more diverse and intense wildlife. There is no doubt that smaller projects undertaken in Wooded Island and Bobolink in recent years have led to a stronger bird and wildlife population. The lagoon restoration project is a much more thorough and comprehensive on than that undertaken about 12 years ago and is expected to make a dramatic difference. At the same time the park will be more in accord with Olmsted's' ideal as understood today.

Carolyn Ulrich, editor of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine, gave her answer in the December 10, 2014 Herald:

Larry Wethington's Letter of Nov. 26 raised an important question. What is a native, he asks? Basically it is a plant or animal that was here at the time of settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries when the ecosystem was in balance. Plants had evolved over thousands of years to survive the rigors of droughts, floods an prairie fires, and there was enough food to go around. Predator adn prey co-existed. "Balance" is the key word here.

Human intervention took that away. An example of destructive human intervention is in the South where kudzu imported from Japan has run rampant and choked out beneficial plants--that is, plants that provide food for us or for the rest of the natural world. Because kudzu has no natural enemies in America, it can smother the plants on teh land where it takes root. Monarch butterflies, for example won't find nourishment from kudzu leaves, but they will from native milkweed.

We don't need to worry about kudzu in the Chicago region, but look at our deer problem. Two hundred years ago, there were wolves that kept teh deer population in check. Now we have virtually eradicated wolves (not that we want them prowling through city streets) but the situation is no longer in balance.

Human intervention in functioning ecosystems has thrown many habitats out of whack. Why do we have declining numbers of songbirds? If we don't grow the plants where they can find food and shelter, they won't reproduce and they will disappear. Just because a tree or shrub is green doesn't mean it can provide food for a cardinal or a robin.

If we want to live in a world that contains robins and cardinals, plus butterflies, fish, pollinating insects and all of our native mammals, we need to provide the plants that will support them. If we want to have food for ourselves, we ned to provide plants for pollinating insects such as bees. Again, just because a flower is pretty doesn't mean that it will feed a bee.

So that's why they're cutting down certain trees in Jackson Park. They're trees that aren't providing food for the wildlife that we both want and need. For more information, I recommend "Bringing Nature Home" by Douglas Tallamy. It's full of well-documented examples of how native plants are necessary to our health and that of the planet.

One interesting fact: The widely planted Bradford pear that we see blooming here every spring is not only an alien species, it is actually toxic to wildlife that tries to eat it, says Tallamy. Our various native oak trees, on the other hand, can support a grand total of more than 500 species of butterflies and moths. So if someone cuts down a Bradford pear and plants an oak inits stead, don't cry. It's not worth it.

63rd St. Beach and the Schiff Fountain

August 11 2015 JPAC was informed that repairs to the fountain were complete, the fountain would be on by Friday and daily 11 to 7 and staff assigned to watch the feature and kids playing in it. Thank you, Alderman Hairston, JPAC leadership, and community members, CPD staff including Alonzo Williams.

Alderman Hairston opened her July 2015 ward meeting with concern and opposition that the Schiff Legacy Fountain is now to be closed except for special occasions and access closed off and that the beach and beach house are in poor condition and maintenance. JPAC has as yet not been able to ascertain whether the blocking off involves plans to fix the plumbing (which has been twice robbed of its copper plumbing in the past 3 years) or involves some other policy. JPAC will continue to evaluate and interact with the Park District. Alderman Hairston has asked for a letter writing campaign on behalf o the fountain and seeks from the PD contracting to another company for maintenance of building and beach if present means cannot keep up. The Max Schiff Legacy gave funds about the time the Bathing Pavilion was restored and renovated 1998-2000 for a feature for children. Originally conceived as a carousel, it evolved into a large feature in one of the open-air halls involving artistic paving and a spiral of jets with timed or motion-activated synchronized water jets-- this has been wildly popular. Evidently on the beach hired or contracted staff plus occasional JPAC and Alliance for the Great Lakes beach cleans to keep up. (A special team of border collies is supposed to suppress the gull population, with uncertain success). Graffiti is promptly removed from the building including the upper terraces named for former JPAC president and beachhouse advocate Eric Hatchett, and lighting repaired as needed. JPAC and the CPD agree that the playground would be better sited to be visible and not covered with blowing sand, but we understand some parties fell that that would rob other uses where it might be relocated. Repairs are made. Controversy remains over dune grass and sedge vs. turf for picnicking in a small section of the lawn east and south of the pavilion between the beach and the drumming circle.

Here is a summary of some of the issues from the August 5, 2015 Hyde Park Herald, by Allison Matyus.

The 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive., has been frustrating beach goers lately due to the increasing lack of care for its facilities and features.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) has been pushing for the Chicago Park District to make the interactive water feature at the beach more available to teh public. According to Hairston, the park district has recently told her that they will only be turning the water feature on for special events.

"Kids used to always play in that fountain every summer. Now more than ever, with heat indexes in the hundreds, we need our water fountain running," she said. "I miss the kids squealing and having fun."

She said the park district not allowing the fountain to regularly operate goes against the wishes of Max schiff, who donated the money to build the interactive fountain.

Hairston explained problems with the beach house bathrooms as well. There have been complaint about the cleanliness of the bathrooms , and even report that the bathrooms were locked or out-of-use.

Qiana Woodson, who recently spent a day at 63rd Street Beach, said she was disappointed in th beach's overall state. "I didn notice how unkempt the beach house appeared. The beach itself had lots of trash in the sand as well. It was hard to tell when the beach was last cleaned," she said.

Hairston noted that these kind of problems are not present at other beaches in the city. "There are disparities between North and South Side beaches. The South Side suffer greatly," she said. "You see Oak Street Beach with their beautiful umbrellas and upkeep, and we can't even have our water fountains running."

Hairston encouraged the community [at the July 28 Ward meeting] to begin a letter writing campaign to reach out to the Chicago Park District...She said her goal is to hire a company that is responsible for the property.

The Chicago Park District did not return calls for comments on thee complaints.

October 2016: Jackson Park Watch submitted several questions about the Skylanding installation. Here are some and abstract of Park District Superintendent Kelly's answers at the October 17 board meeting:
The art is a a donation by the Yoko Ono Foundation and is owned and controlled exclusively by the Chicago Park District. [It has unrestricted access and no fees.] Funding for any special maintenance or security are being sought [identified and raised.] Parking is available at a distance and is a widespread problem in the parks. Lack of restrooms in proximity is acknowledged and is also a problem elsewhere throughout the district. [Ed. the Board and Superintendent heard from two speakers, including this editor, the need to consider thoughtfully any further facilities proposed in Jackson Park. The need to restore access via Darrow Bridge has been communicated to CPD and CDOT frequently.]



We appreciate it when the Park District and others are quick to respond.
July 13 2015 storms dropped a tree on the fence and into Dickerson Playlot. The PD was on the job making things safe within an hour.
The Park District had been busy that day and days before neatening up the Iowa building and vicinity ahead of the JPAC picnic and meeting.
And restoration of the Schiff Water Play feature at the beachhouse.

Just a bit of accomplishments in September 2014

This month we had seven volunteer workdays with 220 volunteers from universities, U C, Loyola , Hyde Park High, Kenwood and Jones. Two corporations Rei and "fugr", and the Alliance for teh Great Lakes. (Some of the corporate was in conjunction with a fabulous Beach Sweep.) We gave each a history and environmental tour of their work sites and an open invitation to return.
2. We turned all of our annual fiscal documents in on time We appreciate FOTP's fiscal agency and are proud to be a member.
3 We nominated for park staff member of the year-- we'll see if our nominee wins!
4 Our proposal for a new playground was chosen for new playground at 62nd and stony Island.
5 We attended and presented Jackson parks newest capital needs at the park budget hearings .
6 We presented the Iowa building bathroom repair needs and got approval for repair and opening of Iowa bathrooms.

Adapted from communications from Louise McCurry in July 2014 and beyond. (questions, additions? Louise, 773 844-2225,

WE are all forces of nature because we care and we act to make things better. Thank you to an amazing team. It is such an honor to work together with all of you who act to make a real difference for our kids:
#Set up the Opening of Chrysalis Playground,
# Set up the opening of 6401 Stony Fieldhouse Playground,
# Painted and repaired the T.W.O. planter in front of Fieldhouse,
# Bought and donated the "wish list" of supplies for the 175 JP day camp program,
# Assisted FOTP preparing for their 2 press events and a fundraising video,
# Lead an educational kids tour/workday and worked with Springdale Nazarene 6th graders from Cincinnati to clear the wheel chair paths and clear the west beach of logs and debris at La Rabida,
# Jerry Levy and his Wooded Island Workday volunteers cleared many, many wheel barrows of invasive species out of Wooded Island,
# Tour committee lead free educational Jackson Park tours with growing numbers of people hearing and seeing what makes Jackson Park historically significant and eco-significant: and of course- "the best park in the city",
# Completed our 2015 63rd Street Beach playground proposal, pictures, and community petitions,
# Searched the park and updated the list of important safety hazards and needed repairs and gave them to the CPD- thanks Bobbie, Daphne, and Alonzo, and Esther. Repaired were multiple benches and holes in some paths, roads,
# Fielded multiple press, organizational, and community on line inquiries about the murder at the Iowa shelter and convened police and security to engage residents at the July JPAC meeting—and thank you to the large number of residents and park allies who came. #July 14 leftover picnic food- used at July 18 workday with Jewish World Federation and to LaRabida, fieldhouse.
# Iowa building - since July 14 2nd & 3rd District bike and car patrols preventing some illicit activities but alcohol parties continue. Lights continue to be worked on. Graffiti and overgrown vegetation were removed.
# Extensive pruning was done through the park north of 57th Dr.
# The WITS program has 20 volunteers for one-on-one reading with day camp kids Thursday afternoons.
# JWF teens re-chipped wheelchair paths at LaRabida. More teen groups are coming weekends in August.
# Sign honoring Eric Hatchett for advocacy restoring the 63rd beach house (to be placed at the pavilion there named in his honor) and replacement of the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary plaque on Wooded Island are being made.
# Park district has been diligent supplying trash and coals cans—the difference is evident after parties that have enough and where the partiers use them properly.
# Fields and courts full of players on the weekend: Hayes BB, 63rd Volleyball (tournament), 59th Tennis cts incl. pickleball and dog obedience classes, Track and Astroturf, 63rd Softball diamonds, Croquet and Lawn Bowling, activity for Mackinaw Race from harbors w. Sea Scout help. Fieldhouse has the biggest camp in years. Needs for some of these facilities was noted in addition to safety issues crossing Cornell Dr. at the fieldhouse.

We Celebrate and Thank:
+ Chicago Park District Facilities Dept (Bob Arlow) for ongoing work to get the lights on at night in the Iowa Building,
+ Landscaping and Forestry departments for trimming up the trees at the Iowa so that all can see what is happening inside; and for weed whacking and mowing the Iowa and Jackson Park this week, and major pruning through the park including by the northwest playgrounds,
+ the Security Department for frequent patrols, for working with 2nd and 3rd Districts to have plain clothes and uniformed police covering the Iowa and the 2 other trouble spots in Jackson Park around the clock this week and removing the bad guys who have appeared during the warm weather,
+ The recycling and garbage departments for doubling the number of blue and green and red cans in the park and picking up trash at LaRabida this week,
+ Gardeners and landscapers (staff, contractor, and volunteers) who keep up the Japanese Garden and the Perennial Garden at 59th/Stony,
+Alonzo Williams and Daphne Johnson for meeting with us,
+Michael Kelly and Patrick Lavar for your support and guidance, being honest with us, and sending new people and programs for our kids.

And late July 2014- preparing for Shakespeare in the Park and more:
The landscaping department completed removing the low limbs that hide late nite park prostitution, and drug dealers through to 60th street. I have worked closely with them and thanked them profusely for their hard work and sent emails to their boss Mike Brown telling them we are grateful.
The Iowa Building Lights are on at Night this week. and no drunken events happened there at night this week. I emailed Bob our huge thanks.
Bob also added a line to our playground signs, saying the "playground is closed at night" making it easier for police to remove the prostitutes.
Many thanks to all of you who helped get the back to school bags for our park kids this week. Thank you Dwight for picking up the school supplies donation from Dr. Anne Ridgeway, pharmacist at Walgreens at 71st and Jeffery and for helping load the supplies into the bags. (Also to Kaufman and Kaufman Smile Design Studio for the backpacks and to Wallace Goode of Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce for facilitating the bags.)
Thanks to all of you who helped clean up and remove the limbs and litter from the Music Court.

We give thanks to the many service and corporate groups who have worked in the park this summer, including Sept. 20 and 21 and 27 to name recent. More are coming as the work season comes to a close.


Jackson Park Advisory Council per vote at AC meeting, supported at the August 10 2016 CPD board meeting renaming the 67th Ridgeland Playlot for Vaquero Tallaserio Riccardo Sims, who worked much with children and parents at the playlot and nearby and died in an auto accident in 2014. Petitions have been submitted. Should the Park District naming body recommend, the Board will initiate a 45-day public comment period. The playlot was recently renewed. SEPTEMBER 10, 2016, SATURDAY, NON -5- RIBBON CUTTING AND PICNIC 67TH AND RIDGELAND.

The park district filled holes and addressing the immediate problems of drainage by and in the parking lot of the 59th tennis courts and dog exercise area.
Persistent drainage problem in the Marquette underpass is being pursued- and the water has been partially decontaminated, but the underpass belongs to CDOT, which has not yet responded.

57th St. beach underpass cleaned- what will follow there? New volunteer natural areas task force formed. There are still problems with flooding of the Marquette underpass.

Natural resources has established a brand new natural areas year round team, all young, strong, and enthusiastic. They spent November 23 2015 clearing and carrying away the invasives, garbage, poop, and overspreading tall grass at the 57th street underpass and beach hill. This is the area required 2 full days to clean up in the spring. It looks open, safe,and wonderful! This work simulates the natural fall die off and regeneration of grasses (often accompanied in nature by wildfire, not appropriate here.) The rose bushes are still there. Now there is a year round CPD natural areas team to help volunteers do this in our parks. (adapted from communication from Louise McCurry).

JPAC has submitted a request with documentation for new play equipment at the playground at 67th and Chappel. This was completed. As of August 2016, new equipment was installed at 67th an Ridgeland but not yet open and is slated for 67th and Cornell. Some other improvements at these sites are asked and a ribbon cutting party will be scheduled at 67th and Ridgeland. Renaming of Ridgeland playlot is requested (see above)

Statues near Jackson Park to be renewed
Two commemorative works of public art near the park are in line for restoration.
Thanks to persistence and gift of a Hyde Park family (not related Mr. Wallach) and diligence of Park District staff and experts, the David Wallach Memorial Fountain on Promontory Point is expected to be restored in the spring. In 1894, David Wallach (about whom little is known) left a sum for a sculpture and park fountain that would slake the thirst of man and beast. The David Wallach Memorial was installed and dedicated in 1939. Elizabeth Haseltine Hibbard designed the bronze fawn, and her husband Frederick Cleveland Hibbard designed the fountain which has a pool at the base that serves pets and wildlife. The fountain has leaked periodically. The fawn was stolen at one time, but recovered. The brownish granite of the polished base was formed about 2 billion years ago and has wonderful crystalline facets of feldspar, biolite, mica, and hornblende.
The Women’s Bench. At the base of the sledding hill on the east side of the tracks crossing the Midway just west of Jackson Park is a stone bench installed in 1930 after the raising of funds from all over the country, in memory of Chicago and the neighborhood’s first women in the Illinois General Assembly and the struggle for the vote for women. The Hyde Park Herald at the time suggested a plaza in front to the bench to Stony Island Ave., where the Women’s and the Children’s buildings stood during the World’s Fair. The bench is under expert evaluation by the Park District concerning restoration and possibilities for outside interest explored by MPAC and JPAC.

December 12 a body was pulled from the lagoon or basin, it appears by Darrow Bridge.

FOUND AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE SITE OF THE PHOENIX PAVILION: During excavation of the setting for Yoko Ono's Sky Landing sculpture (scheduled for installation June 2016), in the lawn west of the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island, concrete footing from the Phoenix Pavilion of the Columbian Exposition, about 15 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet high was dug up and is now placed on the lawn.

John LeNoble, an early member of JPAC passionate about the sports and recreational facilities in Jackson Park, passed away in October 2015. RIP

John LeNoble was from Roseland. He and his sisters went to Fenger High School. John liked to invent things, even things to improve our game. He gave us some plastic knives with a groove dug out of the tip, like a dandelion weeder. We were to keep it in our pocket to weed while we bowled. Sometimes he would do a flag ceremony at the bowling green for the 4th of July, lining up chairs for us to listen to him recite "Ragged Old Flag" after we said the pledge of allegiance. He learned to lawn bowling in Columbus Park where another bowling house is still visible and the soccer field there is quite flat. Washington Park also had or still has a bowling house and there was a green at the South Shore Cultural Center.

John met his wife while serving overseas in England. Her heritage was Scottish and he really embraced all the Scottish heritage including this game of lawn bowling from Great Britain. They were married at the Drexel Park Presbyterian Church in Englewood in 1947. Several of us attended his 95th birthday last March where he recited a long history of what changes he lived through in that many years. At his wake, they had some of his little inventions for around the house on display. Since he never seemed to age, his passing surprised us, but he hadn't really come to bowl for two years. He was a member of the Palos Heights Kiwanis Club and the Illinois St. Andrew's Society among many other groups. His wife died a few years ago. They were happy to have their one daughter, a son-in-law and two grand daughters. He always kept track of your newsletter and I would sometimes meet him at one of your meetings, neither of us having known the other would show up there.

Thanks for your interest,

Lorrie Michael, Secretary to Lakeside Lawn Bowling Club

Walk throughs in early -mid November 2015 - rectifications are being made and more to be done along both sides of Lake Shore Drive in the 57th beach area to Iowa Building stretches. The grasses will be lowered and kept trim to add to safety and a compromise between shoreline naturalness and a semi-landscaped park. Further solutions to grasses and drainage problems at and north of 63re St. beach may need further consideration.

JPAC congratulates Ald. Hairston and those painting and decorating the 66th-67th St. viaducts. Midway and Jackson PACs have also been calling agencies attention with other viaducts further north. CDOT has worked with the communty and alderman to put in gardens 63rd -64th.
CDOT, Metra, and the Park District have cleaned up trash and invasives from the 59th station to 60th. Metra has rebuilt the platforms. Canadian National is moving toward cleanup of its section in this stretch.

Planning seems to be proceeding on the 59th.


Summer 2015 saw a large number of work groups including corporate, church, volunteer agencies, school, etc. that came, often by bus-- to work on our beaches (esp. Sept. 19 with Alliance for the Great Lakes), La Rabida shores, Bobolink and Wooded Island, the playgrounds, Iowa bldg, and general park cleanups. Groups included Mount Carmel High School, FUFG, Chicago Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and many more.

This summer we renewed and re spread the wood chips in various playgrounds.

Plan is under review to reconstitute the interior mulch trail on the island.

May 17 2015 JPAC held a successful gala to raise funds for kid's programs in the park- "Sundae in the Park with JPAC" at South Shore Cultural Center. See pictures in the June Newsletter pdf w pictures. If that is too long a download, use this: June Newsletter pdf.

JPAC AND THE GALA COMMITTEE THANK OUR SPONSORS, ALL WHO ATTENDED, DONATED TO OR AT, OR PRESENTED / PERFORMED AT OR HELPED OUR MAY 17 “Sundae in the Park” fundraiser at South Shore Cultural Center. Special thanks to the Gala Committee: Frances Vandervoort, Dwight Powell, Cherry Theard, Donna Hughes, Ruby Haughton-Pitts, Louise McCurry, Anne Marie Miles, Brenda Nelms, Gary Ossewaarde, and Jake Young. Also to Chicago Park District, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, & George Rumsey. Highlights: Curtis Black jazz trio, South Shore Opera Company singers, Eva Lewis on saving/repurposing the South Shore Cultural Center, JPAC Photo Contest winner Melodie Jovorka, Andy Howard of Chicago Wilderness, our MC’s, raffle and silent auction—what great bargains!, kid’s resource/activity tables, decorations, and the sundaes from the Parrot Cage Restaurant at South Shore Cultural Center.

HONORING A CULTURAL HERO. JPAC was a proud participant and supporter of renaming the 31st St. Beach and Park the Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs Beach and Park Feature of Burnham Park.

August 11 at 31st Beach, a fine press release with officials, the Chicago Park District, and community groups was held for naming 29.75 acres of beach and park for Margaret Burroughs. The next day formal approval was voted by the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, who waived the normal 45 day comment period due to overwhelming public support. Margaret Gross Turner Burroughs, 1917-2010, born in Mississippi, was from youth an active participant in the artistic, social and political life of Chicago's Bronzeville and the Bronzeville Renaissance, a poet, writer, artist, educator, and activist throughout her long life. She was the longest-serving CPD Commissioner, serving until her death. She was a founder of both the South Side Community Art Center and of what became the DuSable Museum of African American History, the latter started in her house. Her concerns and service were broad, including for African Americans, women, children, and the incarcerated- and her reputation was worldwide. A collection of her artwork and memorabilia can be viewed in the Margaret Burroughs Gallery in the South Shore Cultural Center, in the two museums she co-founded, in large murals in the 53rd St. Metra underpass, and in many collections.
JPAC appreciates, among other help for the park, her support of the rehabilitation and landmarking of the historic 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion and naming of its upper terraces for former JPAC President Eric Hatchett, who worked for the restoration and for children's programs.

The 31st Beach and Park were an important part of the extension of shore land under Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, providing new recreational and natural land for then densely populated South Side and Bronzeville-- the only beach in the early 20th century where black persons could go It was also the location (c26th St. part of the beach) of the beating and drowning of an African American youth who had strayed into the white-claimed section of beach, which incident sparked the days-long Race Riot of 1919.
Margaret's mantra was “What shall I tell my children….,” what will my legacy be?

Iowa building reports:
September: The Park District will restore water supply for a garden JPAC will plant on the north side of the Iowa building. Decisions are being made on the plants and bulbs.

Aug. 17 2015 Thank You for taking part in our fact finding walk through of the historic Iowa Building and the Midway Plaisance.
First the State budget cuts have severely hurt the CPD and their assistance to Community parks
Iowa Building. CPD Historic Lake Front Picnic Shelter proposed garden walk through with LIz CPD Com. Gardens Director,Fran, Louise, Ken, Roger H
- CPD is fixing the faucet and hose access
- money or Green Corp staff for building raised bed and dirt for raised bed is not available through CPD
-Liz suggested a wire border
- Fran suggested asking [The Resource Center's help in getting dirt and raised beds.
-UNUM and Home Depot will donate bulbs.

JPAC voted in August to ask for 10,000 Ripples- 2 heads for a year.


Three exquisitely painted two-sided sliding door panels (fusima) from the Phoenix Pavilion were recently found in Chicago Park District storage, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office. Part of the gift of Japan to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the City of Chicago in perpetuity, the Phoenix Pavilion was sited on Wooded Island just west of the present Japanese Garden. The recently discovered panels are the only significant survivors of fires that destroyed the structure in the 1940’s, other than four magnificent carved and painted panels from the upper interior transom that were likewise discovered, in the 1970’s and restored and hung in 2011 in the Asian galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like those panels, the door paintings feature large animated birds (phoenix?) in landscape, here flat and against a bright gold background. Each was distinct and would have given the sections of the pavilion their own special ambiance. Artist Hashimoto Gaho covered an inner wooden fretwork with paper, then attached the painted surfaces (the paintings last), then fitted black lacquer frames over the edges of the cores. The doors slid on waxed grooves in accord with traditional Japanese construction methods. Park District historian Julia Bachrach documented and confirmed the provenance, with further authentication by Janice Katz and Rachel Freeman of the Art Institute of Chicago. While described as in decent, moderately stable condition according to newspaper reports, conservation is necessary, as well as decisions about where and how to display the panels.

In the press release, Ms. Katz said “These painting bring to life, in vivid color, a moment of history that had previously been lost forever.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel added, “At a time when we are working to honor Jackson Park’s historic past by revitalizing the park to restore Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision, it is a thrilling development to have found original artwork from the 1893 Exposition.” Parks General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said, “The Rediscovered paintings remind us of the lush history that lives in Chicago Parks.” Read about the restored Phoenix transom panels in the September 2011 JPAC Newsletter, at

For additional context on the doors related to Frank Lloyd Wright, visit this link to an outstanding article including pictures of the doors by Claire Voon that appears in Hyperallergic August 31, 2015, sent along by our friend Stephen Treffman. How a Set of Rediscovered 19th-Century Japanese Doors Leads to Frank Lloyd Wright


Horses are back! July 25, 2015 Louise McCurry ( writes:

Team JPAC and Team Midway
At 5 pm today 20 horses and riders 5 police or sheriff department instructors and 15 teens were riding a circular path from the Iowa Building past Dickerson down to the Midway and around MSI and back again. It was an awesome sight . Every kid in the park had their eyes focused on the horses. We have not had riding lessons in the park in at least 20 Years. Wouldn't it be great for our kids to be able to ride in their own neighborhood again. The developmental studies show riding produces independence, responsibility and compassion for others, besides being great fun.
What do you think?
Shows they can get around the parks. PS, technically it seems to b against PD rules, at least without a permit- Gary

But that weekend also problems- Kenneth Newman reports- A large picnic at the IOWA Building included people driving their motorcycles into the building. people were also riding their motorcycles in the two underpaths at 57th street. Cars being driven onto the POINT from LSD,... called 911, but NO cops ever came. McCurry noted that there were at least two parties at Iowa, no obvious drugs, motorcycles on the walked,but chess was being played.
McCurry reported continuing night gatherings (10-20) at the Dickerson playlot (56th and Stony) - dime bags, multiple liquor bottles,tampons, sanitary pads, lubricant, toilet paper,and adult human excrement under the slides. Specific requests included patrol, lighting, returning or later UC policeman at 56th and HPBlvd.

And the "ladies", druggies et al are gone again (week of July 27) thanks to 3rd district attention.
63rd St. Beach has some problems at certain times, esp. with alcohol and crowding. Police do block entry tot he lot when full.

[Police continue to discourage the prostitutes.]

LaRabida: Great accomplishments by CPD and UNUM August 21 2015 and before

Because the CPD landscape team picked up the visible bottles cans and debris from the LaRabida Paths , my Friday corporate UNUM volunteers were able to instead clear all the wheel chair paths to the beach on the North and South Promenades, remove all the trees that were growing into the Historic 1893 White City Wall, remove the trees growing into the historic carved rocks on North Promenade ,and remove the invasive species from the historic Lilly garden on the outer Harbor banks and remove 30 bags of vegetation covered bottles and cans from the North and South Beaches.
We left piles of Beaver cut logs and beach covering invasive species for pickup at West harbor beach entrance, North Promenade beach entrance wall and South Promenade entrance wall.
My volunteers from University Center and UNUM thank you because they were able to make a great historic area ,a healthy, beautiful, and welcoming place for our Families and Children and a place of peace for the families of dying and dead children at LaRabida.
A walk through with CPD's Cathy Brietenbach followed.
Growing problems are loss of mortar, hence endangerment, of the point battlement, how to keep the stones from being thrown on the outer shore while protecting LaRabida and the "beach" and encouraging natural sand deposition.

Shoreline erosion and sand deprivation. An important two articles by Tony Briscoe appeared in the Monday August 24 Chicago Tribune. They offer a thorough background and quite extensive review of options regarding shore bottom, shoreline protection, and sand replenishment on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan. This is of special concern th JPAC with. regard to LaRabida hospital and peninsula.

10,000 Ripples. Read about by itself. In August JPAC voted to ask for two heads for a year.

A proposed art project by 10,000 Ripples for the Iowa Building facility promoting peace was presented and discussed at the June 8 council meeting- 10,000 Ripples may install large white Buddha heads emerging from earth at Iowa buildings to be a focus of peace, anti violence and mentoring programs at the Iowa building. It could grow elsewhere on the South Side. a public engagement project will have to come first and installation will begin when the contract runs out at another of 19 sites in Chicago.

At the July meeting (at the Iowa building) the ideas were explained to a larger audience and input sought.
At the August meeting JPAC passed a resolution of approval for two "heads" on rises near the Iowa building, when available from another park, to stay about a year. Whether and what kind of further public input is required is not known.

At the August 2015 meeting JPAC passed a resolution approving and asking for two heads at the Iowa building.

From the June 8 2015 JPAC meeting.

Guest presentation. 10,000 Ripples- Public Art, Peace, and Civic Engagement. Indira Johnson, artist and 2013 Woman of the Year and teacher at the School of the Art Institute presented, along with Mark Rodriguez, Executive Director of Changing Worlds. Indira showed how the several indoor and outdoor installations led to the program and collaborative of c35 organizations that has resulted in installations in 19 Chicago communities so far of sets of white Buddha heads emerging from the earth and of programs and spaces for peace, personal reflection, and outreach in violence reduction. The heads are made of cast fiberglass filled with sand and generally anchored in concrete. Each community set its own themes and goals, sites, and programs or activities—indeed the process of community engagement, input, dealing with community differences, and planning itself served often as a catalyst for change as well as a sense of ownership, community upkeep, and new community collaborations. The number of heads at each varies from one or two to nearly a dozen, and the sites chosen by the communities vary from beaches to street corners to the front of a church, and more recently parks such Palmisono (2700 S. Halsted)- even the back of a truck to be moved around! Indira and Mark emphasized that outreach with community stakeholder groups (including schools) and a full community decision-making process must take place, and unless there is independent funding to make more heads, a community must wait until the one-year residency of a set of heads in a park runs out before heads can be installed. To learn more:,, 10000 Ripples on Facebook, and a booklet.

President McCurry explained that Jackson Park reached out to 10,000 bubbles and the Park District to start the conversation and suggested the Iowa building location on 56th St. as an example of a beautiful historic structure that needs peace healing (a homicide having occurred a year ago, for example), needs to have something that makes more of a destination so that repairs and upkeep are justified, and the place is a logical place (next to the retirement community) for peaceful reflection and small gatherings and activities as well as teaching and programming for youth. (There are already some tai chi etc. there.) The Iowa building has also attracted the interest of architects and outside groups such as the School of the Art Institute. JPAC can do some short term improvements there also, such as plant a shade-plant peace garden, McCurry said.

Members of the audience asked many questions and were enthusiastic about the 10,000 Bubbles programs and the possibilities for the location, asked for it for other sites on the South Side, and were interested in starting a process of community engagement and input. 5th Ward Office—Lanita Ross-- will help coordinate.

Dwight Powell said in regard to engagement that he met with the kids in the gym, as has the president and with their families, to let them know the many supplies and goods JPAC has given park kids and the fieldhouse and to ask for their input in decisions and participation—the tip of the iceberg in needed outreach and collaboration. Perhaps we could have a special meeting with the kids. He said preparing the gala was a wakeup call on need outreach citing the work and advice of Donna Hodge.

The so-called Iowa building was built in 1936 by WPA, architect E.V. Buchsbaum. The limestone building across 56th Street from Jackson Towers and Montgomery Place in the northeast corner of Jackson Park has been mistakenly called the Iowa Building since built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Depression in 1936 and opened the next year to serve as a place for rest, concessions, and washrooms. It replaced a similar nearby comfort station but had indeed served as part of the Iowa Pavilion during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, hence the confusion. The earlier building was a bit north and where 56th St. meets modern South Lake Shore Drive and was removed for expansion of the Drive, originally named Columbus in one direction and Leif Erickson the other. It was once a beach house and concession stand for 57th Beach and site of parties and children's activities. Later it was neglected and became home to drug, gang, and homeless activities, and even an occasional shooting. In the 2010's efforts have been made to police, clean up and repair it and some use it for exercises et al. Several ideas have been proposed for rehabilitation, security, and reprogramming, including in 2015 by a class of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and 10,000 ripples.

Learn more about the Iowa building in the Iowa page, with views.

In winter-spring 2015, a class in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago divided up to do several projects re-magining the Iowa building physically and pragmatically.The theme was memories. These ranged from a drama featuring the building and people who had used it, to recreating or painting suggestions of its former use as a beach house to a major side and underground set of additions to create an art creation and gallery and programming space.
May 8, JPAC and Montgomery Place hosted a presentation by students and two teachers, including Odile Compagnon, and a shorter version was given at the May 11 JPAC meeting. Both were well-received.

May 2015 meeting- . JPAC unanimously elected two stalwart members of our Gala committee, Jake Young and Cherry Theard as non-officer members of the JPAC board, with charge to oversee membership and website. They can be reached at and
We had updates including on the ACE Project (and were given laminated signs), sizzling park programs, and the gala. And a class from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago shared projects re-imagining the Iowa Building. (They gave a longer program May 8 at Montgomery Place).

May 2015 the membership added two additional, advisory members to the board: Jake R. Young and Cherry Theard to head up our membership, web, and media growth. Congratulations!

Good birding continues at Bobolink Meadow and elsewhere in the park despite the fencing and closure of Wooded Island: Mary Nell Murphy wrote in Good Neighbors May 3: It was also a good birding day Saturday morning at Bobolink Meadows. Despite the construction and fencing the Saturday morning walks continue - every Saturday at 8 am. There were 20 valiant birders and 57 species. More shorebirds due to the drained west lagoons.
There are also highly successful and popular monthly bird walks in Washington Park.

Pickleball is back- Pickleball- an exciting senior friendly game that uses whiffleballs- Sundays at 4 pm at the 59th St. Marina Tennis Courts. From Lake Shore Drive at 5800 veer left past the bowling green and over the Music Court Bridge. search Chicago Pickleball.
And lawn bowling and croquet have started again Sats and Suns at the bowling green.

Project 120 and Olmsted Landscape Architect Patricia O'Donnell (Heritage Landscapes LLC) presented "Revitalizing Historic Jackson Park: Integrating Heritage and Ecology, Sustainability and Resilience in Chicago" at the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects in St. Petersburg, Russia June 10 2015. Ms. O'Donnell has overseen hundreds of Olmsted restoration and maintenance projects and is consultant overseeing the current ACE/CPD project in Jackson Park's natural and landscape areas as well as framework planning for the entire park which is co-sponsored by Project 120 Chicago. (See information on the projects in ACE2014 page and in this page below for Project 120, with links.

May 19 2015. As reported in the May 20 Chicago Sun-Times (spokesperson Cathy Breitenbach, Director of Natural Resources), the Chicago Park District this year is using the "fast-test" UIC pilot project at 5 Chicago beaches-- Calumet, Rainbow, South Shore, 63rd, 57th, and Montrose. In this method, samples are taken c. 8 am, sent to UIC lab where counts DNA fragments of indicator E. coli bacteria are taken, and the results reported in early afternoon rather than the next morning, as when is the case when whole cells are counted. The old method will continue to be used also, as at all the Chicago Beaches. 235 remains the count threshold for swim warnings. Swim bans are only issued when there is a special condition such as storms or flushing of sewage into the Lake. The warnings, as will storm/rip tide conditions are via flags (red indicating closed), messages at the beaches, and online including at the CPD website. Various pro-active measures are taken to discourage sources of pathogens, including using dogs and other means of dispersing gulls on various beaches, and discouraging unsanitary human practices.

2014 2015- very good years.

JPAC has sought traffic safety relief on Cornell Drive, especially for kids. Under funding from Alderman Hairston (and nomination in community participatory budgeting), there will be safety improvements (mainly to signals, timing, and marking) at 59th St. within 13-16 months from September 2014, and the park district will install a camera. 6400 at the fieldhouse poses significant difficulties to rectification and a best solution can be sought later. South Parks planning produced a concept of considerable change, but many consider it to be too drastic. Possible selection of the area for the Obama Library will complicate planning.

The Park District has inspected the Iowa bldg. and is zeroing in on solving the light problem. The Park District board is interested in reactivating the building-- it is out for estimates. 2nd district police will use it for two of its CAPS meetings in summer 2015.

Large groups participated in the Beach Sweep under Alliance for the Great Lakes at 57th and 63rd beaches. Participating were the Chicago Japanese Chamber of Commerce and FUFG (?) financial and legal firm team led by Hosana Okamura. FUFG is the group that planted the cherry trees in the vicinity of Osaka Garden and the north shore of the east lagoon.
Alliance for the Great Lakes weighs and assesses every kind of waste, down to cigarette butts. They also test the water and teach what to watch for. Many other work groups including students have also been here.

The Nike World Basketball Festival was hosted in mid August 2014 in Jackson Park, basically along Hayes Dr/63rd from the 63rd beach pavilion area. (Some facilities wil continue to be inaccessible through August 21.) The Festival was a spectacular success, left behind at least 3 state of the art basketball facilities, and superb clinics and youth mentoring by the Nike super stars.

Hyde Park Historical Society held a wonderful Hyde Park Stories Share- Parks at Montgomery Place August 17. Jackson Park was perhaps the star of people's memories, and JPAC president Louise McCurry focused on how the park and the famous events it has hosted have been transformative.

WITS reading program, at which starting this summer c15 volunteer read for 45 minutes on Thursdays to kids in the day camp, culminated July 31 with a gift from WITS of over 80 books to permanently re-invigorate a library of kids books in the fieldhouse and also JPAC's annual gift of a filled backpack to each attending child. The backpacks this year are funded by Kaufman and Kaufman Smile Design Studio (dentistry) in Hyde Park, as part of a program of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the University of Chicago. Not returning to Jackson in 2015, but will be at Nichols fieldhouse.

From Angelo at WITS: July 31st, will be the final day of WITS at Jackson Park for the summer. To mark the end of program, WITS will be donating 80+ books of assorted titles, both fiction and non-fiction, to help build the children’s library at the park. These books will be accessible to all children who attend the park throughout the year!

For more information about WITS (Working in the SchoolNOWSELAEDs) and how you can volunteer at locations year round, visit JPAC says "Thanks to all involved!"

Darrow Bridge- To JPAC Herald Letter 2014
From January 2018 JPAC Newsletter. By Gary Ossewaarde

The bridge was inspected in late 2013, partially due to repeated requests from JPAC for repairs. Chicago Department of Transportation closed the bridge in November 2013. JPAC gathered petitions and approached authorities in the Park District and city and state and federal bodies and officeholders about the importance of both access to Wooded Island from the parking lot to the east of the bridge and east west access through the park, including for elderly and persons of disabilities, and also the importance of historic restoration. In August 2014 CDOT officers came to the JPAC meeting to announce funding for study and design, but not construction, and that this matter will take time to resolve. See links to petitions etc.

Update may 2016. The Chicago Department of Transportation will ask on a hearing on June 13, 2016 before IDOT for allocation of $2M for restoration of Darrow Bridge, whose official project title is now "Columbia Dr. "Clarence Darrow" Bridge/59th Street Access to Lakefront Trail." JPAC and other stakeholders/organizations are submitting letters of support that will be given as part of the record to IDOT Secretary Randall Blankenhorn.

Update November 2015. According to Sam Rappaport in the Herald, CDOT Director of Public Relations Mike Claffey said: “The City of Chicago has selected Stanley Consultants for the Engineering Study and Design of the Columbian Bridge. We expect the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to be given to the consultant in the very near future. They would then be able to start the Engineering Study (Phase I) and Design (Phase II).” In practice, Claffey said, construction could begin late 2018 or 2019. This continued slippage has many who visit Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden, and need to go through the park east to west frustrated.

By SAM RAPPAPORT [Herald evening digest, November 18, 2015]
Staff Writer
With construction on Wooden Island scheduled for completion in six months, the condition of the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge is posed to inconvenience many Chicagoans hoping to experience a revamped Jackson Park.
Five years ago, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) called into question the safety of the Darrow Bridge, located in the northern section of Jackson Park–just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Due to its state of decay, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic through the park. Just over a year ago, the continuing degeneration of the bridge caused it to be closed to pedestrian traffic as well. The Darrow Bridge remains the only path of access to Wooded Island and the Japanese Gardens from the east side of the park.
President of the Jackson Park Advisory Council Louise McCurry said that for over three years she’s been in negotiations with CDOT to get the bridge up to standards.
“For the last three years, we consistently get the same story,” McCurry said.
Strapped for cash, CDOT first provides construction funds to bridges that experience high levels of traffic. Because of this, The Darrow Bridge sits low on the the city’s list of priorities.
Additionally, because the bridge, built in the late 1880's, holds a unique place in Hyde Park’s history, its reconstruction must be done according to specific, historic standards. This process takes more time and more money than is usually the case for typical construction projects.
Though, a restrained optimism might be freshly appropriate for the future of the Darrow Bridge. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, CDOT said that construction on the bridge could begin in 2018.
“The City of Chicago has selected Stanley Consultants for the Engineering Study and Design of the Columbian Bridge,” said Mike Claffey, Director of Public Affairs for CDOT. “We expect the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to be given to the consultant in the very near future. They would then be able to start the Engineering Study (Phase I) and Design (Phase II).”
Claffey explained that construction on the bridge is estimated to begin two to three years after the NTP is given. That would place the earliest possible construction date in late 2018 or early 2019.
McCurry responded to the news with a renewed sense of hope.
“This process is longer than anything I’ve experienced,” McCurry said. “But this is great news, because at least there’s a process laid out.”
She continued, “This bridge is an amazing part of Hyde Park history, and we commend CDOT for sticking with it.”

Update March 2015. A nicer but much more effective fence has been erected.
Funding has been identified and a design plan developed. Work is scheduled to commence in 2017.
A new, better-looking fence has been put across the Darrow Bridge. Public crossing is not allowed.

Darrow Bridge update (Aug. 14, 2014 JPAC meeting). Chicago Department of Transportation. Luis Benitez, bridge engineer.

Funding has been secured for phases 1, design study, and 2, full design, but not yet for the construction. While the study will take only a few months (and include laser scanning the entire bridge), full design and its approval will likely take at least two years (before construction could start) following the law (which designates this bridge historic) for complete historic restoration. However, that reconstruction will nevertheless allow having both a traffic lane (max. allowed 36 tons as nominally for the present bridge) and a bike-pedestrian lane. Mr. Benitez confirmed that the bridge truly is compromised structurally and could not just be covered over for pedestrian-bike passage in the meantime. Some of the compromise is from damage done, and the access to the understructure, reopened about 12 years ago, will be permanently blocked.

A temporary foot bridge would cost at least a half million, need to be structurally sound and safe and require time also. Asked about the ugly, off-putting closure fencing, he said other funding would have to be found and replacement would also have to effectively close the bridge to passage. Members pointed out that blocked access to the Island from the parking lot east of the bridge and the cut off of east-west access through the park to the lakefront in this north half of the park are a serious, untenable burden to the park and community and that JPAC should seek a temporary solution such as a footbridge until the bridge is historically restored.

Regulations and procedures are very complex, including even putting the bridge up “for sale” and doing an environmental impact study. One of the practical problems is that this is a “small” non-traffic bridge and project, so getting fast tracking and then the interest of contractors (who have lots of projects in tow now) will not be easy. On the other hand, a 80-20 federal-state SACC match may be possible. Construction is not expected to start before some time in 2017 or 2018.

Letter to HP Herald re Darrow Bridge (issue of October 1 2014)

The Jackson Park Advisory Council salutes the federal government for making available tens of millions of dollars to construct three pedestrian bridges over South Lake Shore Drive between 35th and 43rd Streets (Chicago Tribune, September 14, 2014). Convenient access to Lake Michigan for residents of South Kenwood, Oakwood, and the slightly more distant Bronzeville is in keeping with the democratic spirit espoused by park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, who with city fathers Aaron Montgomery Ward and Daniel Burnham agreed that the Lakefront should remain forever open, free, and clear.

Some twenty blocks south of the sites for these bridges, another bridge cries for help. For several years, the historic Clarence Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park has been falling apart. The Bridge’s original Beaux Arts railings and other fixtures, so in keeping with the grand style of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, are rusted, bent, or missing. The rockwork supporting the Bridge from beneath is spalling and stained from weather and smoke from illegal fires. Rusted support beams and fractured macadam make the Bridge unsafe for any form of vehicular traffic. In other words, the public is denied safe, legal access to the park and lakefront, both of which are legally theirs to enjoy.

Suppose you are an elderly Japanese-American who, to this nation's retrospective embarrassment, spent almost all of the World War II years in an internment camp in the West. You have come to Chicago to visit the most famous Japanese cultural site in the Midwest, the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island in Jackson Park. You have heard that the Garden is a shrine to the tremendous contributions made by Imperial Japan to the World Columbian Exposition of 1893. You want to see it before you die.

You arrive at the parking lot immediately south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Your relatives assist you into your wheel chair for the planned excursion to the Garden, but you can travel only a short distance before you are stopped by high, chain-link panels bearing a sign announcing, in huge letters, ROAD CLOSED. Is this another kind of insult?

Hardy individuals – committed trekkers, birders, joggers, and bicyclists have pried open the panels blocking access to the Bridge. Physically impaired individuals are left out.

Since the mid-1880s, the Bridge has been crossed by people traveling by foot, carriage, or other vehicular means from the east “Lake Michigan side” or the west “Stony Island side.” The Bridge was the way to go to get to the west side of Jackson Park, Wooded Island, the Midway Plaisance, and points beyond. Or it was the way to get to Lake Michigan, the vast meadow now known as Bobolink Meadow, or the tennis courts or North Harbor. In 1957 it officially became the Clarence Darrow Bridge in tribute to Hyde Park’s great trial lawyer. Every March 13, the anniversary of Darrow’s 1938 death, politicians, historians, family members, and various individuals of liberal bent gather at the Bridge to honor his memory by tossing a wreath into the lagoon’s friendly waters.

We South Siders rejoice that new pedestrian bridges across South Lake Shore Drive will open Chicago's Lakefront to families and other groups from North Kenwood, Oakwood, and Bronzeville. We all agree, however, that Jackson Park, so very near Lake Michigan, should be accessible to all. It would cost five million dollars to restore the Darrow Bridge to its original beauty and function, far less than the tens of millions of dollars required for bridge repair and construction over Lake Shore Drive. An intact Darrow Bridge would complement the new bridges and complete local access to the great treasure that is Lake Michigan. It is an investment that must be made.

Jackson Park Advisory Council
Louise McCurry, President
Frances S. Vandervoort [author]

We lose one of our kids.

Antonio Smith, aged 9, was brutally killed in or near a back yard near his home at 73rd and Woodlawn on August 20 2014. He was active in the Jackson Park team and daycamp programs and in the WITS reading program at the park and a typical kid. He loved to read and joke and play. A service in the fieldhouse was held Friday, August 22, 4 pm. Four suspects were caught mid September. Trials are coming up.

Shootings with one death in or near the Iowa shelter 1700 block of 56th St. June 22 c. 7:15 pm.

From the July 14 2014 JPAC meeting- see below in Recent Meetings.

By Gary Ossewaarde

Security and shootings June 2014
Some robberies have occurred in the 57th LSD (and 55th) underpasses and approach streets/paths 56th and 57th Dr. and at the 57th St. Beach.

The most serious incident was the shooting including one death and one injured in the Iowa building across from Montgomery Place Sunday June 22 early evening (details below).
Alderman Hairston held a meeting the following day at which strong views were expressed including how well the Iowa building and surrounds was being or could be patrolled and whether it was an attractant. Similar concerns were expressed at the July 14 JPAC meeting and a CAPS beat meeting for the 2nd District July 15.
At the JPAc meeting, at least 4 high level officers from the 3rd District talked (chief spokesperson being Captain Sean Loughran of the 3rd District, and answered numerous questions and the 2nd district commander was able to attend briefly.
Police described strategy and took lots of information about shifting problems in various parts of the park. JPAC safety committee members described how they and others try to keep an eye out, clean up etc. especially in the Iowa building and along 56th Street, but continued to see evidence that people gather there for illicit or quality of life issues. The lights continue to be a headache despite repeated attempts of the Park District to fix them. The Park District has kept the area trimmed of foliage overgrowth behind which offenders can hide. Communication will continue.
Esther Schechter, who walks the park a lot and is on the JPAC safety reporting committee, said she nonetheless feels safe walking in the park.

The man killed was a 34- year-old wheelchair-bound person, Ovadiyah Chandler, a resident of Hyde Park, (His brother, 43 was the other person shot) said to live in the 5400 block of Cornell. Both men were documented gang members--but one should be careful of what that meant, given the background of conditions and pressures esp. but not exclusively for African American youth in schools incl. in HPK going way back, and life is hard for such persons, especially if disabled. Ovadiyah at least known to have sold drugs (a complicated question given the justice/penal pipeline and disparities)- and who makes up the market? Not just folks from miles away. He did have friends and is reported by neighbors to have been friendly and served as a safe-passage to schools volunteer, said (according to DNAinfo) to have been rapping a few minutes before the assault. He did sometimes frequent area playgrounds under circumstances that were questioned. Nevertheless, Ovadiah was gunned down in cold blood following an argument in which, according to direct police statement and witnesses, he refused to the person who then shot him to not-testify against him - shot twice in the head at close range in broad daylight Although Police said at Monday's meeting that the the assailant(s) were from well out of the area, this seems hard to mesh with other information. Weeks later no one was in custody.

DNAinfo (Hyde Park-Kenwood, by Sam Cholke- has the most thorough coverage of any media on this and other misuses and criminal activity (and also good things) in Jackson Park, especially at the north stretch from Stony Island east. (There are problems every year, at least in early summer). Most media and the U of C were silent on these shootings except for a short notice on a back page in the Wednesday June 25 issue-- but a e-blast ( was issued on the 25th. .-- SunTimes makes you go online to for a simplified notice.
Minutes of the Alderman's monthly meeting, below, and read as pdf) were disseminated by the East Hyde Park Kenwood Coalition, a watchdog and recommending body of buildings representatives

Alderman Hairston called a meeting quickly for Monday evening at Montgomery Place. Attending were the 3rd police district commander, officers from the 2nd district and University of Chicago Police, and officials from the Chicago Park District. Two rooms were packed, one with remote large screen projection. Police said resources are being augmented in the area, but targeted shootings are hard to prevent. The resources include 2 squad cars (up from one), as many as 14 bike officers, and officers for the underpasses. UCPD has nine bike officers for that are often on the lakefront and a patrol zone east of the train viaducts. Other patrol details were shared.

The most important outcomes/recommendations were to:
1) have the Iowa Building effectively cleared and shut at 9 pm (JPAC would also like to see enforced the frequently-violated requirement that playgrounds are shut at 8 pm and that they be checked)
2) make the PD rule that parks are gun-free special safety zones a city ordinance as for school grounds, doubling the penalty for gun-related felonies in parks. (This would be introduced by Ald. Hairston Wed. June 27 and go to committee- residents will be able to speak at committee hearings, maybe in July)
3) increase proactive patrol and prompt clearance at park closing time and as needed- the alderman will seek also promised sweep of the pay lot on South Shore Drive and police to watch 55th and 56th
4) fix the lighting at the Iowa building etc.
5) examine whether the current cameras in the vicinity are sufficient.

Those at the meeting had many questions and suggestions s and desire that police follow through on past promises and diligence, and encourage people to report and witnesses to cooperate -- while also acknowledging the service we do get and relatively low crime rates in Hyde Park. Police shared personal safety tips.

JPAC officers were assured at a separate meeting that the PD does not and will not issue permits for gatherings in the Iowa building area; if large gatherings, especially with amplified equipment, are encountered, residents should call police and park security.
JPAC will hold a security review and ideas session at its picnic meeting July 14, 6:30 pm at the Iowa Building. One of the foci will be long-term solutions for the many ongoing abuses at the structure (which is historic, and the object is to change behavior and use). The council has been cleaning up the building and kicking out sleepers on a consistent basis-- (and one wonders why, if police are supposedly patrolling, the suspicious occupation and activities are continual).
JPAC is also undertaking an examination and monitoring program for security problems in the entire park. The Park District is likely to make some changes of its own. More


May 24 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.

Thank You to the One Summer youth jobs and service program and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a beach sweep in late July at the 63rd St. Beach.

Security and safety- from the July 14 2014 draft minutes (see update above on accomplishment by late July)

The primary agenda item was concerns and strategies for security in the park, particularly what was being done and should be done following the fatal shooting of Ovadiyah Chandler in the Iowa building on June 22, called by police an isolated incident and the subject of an ongoing investigation. The 3rd District city police has the primary responsibility in this park, southward from 56th St. Resources for the park, recently increased, include one dedicated car for the park (with backups), bike and foot, patrols, and special assignment teams, as explained by 3rd District Capt. Sean Loughran. Strategies include knowing and dealing with known offenders (and others seen in the act or reported) including by issuing citations for which recipients must show up in court, focused attention to “quality of life” violations, prompt or early closings (by 9 p.m. in the Iowa building area), shutting down large or loud-music groups as they emerge, checking “hiding places,” and return visits.

Chicago Park District has a roving car, uses “ticketing” to clear problem parking lots, and concentrates on the 63rd beach area and on evening closing of the park. Park District staff trims vegetation. CPD Security asst. chief Lorenzo Chew said closing earlier would not be helpful.

The public’s help is needed—to report problems to 911- and agreeing to stay near the scene available to be called back for updates or more details and to report large gatherings as they start so they can be checked for permits. President McCurry asked that people especially monitor playgrounds, and take care against theft from cars.

Attendees pointed out specific problems, places, and times for police to watch. For the Iowa building, lights were malfunctioning again despite ongoing repairs, and trash shows activity continues after closure and police leave. Esther Schechter, a diligent JPAC safety committee member, said that she feel safe walking in the park. Alderman Hairston endorsed requests for more fix up and an active program at the Iowa building beyond the exercise groups that are starting to use the area. She also announced a multi-ward Fire Department water safety demonstration at the 57th St. Beach July 24 3-4 p.m.

More updates. By the end of July, the lights were consistently on at night at the Iowa Building and the activities seem to have stopped. More pruning along 56th to Stony Island has resulted in (at least for now) end of activity in the playlots.

In early fall a youth conducted two separate assaults in the vicinity of 5700/5800 Lake Shore Drive. He was caught.

(From the same meeting) Swimming program for kids started in Jackson Park, but deficiency was observed.

JPAC, specifically Dwight Powell, JPAC treasurer, has worked for some time to implement a youth swimming program for the South Side. He found that funds are available for the South Side. Ability to swim is a highly important skill and is required for youth to take boating and related lessons. Powell reported swim lessons are available at Montrose Beach and at long last supposed to be at 63rd, but were not. [See follow up below*.]
CPD did respond to inquiries. JPAC learned that CPD no longer offers swimming classes at beaches, although some non-government entities (NGOs) do. CPD classes are at pools—and the CPD website says there are often wait lists. JPAC is concerned about no or poor lessons here, vs. at Montrose Beach. JPAC will vigorously work for lessons for our south side kids starting this summer.

Gary Ossewaarde was awarded this year's Golden Lady Award by JPAC for his work for JPAC, Jackson and other parks and community organizations.

The July minutes will appear in the August Newsletter by the end of July.

Earlier 2014 meetings have had fascinating speakers on such diverse topics as habitat restoration plans, Chicago bungalows, sculpture installations.
At the July meeting at the Iowa building constructive security discussion was held with with police, but it was also brought out that there are ongoing security and physical problems there. Major repairs have been made in various parts of the park.
JPAC makes an effort to recognize those who help and work for the park. At the July picnic meeting at the Iowa building Gary Ossewaarde was given JPAC's annual Golden Lady award.

August 2 2014, Spectralia Theater thrilled upwards of 45 spectators of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in the Music Court south of the parking lot south of the Museum basin. This program, JPAC hopes, will re-launch the Music court as a programming space. This area with a paved circle and walks radiating out in spokes was designed by the FL Olmsted's sons in one of the post-Fair plans and for many years had a band shell and performances. Spectralia's play is part of the Chicago Park District's (including the Culture and Nature and the Arts Partnerships divisions) special summer programming themed on theater, dance and other cultural activities throughout the parks. Naturally, district staff and JPAC did a great deal of work to get this part of the park ready. And JPAC trundled over chairs and brought water, snacks, and reading materials. Naturally, there are things to work on to make future programs successful (here and in other parts of the park), and such programming has to fit in among the sometimes noisy, heavy panoply of permitted and casual picnics and other celebrations in this very active part of the park. We did a good job of keeping a parking area clear and putting up flags and other markers, but better marking and directions on maps and in th park may be needed. Many more people now know about this beautiful, special place. Spectralia was superb!

Signs are up! 4 (?) signs noting Wooded Island as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary (unacknowledged there since a bronze plaque by the Japanese Garden was stolen- the original designation was made in the 1970s). The signs join that at the north end of the north bridge onto the Island designating the bridge as the Nancy Campbell Hays Memorial Bridge. Also erected were two signs on the Jackson Park (63rd St.) Bathing Pavilion designating the superstructure/ upper balconies (stairs and open air balconies and towers) the Eric Hatchett pavilion. Hatchett was a tireless advocate for youth programs in the park and spearheaded restoration and re-opening of the Bathing Pavilion and served for several years as president of Jackson Park Advisory Council. See about Nancy C. Hays and Resolution and Petition and about Eric Hatchett. These honors had been sought by JPAC for some time. We thank the CPD staff and board of Commissioners for supporting these honors and staff for putting up the signs.


OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER (Library, Museum, Institute) in Jackson Park



June 21 2014, JPAC, Chicago Park District, the city, and Chicago Plays! (which includes Friends of the Parks) held dedication and ribbon-cutting for the Chrysalis playground at 56th and Cornell- a block east of Stony Island and across the street from Windermere House.
JPAC held a DEDICATION OF THE NEW PLAYGROUND AT THE FIELDHOUSE (6401 S. Stony Island) June 25, Wednesday, 1:30 pm
A joyous dedication of the impressive Harold Washington Playlot was held by Mayor, Ald. Burns and Hairston.
The Chicago Plays! five year playground replacement program is a coalition of Chicago Park District, Friends of the Parks, and the safe playground coalition led by Lurie Children's Hospital.


-- progress has been made in recent years with Chicago beaches but Park District, scientists continue to study varied causes and seek more progress. For more information see the page on the pollution testing and swim bans.
July 2014
. Heavy rain this summer brought a mixed blessing: the rise in water level have perhaps helped alleviate problems at the notoriously shallow 63rd beach and jackson Park harbors, but the necessity of diverting stormwater into Lake Michigan after torrential downpours resulted in some swim bans, and increasing frequency of large watershed wash-offs brings more pollutants and food for the wrong things to grow into the Lakes and subsidiary/tributary bodies.

The July 18 Chicago Tribune carried a story on the present direction of the Park District on curbing beach pollution and swim bans. The US Geological Survey Great Lakes Station which employs Richard Whitman who did a study of the 63rd St. beach several years ago. The USGS is testing for contribution of dogs' DNA to the pollution and counts at Montrose, 63rd, Rainbow, and Calumet beaches. At beaches such as 63rd, use of border collies to clear off gulls was credited with a good deal of the improvement over the past few years. But this hasn't worked at Montrose, which remains among the most troubled of Illinois beaches according to the Natural Resources Defense Fund. Montrose has a dog beach, so it has been suggested that those dogs are countering any progress due to driving off gulls-- but Foster Beach also has a dog beach but no problem. Although Chicago, indeed Illinois beaches certainly not among the worst or most often closed on Lake Michigan and have seen much progress, the Park District would like to see more progress. [See sections below on changes in measuring and standards in recent years which partially cloud the matter; and as the article points out there are many factors contributing to lake and beach pollution, subject to changes over time, especially with our fluctuating water levels.] A new factor the NRDF says might be helping at 63rd St . is the natural vegetation installed between the parking lot and beach in 2012.- GMO.] While answers are sought, Cathy Breitenbach of the CPD reminds that people can do their part by not leaving contaminants or food for birds, dogs et al on beach and upstream or in the water.

READ MORE AND BACKGROUND MATERIAL IN THE pollution testing and swim bans page.


JPAC opened its SECOND YEAR of weekly WHITE CITY TOURS the first week of May with a goodly crowd. These free WEEKLY tours start SATURDAYS 11 AM (through the end of October) at the west end of the parking lot south of the Museum (east of the Darrow Bridge) and walk the Fair footprint in different parts of the park on a rotating basis. For more info visit query and signup options and notice of cancellations are therein. Thank you, Raymond Johnson. Of course, many others are doing tours of their takes on WC favorites, some open to the public such as Chicago Architecture Foundation but most of the others with a charge.
JPAC expects to announce nature and nature trail walks soon, many are in conjunction with work opportunities. -- call Gary about paper and website interactive tour brochures and maps-

July 14 2014 Our JULY MEETING was a PICNIC at the IOWA Building we had a productive meeting with police and park security and focused on various initiatives in the park. Thanks to the 45+ who came!
In 2015 this will be at our July or August meeting.


Sculptor Margot McMahon in 2014 decorated a dead tree south of 57th on the west side of Lake Shore Drive with oversized stylized bird forms to get people thinking of how dependent birds, wildlife, and ourselves are on trees, which we are losing a tremendous rate. This is part of a huge one-year project by Chicago Sculpture International, the city and the park district. This year much is on the South Side focused on parks and the boulevards. Ms. McMahon presented on her and the whole project at the June JPAC meeting, which also hosted a splendid presentation by Brenda McKinney of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban Fishing Program. See the July Newsletter for more.

Museum of Science and Industry honored the 70th anniversary of the capture of the German submarine U-505 in the Atlantic June 4, 1944 by receiving and honoring the surviving members of the capture team and persons who served on the involved U.S. Navy vessels. Full articles were published in the June 5 2014 issues of the Sun-Times and the Tribune.

Sad note: For the second time, koi goldfish, treasured in Japan, introduced into the pond in the Japanese Garden at private expense, were stolen or fished out. It would seem apparent that such stocking will not work there, perhaps because the fish are too bright and noticeable, perhaps noticeable because they are non-native.In any case, the lesson for us is that if something is happening that seems not quite right, report it.

April 12 2014 JPAC meeting. Frances S. Vandervoort was unanimously elected Vice President to fill out the term until November. Mary Ellen Guest of the Chicago Historic Bungalow Association talked about energy efficiency and green assistance available, and do's and don'ts. JPAC endorsed the Project 120 concept and recommended it be given a title that stresses Jackson Park and that it will be a nature and culture center. And we learned about things happening fast and furious- will be available in the minutes in the May Newsletter.


HABITAT RESTORATION. (Tour Sept. 5, 10 am from south end (63rd))


Outline of what's in the project. Links to ACE documents.
See also the June 10 Memorandum of Understanding (incl. Exhibit E) between Project 120 and the CPD/

Wooded Island stewardship interview April 2016. Please use the link to the video:

For information contact Jerry Levy:

Check back regarding tours and open hours.

Reports and opportunities to get information, updates:
Summer 2015 update: go to the AUGUST 2015 JPAC NEWSLETTER IN PDF- scroll to p. 3.

Friends of Jackson Park. An article on the GLFER project and Wooded Island was published in the South Side Weekly in late May 2016. To see suggested corrections and additions from project manager Lauren Umek click here. See the update article at

November 9 2015 and February 8 2016 people had a chance to weigh in on changes and framework ideas on the South Parks and learn the history and work in progress.
The huge planting on Wooded Island and edges around the lagoons and Bobolink Meadow will be done in spring 2016. Noise reducing berms were installed along west side sections of Lake Shore Drive. (The white irrigation pipes including along planted sections north of Hayes Drive will be up during the duration of the project.)
Project 120 seeks to raise the $1M needed to ecologically replant edges of the Inner Harbor-- the local share must be raised by the end of September 2016 in order to take advantage of ACE federal funds.
Accessed and used so far for the total GLFER project: $5M of $13.


Latest timetable is for the Island (both entries) to be open sometime in summer 2016. SOME FINAL WORK AND PREP FOR BIG PLANTING (IN 2017) WILL BE DONE SPRING/SUMMER 2016- THEY WILL BE WATCHING FOR WHAT VOLUNTEERS COME UP. THEN DO INITIAL PLANTING. LATE JUNE OR EARLY JULY it is expected the big fencing will come down and the Island be open.


June 15, 2016
From Lauren Umek, the project manager for the Park District for the restoration project at Jackson Park. Jerry Levy, Wooded Island volunteer steward.

In response to concern about the loss of milkweeds at Jackson Park.

I appreciate the concern about monarch habitat and would like to assure everyone that the Chicago Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers are committed to supporting, and improving habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. As you recall, one of the most important goals of ecological restoration is to improve habitat and ecosystem functioning in and around the Great Lakes. In practice, this includes removing invasive species and adding a diversity of plant species that support a range and diversity of wildlife, including pollinators.

In the coming months, contractors will begin installing native plants that include five different species of milkweed (swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, long-leaf milkweed, purple milkweed, and whorled milkweed) that provide food for monarch caterpillars as well as other host plant species such as Black-eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Pussytoes, Verbena, and six species of Asters that support additional species of butterfly caterpillars. The ecological restoration work on Wooded Island also includes the planting of 167 different species of flowering plants that provide food for the butterflies when they emerge as well as an additional 86 species of trees and shrubs that also support pollinators.
The photos that were shared were of common milkweed, a plant that establishes very well without seeding and can sometimes even be weedy. In fact, there is an abundance of common milkweed throughout the park. There are some areas where the contractor has thinned dominant stands of common milkweed in preparation for planting a greater diversity of species.

In addition to planting efforts that support pollinator habitat, the Natural Areas team of the Chicago Park District is working with the Field Museum to monitor monarch butterflies at several sites including Jackson Park.

June 27, 2016 Lauren Umek writes (photos connected with this report are credit Applied Ecological Services and should be posted in

Subject: Monarch Monitoring at Wooded Island Results

On Monday, we [CPD Dept. of Cultural and Natural Resources]partnered with the Field Museum Monarch team that is investigating a wide diversity of current and potential monarch butterfly habitats. They are looking at a variety of sites, with different ecological goals, land owners, public uses, and management activities to gather baseline data on current monarch habitat and to refine some preliminary hypotheses about monarch habitat in Chicago region.

Below is a brief summary of the data that they collected across the 82 (54 existing + 24 new) acres of natural area at Wooded Island, the observed the following:

Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed): 382

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed): 77

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed): 13

Total: 472

This baseline data gives us a great starting point to see how Wooded Island compares to other nature areas in the region and how this habitat changes overtime with ongoing restoration and management. As part of the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project with the US Army Corps of Engineers, we’ll be planting more swamp milkweed, butterfly weed and will installing 3 other Asclepias species including, long-leaf milkweed, purple milkweed, and whorled milkweed. A photo of a monarch caterpillar on one of the recently planted plugs A. tuberosa (butterfly weed) is attached.

In other insect news, the contractors on site, Applied Ecological Services, have been keeping an eye out on insects (and other species) and they seem to be responding really well to the restoration efforts. Two nice photos of some particularly beautify insects are available at the link below. They are of a native bee (yes, bees can be green!) on some of the recently planted and abundantly flowering Prairie Sundrops (Oenothera pillosella), a beautiful silk moth (boot for scale), and the attached monarch caterpillar. In May, a U of C class sampled some aquatic invertebrates as well and found a number of cool organisms, including 4 species of dragonfly nymphs.

Lauren Umek
Project Manager
Department of Cultural and Natural Resources

About tree removal and policy in Jackson Park and the GLFER project. By Jerry Levy, site steward June 15, 2016

I can respond to the concern about cutting down trees in areas of Jackson Park. I did a complete inventory of all the trees on Wooded Island before the GLFER project was undertaken and I have reviewed all the trees that were planned for removal. The trees that were removed were only either dead, damaged or invasive species. Many dead trees were not removed to provide habitat for wildlife and nurture for the soil. Beginning this fall and next spring at least as many and probably more trees that were removed will be replaced by new trees chosen for their quality and natural habitat. This has all been done with the joint participation of the Park District, the Olmstead landscape restoration person from Heritage Landscapers, the Army Corp of Engineers and the contractor. I know that Lauren Umek has led several groups on tours of Wooded Island and explained this process in a much better scientific way. Jerry Levy

Fall 2015- water nearly at normal level, water and edge plants growing, birds in abundance, concrete roadway were poured and stone paths to overlooks lain. Virtually all the construction is done. Some more trees will be hand removed (without heavy equipment) and preparations made for the spring 2016 planting. The screening will come down. We expect the Island (and both bridges) will be opened in spring if not before.

November 28: This Saturday Lauren Umek (CPD project manager of Jackson Park restoration) and I will be conducting a tour of Wooded Island which will show the tremendous progress that has been completed now. We will meet at the south parking lot at 10:00 a m. The new roadway is finished. The four outlooks on Wooded Island are now built and the crushed limestone for them and the paths leading to and from them is being completed. Last Friday the contractor completed a fairly successful burn of much of the Island. Planting of the shoreline of the Island is done and the new plants along the wet fringe are being protected from the geese with fences. This winter some additional work will be done in preparation for the new planting of trees, shrubs and plants in the spring. The fence will remain up this winter but the curtain covering the fence which is intended to protect debris and dust from escaping during construction will hopefully be removed. Hope to see you Saturday. If you have any questions feel free to call me at home. 773 955 6384. Jerry Levy. CPD volunteer steward.

UPDATE from the August 10, 2015 meeting. Lauren Umek, CPD project manager announced that she and Jerry Levy will hold the next informational walk through and planting or other work option on Wooded Island on September 5, 10 am, from the south end. Possible is an evening walk through, requested by birding groups and others.
Project work progress includes: completed slopes and removal of invasives along shores of the lagoons and Jackson Inner Harbor (although funding is not yet assigned for planting at the latter- which was suggested for a workday). Water is nearly at proper level. 160 pounds of minnows were placed in the lagoons and will be watched for survival and growth. Stocking with larger fish awaits establishment of the lagoon and shore plants-- 90,000 plants and lots of seeds are in. At work is a daily crew of 15, several from the city’s Green Corps. Crushed limestone gravel for the roadway and paths to the overlooks is installed, but there was a delay in getting the right color (Olmsted palette) pavers for the overlooks themselves. The concrete roadway will be the last of the heavy work and must precede even partial opening of the Island. People have requested some kind of access to the Japanese Garden as soon as possible—it is opened to guided tours only, when safe to do so. Jerry Levy pointed out that the mulched side trails in the interior need to be reconstituted in coordination with the fall burn and getting ready for heavy planting.

From the May 2015 meeting. Wooded Island update. Lauren Umek, CPD project manager reported an excellent annual Bird Count with Department of Natural Resources and Audubon. This was able to proceed despite Island closure and work. The numbers and species of birds and turtles is large. Members asked that the bird count be available online. The deteriorated road was demolished and will soon be replaced. Finishing structural work on Wooded Island and the lagoons- including turtle and fish habitat- is top priority, to be completed if possible by the end of summer. Re-opening date depends on completion of shore work and the road, and weather. Planting starts in the next few weeks-- Nurseries in Wisconsin and Kansas are growing many thousands of plants. A major community planting day will occur June 27 including trees and shrubs. Fences and signage are meant to be taken seriously--all are asked to stay out of the lagoons, which have dangerous drop-offs, uneven bottoms, and unstable sand. Grading is essentially done and the water is being allowed to rise naturally to its level. Bobolink shore work was still in progress. Norm Bell discussed possible shore plant relocations and new plantings. Umek has met with local groups including the U of C Service League and has led informational walk throughs, including a “Jane’s Walk” (co-host CPD parks historian Julia Bachrach) that drew over 50 participants. The next Island walk through will be on May 30 10 am from the south bridge. Umek gave JPAC detailed drawings and samples of the fence signs.
Army Corps site for the project:
In other nature news, beavers are back; the situation will be monitored to see if any action should be taken.

Jerry Levy wrote April 28: For authoritative and detailed information about the current project on wooded Island see the column in the Hyde Park Herald tomorrow (April 29 2014). (The article by Jeff Bishku-Aykul says that the contractor does have authorization to keep the Island closes as necessary for up to 5 years but that both the park district spokesperson and manager for the contractor Applied Ecological Services Josh LaPointe told Bishku-Aykul that would be unlikely unless something happens like persons damaging/destroying new plantings etc. More likely the Island will reopen to pedestrians fall 2015, LaPointe is quoted: "That's the hope. That's teh plan. I don't know that we'll have the fence still up, and we'll have the gates open... It's going to be awesome out there, so we want people to get out there and enjoy it."

The lead CPD project manager for the ACE habitat restoration project Lauren Umek will be present at most JPAC meetings to answer questions. 6401 S. Stony Island Ave. 2nd Mondays 7 pm.

April 2015- THE ISLAND IS FENCED OFF THROUGH MUCH OFSUMMER 2015 AT LEAST. There will be exceptions including some workdays, such as June 27 tree and shrub planting. In early May the turtle and fish habitat were being built. All are anxious for the water to rise.

(The Army Corps announced in April that it will build a new protective groin at the entrance to the Jackson Park (63rd) Harbor. The 1000 foot barrier of 300 feet of steel and 700 of stone should block sediment buildup at the entrance and channel and calm wave action. It will provide new fish and bird habitat without impacting federally recognized species or environment. This is part of the ACE Jackson Park Fishery and Habitat Restoration Project. Info at or as linked in ACE 2014.

NEW- go to March 6 2015 one-page report and update from CPD project manager Lauren Umek.

Report from Wooded Island Steward Jerry Levy, March 3, 2015

Greetings Wooded Island Working Group:

This winter has seen a very substantial amount of work on Wooded Island. The long range plan is very promising, and I am looking forward to watching it unfold in its entirety. I have the luxury of having been continuously informed by Lauren Umek the Chicago Park District project manager overseeing the work being done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and their contractors. Here is some information about what has been done and the plan for the next few years.

The USACE’s planned and scheduled tree removals on Wooded Island have been completed. There are still a few trunks and wood pilings that are being removed in phases.

If you visit the site you will see a very substantial change to the landscape. The open spaces will soon begin filling in as the shrubs, plants and grasses begin to emerge and the trees begin to bud and leaf out this spring.

This first stage of the work on Wooded Island concentrated on removing damaged, invasive, and non-native, trees and Woody shrubs and cutting down herbaceous plants and grasses to increase light available for smaller Oaks, and other important native plants. The next phase will be to allow nature to take its course this spring and summer and to observe the species of shrubs and plants that will emerge from the existing plants and seed beds in the various eco systems on Wooded Island. The result will help refine how the scheduled plantings will be further enhanced and developed.

This summer will see a complete rebuilding of the roadway on Wooded Island and the construction of gravel pathways leading to four different historically referenced “lookouts” from the Island. Shoreline grading will also be carried out this spring/summer, further increasing lower shoreline zone habitats. Planting in areas around the Island (not on it) will be going on this season.

Beginning in the spring of 2016 massive plantings of native trees shrubs and plants will begin on the Island.

We will have our normal workdays on the 4th Saturday of each month, as usual, beginning this March, weather permitting. I hope the weather will cooperate and the promise that spring brings will be evident. Look forward to seeing everyone.

March 15:
For all those who love Wooded Island, and no one loves it more than I, rest assured that the project that is underway will result in a phenomenally beautiful and user-friendly Olmsted restored park.
Sometimes the devil is in the details. In this case the beauty is in the details contained in the voluminous plans and specifications for this restoration. It should be comforting to know that, along with the Army
Corps of Engineers, the Chicago Park District, and the ecologically experienced landscape contractor, there is another important leader and planner of this project: Patricia O'Donnell is a landscape designer who is very well known in the restoration of Olmsted's parks. All of the details of this project pass through her. Be patient. Think of how a house looks when a major restoration has just begun. If anyone is interested in having a guided tour through Wooded Island in the next couple of weeks or getting details of the restoration, feel free to reply. The island will probably be close to pedestrian traffic soon.

(Guided tour/walk through can be scheduled through March 21's was well attended and informational.)

Gary Ossewaarde adds: The big thing to hold onto is that the project is not "purist" on any one set of objectives but must satisfy several--- reviving Olmsted's design vision in a way that reflects more recent understandings and experience and is sustainable, a high quality set of natural habitats that are home for lots of wildlife-- also in a sustainable manner, and reflects modern public/visitors/users expectations for a large park. Compromises are to be expected (and some mistakes?). Not all non-natives will be removed, and some non-natives will be planted. Also, despite the huge plantings in future years, the island will have a more open look and feel, at least at eye level, which may be somewhat of a loss for people like me who want to pretend we are not at all in a city when we go there, even though one could always see some high rises.

An excellent walkthrough with JPAC and work group was held March 13 2015.


More reports and comments

Jerry Levy, site steward in Good Neighbors, May 5 2015

There seems to be a misunderstanding of some as to what is taking place on Wooded Island. It is a fantastic project that has nothing but beneficial benefits for the environment and use of Wooded Island. The attack against the Army Corps of Engineers for the removal of “invasive” species is entirely misplaced. In the first place, it is necessary to understand that “invasive,” as it is used to determine what plants and trees are to be removed, does not mean “non-native.” The definition of “invasive” for this purpose means a non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. The fact of a species being non-native or alien in itself does not make it “invasive.” There is virtually unanimous support among the scientific community for the removal of such invasive plants and trees.

The determination of what plants and tree were to be removed was not that of the Army Corps of Engineers. The initial decision was that of Patricia O’Donnell, the landscape designer who has successfully restored a number of other Frederic Olmsted’s parks. She collaborated with and continues to collaborate with the Chicago Park District, the general contractor and the Army Corps in the restoration process.

While the benefits to the various ecosystems on the Island may not be immediately apparent, they will start to become evident soon. The long range outlook for the successful restoration of Wooded Island is astonishing and will benefit everyone. The nurture of the lagoons and shorelines around the lagoons is being directed by Frank Vertuci [sic Veraldi] of the Army Corps. He is eminently qualified for this job. It will not only considerably improve the quality of the water but will benefit all the aquatic life and the birds and animals there. In the meantime there is a need for patience. While the work is in progress, the Island needs to be secured. As it has been disclosed, it is the target of the contractor and the Park District to open the Island as soon as possible, even as soon as this summer.

Jerry Levy, Wooded Island Steward

Comment by Jane Masterson on Good Neighbors blog re turtles and frogs. May 6, 2015

I called The Urban Wildlife Institute and the biologist I talked to said that the turtles who are sitting in the middle of a mud flat would be much more likely to be killed by predators than turtles that are hiding in their normal habitat. He said that during the similar restoration project in Lincoln Park the turtles were trapped and moved to other areas. Perhaps since the Columbia Basin lagoon and inner harbor still have water the turtles could be moved there. Possibly even be trapped again and moved back after then work is done. There is also the possibility that buried turtles will be killed when the lagoons are dredged. I plan to call the Army Corps of Engineers tomorrow. Maybe they’ve already planned how to save the turtles.
The lagoons aren’t as dry after yesterday’s rain. The workers near the music bridge (near the tennis court entrance of bobolink meadow) said there will be spots that won’t be drained.
They said the area right off the bridge was 3 feet deep. I said “How do you know?” They said we tried to walk through it. Unclear how safe these areas will be when they dredge the lagoon. The Urban Wildlife Institute biologist said the frogs would survive if there was some water left

Editor: queries for more detail on this issue, degree of disturbance in present phase, and how quickly water will be raised are being addressed to the Army Corps.
Persons noted that migratory species numbers and shore birds are up (the latter temporary because of low water level?). Some birders would prefer the decisions were made by bird naturalist organizations.

Addendum answers from Jerry regarding work first week of May 2015
"According to the contractor no more water is being pumped out of the lagoons. Their plan is to allow the water to gradually come back. If there is a need for more water to fill the lagoons sometime this summer they will open valves where the water is held back to allow water in from the lake. The fish will not be introduced until the habitat has been established. I have not heard of a time table for this". Jerry Levy. Ms. Masterson and other observers reported turtle etc. and fish habitat and structures being installed and lots of turtles and herons. Birding has been good on the island.

Here are answers to questions on current and planned work in relation to reptiles and fish. From Frank Veraldi of the Army Corps via Jerry Levy.

The following information was provided today by Frank Veraldi the Army Corps person in charge of the aquatic phase of the work on the lagoons at Wooded Island


Regarding turtles - Turtle habitat is being installed today. About 25 to 40 large trees are being placed to provide basking and hunting habitat. The ponds are also slowly filling up. Many types of natural wetlands dry out as well. Some turtles require this to happen for survival and reproduction.

The two turtle species identified from the lagoons today are Red Ear Slider and Snapping Turtle. Snapping turtles climb steep banks and bluffs to dig holes and lay their eggs where it is dry, so they would have no problem climbing the bank and going to Lake Michigan, which is 20 feet away, if they need more water that is.

Reptile and amphibian activities are coordinated with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

We are also introducing 3 species of freshwater mussels to the Jackson Lagoons once the habitat is restored, which will provide high quality food for juvenile turtles. This work will be performed by the Illinois Natural History Survey. We also may introduce Eastern Newts, since the habitat restored for them at Jackson Park is what they like and it is within their native range. Here is the current list of native, indicative coastal pond species that will be introduced into Jackson Lagoons once the habitat is restored:


Pyganodon grandis Giant Floater
Utterbackia imbecillis Paper Pondshell
Lampsilis siliquoidea Fatmucket
Toxolasma parvus Lilliput


Amia calva Bowfin
Notemigonus crysoleucas Golden Shiner
Pimephales promelas Fathead Minnow
Cyprinella spiloptera Spotfin Shiner
Notropis heterodon Blackchin Shiner
Erimyzon sucetta Lake Chubsucker
Noturus gyrinus Tadpole Madtom
Esox americanus Grass Pickerel
Esox lucius Northern Pike
Umbra limi Central Mudminnow
Fundulus diaphanus Banded Killifish
Pomoxis nigromaculatus Black Crappie
Lepomis gibbosus Pumpkinseed
Lepomis gulosus Warmouth
Etheostoma exile Iowa darter
Etheostoma nigrum Johnny darter


Notophthalmus viridescens eastern newt



The contract for Project 506 was awarded to Applied Ecological Services. Jerry Levy writes "Looks like that company is well suited to emphasize the importance of the ecological issues." Total maximum dollars available (not necessarily all to be spent) and to be allocated in 4 phases- $12,375,000: $8,043,750 from federal and $4, 301,250 from the local partner Chicago Park District and private.

In early February a wooden bridge was build to the south end of the Island for equipment and the lagoons were lowered for the dish removal and shore resculpturing. By end of the third week extensive removal of invasive overgrowth trees and an understory was done particularly in the southern part of the Island, the begriming stage of habitat restoration. Meanwhile, the extreme cold killed off the monoculture fish in the lagoons making any applications unnecessary.

From the December 8 2014 JPAC meeting. Reported by Lauren Umek of CPD:
Work on Wooded Island starts the next week (c. Dec. 15). The South Bridge to the Island will be fenced off. The North (Hays) bridge will remain open as well as access to Osaka Garden. Most of the Island will be fenced off. This m ay move as the work progresses. In this budget cycle only the Island and nearby will be replanted. No closure is planned for bobolink meadow although shore work is planned for later.

Corps ready- Army Corps to begin Jackson Park project - Herald in article by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul November 19 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' restoration of Jackson Park could be well underway by next month. The 139-acres, five-year restoration of native habitats will kick off with invasive tree removal on the north end of the park and the replacement of fish in the Jackson Park lagoon, which is likely to be done by this December according to USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi.

"It sounds like everything's going pretty good right now, so I think we'll have the fish stuff done probably by December," Veraldi said. To replace the fish the Jackson Park lagoon will be drained about a foot by pumping water out into Lake Michigan faster than usual, according to Veraldi. One drained, the lagoon will be poisoned using rotenone, a mildly toxic pesticide that kills fish. A couple of days later, after removing the fish, the lagoon's water wil be restored to its natural level. "Even if poison did get into Lake Michigan it wouldn't do anything because it would get so diluted," said Veraldi, who added that rotenone would not get pumped into the pond at Osaka Garden. The lagoon will also be drained of about a foot for a week or two to perform contour work around its edges.

Jackson Park's restoration will take place in four phases of priority, starting on the park's northern half and ending in the vicinity of La Rabida Children's Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Drive. The project will cost $12.4 million in total , with the first phase costing $4.5 million.

In addition to lagoon work, the first phase of Jackson Park's restoration will include invasive tree removal on the northern half of Jackson Park. Root wads and trunks from around 80 tress will be placed in the lagoon, offering a source of food and protection for fish, according to Veraldi, who said they will also give birds a place to perch and turtles an area to bask in.

West Dundee, Ill-based contractor Applied Ecological Services will have until March 1, the beginning of the bird migration season, to remove trees. Wooded Island work day volunteers have prepared by identifying around 250 bur oak saplings and fencing off most of them, according to steward Jerry Levy. At the last workday, "we actually put red flags on the top of them, so somebody will be aware that this needs to be protected," Levy sid.

A more detailed timeline for Jackson Park's restoration was discussed in a Thursday meeting with Applied Ecological Services but is not yet final, according to Veraldi.

The contract for Project 506 has been awarded to Applied Ecological Services. Jerry Levy writes "Looks like that company is well suited to emphasize the importance of the ecological issues." Total maximum dollars available (not necessarily all to be spent) and to be allocated in 4 phases- $12,375,000: $8,043,750 from federal and $4, 301,250 from the local partner Chicago Park District and private

Report from Hyde Park Herald, by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul, online October 4, 2014

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awards contract for Jackson Park restoration.

Staff Writer

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has awarded a contract for its 139-acre, five-year restoration of native habitats in Jackson Park.

The USACE has chosen West Dundee, Ill.-based Applied Ecological Services (AES) to restore Jackson Park according to its plans. So far, it has awarded AES a $4 million base contract for work on the park’s north half and invasive tree removal throughout. The project’s more than 70 additional planned improvements — such as plantings — will be made gradually “as they make sense,” according to USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi.

“And we can do that up to about a point of 12 million, once we hit that ceiling,” Veraldi said.

In total, the project will have access to $12,375,000 in funds, with a 65 percent coming from the federal government’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the rest from the project’s non-federal sponsor, the Chicago Park District (CPD). Project 120, a non-profit organization seeking to fund a $10 million visitor’s center to the park, will be contributing $700,000 to CPD’s share.

The USACE’s restoration has been divided into four areas of priority, beginning on its north end, including the East and West lagoons, followed by the Jackson Park Harbor, golf course and the peninsula La Rabida Children’s Hospital sits on.

Veraldi said the restoration project is likely to have at least one subcontractor, and that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would likely perform the planned poisoning and removal of fish from the Jackson Park lagoon.

The USACE project was advertised to contractors as costing between 5- and 10-million dollars. Several companies attended a pre-bid meeting in September, according to Veraldi, but only two companies submitted a bid for the project: AES and Pizzo and Associates. After reviewing their qualifications, he said, USACE picked the company with the lowest bid.

The Jackson Park restoration will involve grading, demolition and invasive species removal in its first year, followed by a focus on planting in the last four years, Veraldi said. He said he doesn’t yet know when work will begin, although he expects it will be in late winter and hopes all tree and fish removal will be done by February.

“If they get out there in late fall that’d be a miracle,” Veraldi said.

Media reports have picked out the fish elimination in the lagoons in the project a main activity of interest. A natural poison that decays within a few days and only affects gill-breathers will be used. This will be applied after the migratory birds including herons have left. this is said by experts t be the most efficient way to prepare restoration of the lagoons bottom and water including prevention of erosion into them. Fishing will certainly be slight in the lagoons until the new species have been established.
Winter 2013-14 saw severe fish kill in the lagoons, as is common in hard-freeze winters, so only 1 or two species were left, species that prevented a goo water and plant community for a lively aquatic community. SEE THE ARMY COPR'S FAQS SHEET ON THE MATTER, BELOW or click and go to


Certain media reports have picked out the fish elimination in the lagoons in the project as if this were the main activity. Only some of the fish species will be killed, using a poison that decays within a few days. This will be applied after the migratory birds including herons have left. Also, while fishing might be slight in the lagoons it will not be impossible or forbidden for "one year." Watch for further detail.
Winter 2013-14 saw severe fish kill in the lagoons, as is common in hard-freeze winters, requiring frequent restocking.

The May 7 2014 meeting on the USACE Fish and Ecosystem Restoration Project saw excellent presentation and lots of questions. The conversation continued Monday May 12, and there were various more stakeholder meetings before and after approvals and entry into the design phase for work (set to start early fall or else well into winter 2014 to avoid bird migratory season).

The FORMAL FEASIBILITY STUDY: See there where to submit comments (now formally closed), or to, Peter Bullock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 231 S. LaSalle St. 1500, Chicago, IL 60604. PARTS OF THE PLAN WERE ALTERED BEFORE THE CONTRACT FOR RFP ISSUANCE WAS APPROVED BY THE CPD BOARD AUGUST 13.


THE FOLLOWING IS THE OFFICIAL SITE FOR ALL UPDATES- expected to include the FAQs mentioned below:
(the specifications themselves are about 400 pages so browse before downloading)- To August 11 update.
FAQs on the Lagoons and fish treatment (also in ACE page with live ref. links).
( This may be put up by ACE in the official website (above) and we hope to put it up in

The project is for habitat restoration and improvements in limited sectors of the park: (Note, this plan was introduced to JPAC as a possible project in May 2013, with a charette in June, vetted at a stakeholders meeting (including naturalist groups) at Friends of the Parks November 18, 2013. At suggestion there, a leading Olmsted landscape and botanist expert was sought (Project 120 paying that cost). As a result, the project is being overseen by Patricia O'Donnell principal of of Heritage Landscapes (highly recommended by experts out of 2 choices). O'Donnell's guide is the 1895 Olmsted & Sons template. As a result of review by O'Donnell and Park District historic and naturalist experts, the project has nearly been finalized and follows and restores the Olmsted template (plan). Meanwhile, USACE determined from feasibility study that a project should be done and planning and contract with CPD put under negotiation (ACE /Fish and Wildlife Service to fund about 2/3 and local partner CPD one third (a large portion of that was raised privately by Project 120 led by Robert Karr.

Please see below the detailed report of USACE and CPD presentations on the project at JPAC meetings May and June 2013. The latter included a well-attended public charette on dos and don'ts. At the conclusion of the May 2013 presentation, Jackson Park Advisory Council gave approval in principle to proceed with planning.

The Feasibility Study that followed was a survey and comparison review of benefits, effects, costs of doing a project or not doing one and particular subprojects-- in effect an environmental impact study as well as cost-benefit analysis, and whether there is a project fit for the Army Corps (and its local partner, Chicago Park District). ACE concluded 4 of 5 possible bundling's or increments are worth doing, and set up a public comment period.
At the end of that it concluded to proceed to contract with CPD to put out RFP--The intergovernmental agreement to be made and approved by CPD board and RFP put and a contract bid and let out by September 30, 2014. ACE would pay about $10 M. Chicago Park District would pay c35% of the cost. By the time of CPD approval, additional money was found to do the whole possible project (5 out of 5) and some acreage was traded in and out of the project and Project 120 found funding of $700,000 to match $700,000 in CPD bonds and another $500,000 in private funds were found toward the CPD share of $1,900,o00 with the whole project costing $8.1 M. The project will be in operation about 5 years, during which Ms. O'Donnell will make at least three on site visits for evaluations and recommendations. The project will be one under the general contractor and the Corps; the CPD supervisor was said to be Lauren Umek.

There are 5 aspects to the project (see in the reports on May and June 2013 presentations by ACE and CPD to Jackson Park Advisory Council.) Work would (at that point) be done in 155 of the park's 543 acres--that may have changed, mainly in and on the edges of the lagoons and parts of Wooded Island esp. sw, in edge-parts of the golf course, and along certain overgrown roads and paths, such as Marquette. Restoration of native fish and of fishing, as a part of the Great Lakes is a major component--Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the bucket much of the money comes from, so the lagoons will have a separator preventing the game fish stocked in the Columbia Basin (when grown) from getting into the lagoons-- there the monoculture present fish would be killed, the bottom and water quality restored, and native fish stocked.

THE PROJECT WAS OPENED FOR A 30 DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD WHICH ENDED MAY 12, 2014. A public meeting (recommenced but not required) was set up and held at the end of the period. before the deadline.
Contacts for information or comment were (and still should be): Peter Bullock (USACE) at 312 846-5587 or, or by US Mail to Peter Bullock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 231 S. LaSalle St., suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60604.
Spokesperson and botanist is Frank Veraldi of ACE.

There is an article in the April 23 2014 Hyde Park Herald by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
( Despite the captioned picture of the Japanese Garden, the latter is OFF LIMITS to the project as is anything related to the Lake Michigan shoreline (the shoreline is in a separate bucket, not going anywhere at present), sports fields, and the former Nike base that largely coincides with the Bobolink Meadow and the Golf Driving Range. There is reference in the article to the (extremely worrisome) Asian Carp: there is no known presence of Asian Carp in Jackson Park or the Great Lakes as of this writing. There are invasive fish species including other species of carp in the Jackson Park system, along with annually-planted game fish.
Olmsted v. natural/native. Although Mr. Karr of Project 120 is quoted on aspects of the plan, especially the importance of maintaining the Olmsted character of the park as well as habitat restoration consistent with it, and that his concerns were alleviated, this is not his or Project 120's project (and there is a demarcation at the path in back of the Music Court lagoon shore). Project is paying for the Olmsted expert, Ms. O'Donnell overseeing the project and raising a substantial part of the park district local share. The article does a good job of distinguishing the limits that the Olmsted template place on restoring even parts of Jackson Park to their fully native /original (however that's defined) habitat. Besides Ms. O'Donnell, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency was required to review the plan and passed on it. [Gary Ossewaarde]

Chronology, reports and plan evolution.
(Small meetings were held with the Park District and Army Corps looking towards a community meeting. This round would be repeated throughout the period leading to CPD board approval.)

From minutes of the May 13, 2013 JPAC meeting:

Presentation: Mitchell Murdock of Chicago Park District Natural Resources, Julia Bachrach of CPD planning/history, and a representative of the US Army Corps of Engineering presented and sought input on the early stages of planning of historic, landscape, and sound ecological and habitat planning and restoration improvements in the park, designated Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER). The CPD and ACE have partially-overlapping but somewhat different mandates, and they are evaluating, with public input, whether there will be a partnered set of projects for the park that could cost up to $10 million. (Note any Lakeshore work is excluded as that is controlled by a separate federally-designated ongoing program for the entire lakeshore.) Principles were set forth, with the park district stressing the historic integrity of the park including Olmsted's vision of vistas, elegant but concealed design, stress on relaxation and enjoyment of the sublime and beautiful—the genius of the place, subordination of details to the whole, avoidance of mere novelty, grouping of plants including an abundant understory and layering, tempered by good habitat in the appropriate/ designated parts of the park. Noted was that Olmsted’s park designs were quite open. The Army Corp stresses ecology including sound lagoon management and habitat. The review of the history and changes in the park over the decades and the distinct types of habitat and landscape in the park was especially helpful. The Olmsted Center has expressed an interest in providing technical advice.

The next opportunity for public input will be at the next meeting, including a mapping exercise and discussion of specific areas or vistas people would like to see restored or enhanced. This will still be ahead of the start of official feasibility and project-discovery exploration. Ongoing public input is promised early and during the entire development and implementation of the project, should one be approved.
Dwight Powell moved, 2nd Esther Schechter and approved for the Park District and Army Corps to continue exploration and planning toward a Section 506 project.

From minutes of the June 10 2013 JPAC meeting:

Park improvement potential planning/project. Mitchell Murdock, Park District Natural Areas Manager, and Julia Bachrach, Park District Planner and historian gave an update and sought more input on a potential Park District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project under Federal designation 506. It is still in exploration as to whether there is a project (a federal interest or FID); work would not begin for 3-5 years. Any work includes 5 years of warranty/maintenance. The parties want to ensure public input from the onset about the park and particularly any restorations or enhancements to habitat (the ACE interest) and or landscape and historic views and features. If the project lacks public support, it would disappear, and no ACE funding would mean no project by the Park District. Large areas of the park are under consideration, but anything recreational, institutional, or along the lakeshore is excluded. The parties are concerned that any other projects such as cherry tree plantings mesh with this and be park-suitable. They are especially interested in where shrubbery could be expanded or replaced, the presence and health of particular kinds of habitat where called for, and with the lagoons, including maybe recreating islands that used to be there. Presenters will meet next with fishers.

Attendees gave insights and concerns on particular places and changes that might be sound or avoided. They gathered around and wrote ideas on a large map-- noting sections of the park they thought degraded or unattended, or that they especially liked and wanted to make sure are preserved. Examples:

-Improve landscaping and maintenance between the outer and inner harbors north of Marquette Drive;
-Improve along Marquette Drive Coast Guard to Cornell drives and north on Cornell (excepting the already kept up Growing Power garden)- including fixing or providing trails/walks and plant more trees;
-Between Cornell Dive and the West Lagoon—have more shrubbery etc. to reduce noise and roadway/city views; improve vistas and habitat without creating unwanted hiding places;
-Improve around the north bridge to Wooded Island (some were leery of too much work here);
-Be careful about large areas of monocultures especially of ornamental trees;
-Maybe create a few small openings to the Island lagoon edge to create optimal vista points (some opposed this-said people have vistas at the Japanese Garden);
-Ensure any reconstructed islands in the lagoon can be sustained and provide optimal habitat for frogs, turtles and other amphibians and that netting for plant establishment not damage birds; ditto lagoon shore plantings;
-Consider the needs of birds and other wildlife and lean towards more vegetation rather than less.

Spring 2014:

Army Corps eyes Jackson Park. April 23, 2014. by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

The U.S. Army Cops of Engineers (USACE) has released a feasibility study for a 30-day public review for proposed restorations of Jackson Park.

The study is the culmination of discussions between the USACE and the Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC), Chicago Park District and Project 120, a non-profit developing plans for $10 million music pavilion in ht park. It review the benefits, effects and costs of restoring the park's native fish, plants and bird habitats.

USACE's report examines five ways of restoring 155 acres of the 543-acre park--as well as the result of taking no action-- and recommends the most cost-effective option. If approved, 35 percent of the funds would come from the Chicago Park District and the rest from the federal government's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

"If there's any significant agency or public comments that we have to change the plan, we would go ahead and incorporate those into the document," said Frank Veraldi, ecosystem planner for the USACE Chicago District. Neither the USACE nor the Chicago Park District is required to hold a public meeting, but the Army Corps has recommended it, said Veraldi.

Although the USACE has analyzed the cost of various plans, the feasibility study contains no dollar amount for restoring the park.

"They're always blacked out at this point because we don't want to provide contractors who are going to bid on the contract any advantage yet," Veraldi said. He said in January that USACE's planned restoration is eligible for up to $10 million in federal funding if it's approved by this September.

JPAC met with the USACE and Chicago Park District to discuss its vision for the park's restoration twice, said council president Louise McCurry.

The restoration would benefit the area in several ways, according to McCurry, including exposing city children to a native habitat and restoring its original fish population. First introduced to the U.S. in the 1970s, Asian carp are an invasive present in the park's lagoon [sic, there are not Asian carp in the lagoon, but other carp that degrade the habitat and fish population; McCurry says she did not say "Asian" carp].

"Non-native species take over an area and destroy it," McCurry said. "Non-native species just grow very quickly and die and disappear and don't help the ecology at all." Bringing back native fish, she added "wil make it a great recreational area for those fishing clubs that are still there."

Although the USACE's restoration focuses on replacing invasive species with native ones, it also took into account architect Frederick Law Olmsted's original plans for the park first developed in the late 19th century.

A full fledged restoration of the park to its natural habitat would be impossible without compromising Olmsted's plans because they included non-native plants, Veraldi said. But USACE's plans have been guided in part by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Project 120 hire Patricia O'Donnell, a Vermont-based architect who has helped to preserve several Olmsted parks.

"Our concerns have been alleviated because of the integration of the Olmsted expert into the process," Project 120 President Bob Karr said.

Karr said he was originally concerned about the restoration's impact on what he calls the park's "Olmsted character." Previous alterations to the park's original designs include a Cold War-era NIK anti-aircraft missile site.

"If we didn't do it this way, and we approached it solely from a natural habitat restoration process, we could potentially lose the Olmsted character in the park," Karr said.

[gives the project USACE site and contact.]


Army Corps presents plans. May 14, 2014. By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

Key details about the cost and funding of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) planned restoration of Jackson Park were shared in a public meeting last week.

Community members met with representatives for the USACE and Chicago Park District (CPD) last Tuesday to hear about and discuss their five-year, federally-funded 155-acre introduction of native species and plants. USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi gave an overview of the Corps' feasibility study and proposed restoration. The plan is anticipated for approval by the USACE's Great Lakes and Ohio River Division later this month.

Sixty-five percent of the restoration is being funded by the federal government's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The rest of the funds wil be provided by the project's non-federal sponsor, the CPD. The will come from several sources, according to district Project Manager Michael Lange including Project 120, a privately-funded non-profit seeking to install a $10 million performance pavilion and visitors' center behind the Columbia Basin.

Part of it will be privately raised through Project 120," Lange said, adding that the other funds will come from the CPD as well as federal credit based on the project area's land value. "Those exact numbers and details are not quite totally certain yet."

"The total project value is estimated anywhere between 5 and 10 million dollars," Lange added.

"Were committed to assisting as necessary to help CPD make the match," Project 120 President Bob Karr said in an interview the next day.

Although Karr did not want to compromise contractor bidding by sharing numbers, he added that Project 120 was in a public-private partnership with CPD and that "we are fundraising to help the park district achieve its goal."

The USACE anticipates the COD will sign a project partnership agreement this July and that a contract for its restoration wil be awarded in September.


Jackson Park Reimagined: Old is new again as expert reapplies Olmsted to Jackson Park
May 21, 2014.
By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

Nearly 40 people packed into the Hyde Park Historical Society, 5529 S. Lake Park Ave., last Monday evening for the first neighborhood appearance by a landscape architect who may shape Jackson Park for years to come.

Vermont-based archi tech Patricia O'Donnell was picked earlier this year by privately-funded Project 120 to help restore designer Frederick Olmsted's original influence on the prk--including a music pavilion behind the Columbia Basin--and funding part of a 155-acre restoration of its natural habitats by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"What Bob Karr asked me to do from the beginning is "Think big picture. Don't only restrict yourself to the Corps,'" O'Donnell said.

Although Project 120 President was advertised as the main speaker at Monday's event, Patricia O'Donnell gave the feature presentation, describing her previous work and a vision for parks as a shared, democratic space.

During her career, O'Donnell has completed hundreds of landscape projects. More than 50 have been on spaces designed by Olmsted, such as the U.S. Capitol Grounds.

"One of the things that's really important about a landscape is understanding its character and its spaces, O'Donnell said.

Olmsted's 1895 revised plan for Jackson Park revolves around its fields, lagoons and the lake, according to O'Donnell, but over time, access to these elements have been compromised by facilities, roads and parking lots.

"So if those are the three key elemens of the park, and you're supposed to be able to get to them and you're supposed to be able to see them and experience them from various places, we have a very much diminished quality of place," O'Donnell said. "So what we're looking at is how that can be rebalanced."

O'Donnell also said that there's less tree canopy now at Jackson Park than there once was, and that 3 to 5 percent of the park's total tree count would have to be planted every year to make up for this.

This summer, O'Donnell will provide input on the design of the USACE's restoration by helping to determine its acreage, topography and plantings to maintain Olmsted's influence on the park.

"So the process we're at right now is working together to develop a shared language that integrates the nature side and the Olmsted side," O'Donnell said, adding that whereas the corps emphasizes bird habitats, savannah and meadow she wants to highlight open space, flowers and low-lying plants.

Asked about the role of Project 12's planned pavilion in the park O'Donnell said, "This park today doesn't have any strong destinations," adding that its current draws are the Museum of Science and Industry and sports.

O'Donnell also made the case for several long term, major developments: establishing a conservancy for the park, improving its degraded and truncated pathways and abolishing the golf driving range next to the Bobolink Meadow.

"It may take years. I'm just the person trying to hold it up and say this is the space for everyone, we need to reopen it," O'Donnell said. "That's the core space. Let's not give it over to golf."

Intro announcement from the September 2014 JPAC Newsletter

August 13, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved a contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers for $8.1 million in habitat work in Jackson Park, to be put out for RFP. The majority of this 5-year project is federally funded, the remainder by the Chicago Park District ($700K in bonds, $700K private grant from Project 120 through Robert Karr, $500K other private, and credit value of improved park acreage). The Jackson Park Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Initiative was increased to the full preliminary scope (adding lagoon islands, Outer Harbor work) and otherwise modifying the acreage, after the update given at the Aug. 11 JPAC meeting. The final Solicitation (bid) document will be shared with JPAC. JPAC will work with project partners to ensure full and proper oversight.

US Army Corp of Engineers presentation of updated plans—August 11, 2014 JPAC Meeting.
USACE ecologist and planner Frank Veraldi and Chicago Park District Dept. of Natural Resources ecologist Lauren Umek.
Jackson Park Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Project.

The ACE focus is to restore habitat-- aquatic, pond, edge, sedge meadow, and woodland and the Great Lakes wildlife (including fish) of these habitat types. The Park District focus is Olmsted’s landscape vision and vistas. The areas of the park where work is to be done are arranged in four time phases over five years- 1- (first) in and around the lagoons and Wooded Island, 2- the inner harbor (aka South Lagoon), 3- parts of the golf course, 4- certain Outer Harbor edges and south edges of the park. The plans, which were still in progress, will have much greater detail and specification than is usual in such projects in order to make sure the grading, plant palette, paths and overlooks are right and true to the mandates for both habitat and this Olmsted park.

At least some of the work will be disruptive—for example, as some of the first work (after fall bird migration), the lagoons will be separated (with a mesh) from the Columbia Basin (where game fish are stocked yearly). Now, runaway species destroy the lagoon bottoms, and plants, and water quality and prevent establishment of fish species that are both native to this Great Lakes habitat and desired by fishers. After fall bird migration, certain fish will be killed quickly and the lagoons cleaned. Fishing success will recover slowly as water quality and bottoms are improved, spawning holes and structures are installed, the lagoons stocked in stages with a diversity of native fish and the latter mature and adjust. Edges will be re-graded and planted. About 12 viewing/fishing outlooks over the lagoons will be made at historic or strategic spots, with chipped wood side paths or bow-outs to reach them. The fishing pier at 63rd and Cornell will be remade (Fishing and birding groups have been consulted.)

Work will be staged to avoid interfering with migratory bird arrivals and seasons, and as much as possible of the heavy work will be done in winter to avoid soil compaction. Where possible, grading will include berms to reduce the noise to the lagoons that can disturb birds. But in some places where that has been called desirable such as along Cornell Drive there is little room. Trees and shrubs will be used to have a calming effect.

Work in other sectors will also introduce new plant communities and wildlife—marsh including reeds along, for example some of the inner harbor shores, a rough-grass hummock in the golf course turned into a sedge meadow, ponds that mudpuppies (salamander-like) will use, and some grass turf replanted to sedges that foster wildlife.

Wooded areas will be re-balanced so there can be plants of varied heights and both sun-loving and shade-tolerant low and ground plants. Some areas are overgrown and need a fair amount of removal and replanting. Parts of Wooded Island will have about 25% changeover, including removal of trees trying to grow under oaks and so won’t live long. Much of the new material will be shrubs and ground plants designed and staged so birds will have more forage, shelter. Trees will take time to grow. Attention is given to mixing and balancing the plants— botany that fits while respecting Olmsted’s look, but not over-dense, and making sure each season has interesting things to see. Questions were asked and answered; conversation and refinement will continue.


Highlights of the project
What/ where: Pond habitat including the east and west lagoons- re-grade and replant much of the edges for wetland and emergent plant and aquatic plant and animal habitat and islands (7 new) for heron habitat, renew bottom and islands and replace invasive fish population with native, separated from Columbia Basin, clean and restore habitat of edge of the South Lagoon (Inner Harbor) and parts of the Outer Harbor. Restore woodlands in and around Wooded Island. Create at various places including in and around the golf course 12 new sedge meadows and ponds to include reeds and others marsh plants for amphibians and dragonflies and 2 for mudpuppies. Clear c.300 dead or dying ash trees. Work on Wooded Island may include up to 25% replacement in places, esp. SW, and heavy along the west edge of the west lagoon to Cornell Drive (with a new path, fishing pier). 1 million wildflowers/native plants, 300,000 shrubs, 1,300 trees. Excluded: most of the north and west-edge, missile-base areas (Bobolink and golf driving range), most east lawns, golf & rec’l, lake shore.

Funds: Total $8.1M. c. 65% federal. Park District total $1.9M in money-- $700,000 in bond revenues, $700,000 from Project 120 (which also is paying for Olmsted oversight and landscaping planning by Heritage Landscapes and 3 continuing inspections), $500,000 more in private. Value of acreage is also counted



Letter of Support s/ Louise McCurry Aug. 11, 2014. (Per req. Michael Lange, CPD Project Manager. Revised project was presented Aug. 11, 2014. Standing JPAC resolution approved the project early in the summer and in principal the previous summer. Questions were asked August 11 and after but the proceeding with the project was not challenged. The CPD board placed the contract/Agreement for RFP between CPD and USACE on its Aug. 13 agenda and approved.)

"To: the Board of the Chicago Park District,
From: the Jackson Park Advisory Council,

The Jackson Park Advisory Council, the first Chicago park advisory council founded in 1983, who has advocated for environmental stewardship in Jackson Park is writing in support of the Olmsted Natural Area Plantings as part of the Chicago Park District and US Army Corps of Engineers project. We have hosted and attended multiple public meetings on the project and have been involved in the development process.

The project will create biologically diverse habitats in the park while respecting the Olmsted firm design intent. The Jackson Park Advisory Council believes that the restoration project is an important ecological investment for Jackson Park. We are grateful to the Chicago Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers for their transparency and support of community involvement in this important project.

Thank You for all that you are doing for our parks,
Louise McCurry,
Jackson Park Advisory Council President"

Louise McCurry's "thank you" to all involved. August 14, 2014

Dear Jackson Park Team Members,
Remember 4 years ago when we started removing the shopping carts, bowie knives, hundreds of condoms, bullets, syringes, old refrigerators, boat engines, and years of garbage bags, dead trees and bushes, from the banks of the lagoons, Bobolink, LaRabida, the Wooded Island, and the 67th street beach. Remember our first walk throughs with Adam Schwerner and various park and birder officials. Remember when we had our first community tour and our tourees said they never knew that Jackson Park was such an amazing place. Remember answering countless questions from naysayers, responding to hundreds of negative and positive emails, blog posts, list serves, and being THERE whenever a positive crowd for an event was needed.
Well after hundreds of meetings, tours, letters, phone calls, community events, and just generally being that squeaking wheel ........we did it..!

Special Thank you, to Adam Schwerner and Michael Kelly, who listened to us 4 years ago, who walked with us, whose genius saw the possibilities and brought people together who could make it happen.

A very Special Thank You to Robert Karr, who made it all possible by raising the money, and conducted the negotiations with the ACE and the Park District, hired the foremost Olmsted Architect Patricia O'Donnell, in the country to make an Olmsted park design, and who answered countless questions from community members.

WE DID IT!!!!.....
We are getting $8.1M of improvements in historic and ecologically important Jackson Park.

Children and their families visiting the park ,in the future, thank you!
You Are My Heroes!

Louise McCurry, JPAC President

JPAC letters on the ACE Project particularly as it applies to the lagoons and fish as sent to and published in the Hyde Park Herald August 27, 2014

As to the Hyde Park Herald. By Louise McCurry, President and Jackson Park Advisory Council. August 21, 2014

Thank You Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul for writing this week's article about the restoration plan for Jackson Park, utilizing the original Olmsted Plan to create a beautiful, "democratic" park for all to enjoy. Thank you to everyone on the Hyde Park Herald Staff for the coverage over the last four years. JPAC and the Chicago Park District has put in thousands of volunteer hours partnering with the Chicago Park District to plant thousands of trees, plants, and create natural habitats in the nature preserves, build playgrounds, repair and build new recreational areas, repair the fieldhouse for community meetings, remove the years of trash and invasive species accumulations, and open up the rich and important history of Jackson Park to the community through free tours, historical feature naming, lectures, and community forums-- and the Herald covered them. We believe that every Hyde Parker and every Chicagoan should come to Jackson Park and relax in its peaceful surroundings, play in safe sports and recreation areas, and playgrounds, swim on its beautiful and safe beaches, and fish in its safe lagoons and harbors.

So it is particularly painful for JPAC members to see the community wide damage done with the inaccurate headlines that the Herald chose for the restoration plan article this week. We applaud the Park District and the Army Corp of Engineers for being completely transparent through hours of multiple open community meetings, answering every question; including the community in every step of the planning process, and incorporating the community suggestions into the plan. The Herald headlines of all species in the Jackson Park Lagoon to be exterminated with poison is inaccurate followed by the statement of "Say goodbye to the fish in the Jackson Park Lagoon" is sensational and inaccurate. It will sell newspapers, and we support the Herald for its important historic role in making Hyde Park an informed and involved community. But is just wrong! Removing unhealthy, damaging and invasive species from the waterways to protect native fish habitats is an important ecological fish management practice to maintain those habitats. It produces an abundant fish population which fishermen, women, and children can catch, use to feed their families, or simply to catch and release as practiced by many fisherman. The restoration plan is about producing more safe areas for fishing, walking, biking, and recreating, more natural areas where birds and wildlife can live successfully, more areas where teachers and school children can visit to learn about plants, animals birds, and fish here in Jackson Park.

So we really hope that this was an error that the Herald staff chose these headlines to characterize this wonderful ecological plan to restore the park utilizing the original Frederick Law Olmsted plan to restore our beautiful Jackson Park. It is a plan which is too big to cover in a couple of newspaper paragraphs. We invite anyone who would like to learn more or ask questions, to attend our JPAC educational meetings the second Monday of each month.

Louise McCurry, President
JPAC: Jackson Park Advisory Council

The following was submitted by Jerry Levy to HP Herald for issue of Aug. 27 2014

I am the Chicago Park District volunteer steward for Wooded Island and am a member of the Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC). Wearing these two hats, I often weigh proposals of the Park District on a scale to balance the interests of the Park District with those of the residents around Jackson Park. Often, I then try to present, sometimes with little success, my opinions.

I have attended several meetings and met with people involved in the proposal for the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Project 506, relating to the project in Jackson Park that includes Wooded Island and its lagoons. I attended the meeting of JPAC last Monday. I came away with a very different view of the project from that left by the Herald’s article.

The essence of the treatment of the lagoons isn’t a “fishkill,” but a program to enhance the aesthetics and quality of the water of the lagoons. While it is doubtful that the water, which now frequently looks like chocolate pudding, can be changed to look like the pristine water of Lake Michigan, what ACE plans on doing will certainly improve its appearance. As presented, the ACE is going to spend a large amount of money to improve the appearance of the water, while at the same time upgrading its quality for fish and other aquatic life. They hope to accomplish this by two separate processes.

The first and most extensive is to regrade a significant portion of the shoreline around the edge of the lagoons. This would eliminate the drop-offs and bring the shore down to the water’s edge. The result is known as a “swamp fringe.” When the shore is regraded to the level of the water, it is then planted with herbaceous native plants, sedges, and grasses. The effect would be two-fold: it would deter runoff of rainwater carrying dirt and mud into the lagoons while simultaneously limiting erosion, all of which would help clear the water. As an added benefit, it would allow fishermen and visitors access to the water’s edge.

The other process for treating the quality and aesthetics of the lagoon water is to change the fish species from bottom-diggers that churn the mud to a higher species quality that would improve the water and the attraction of fishing in the lagoons. The elimination of the existing fish would be followed by stocking the lagoons with increasing sizes of native fish, including game fish.

The “fishkill” focus of the Herald article may have been eyecatching, but, unfortunately, it put a negative spin on a program that will have a significant beneficial impact on a treasure of our community.

Jerry Levy


PROJECT 120. JPAC information about
TO ITS OWN PAGE has new information added July 30 2016
Links to Project 12o website and other sources. To Japanese Garden/Garden of the Phoenix page.

May 31 2016, Tuesday, 6-8 pm. Ald. Hairston held a community meeting at La Rabida Hospital to continue discussion and public input on projects proposed for Jackson Park. Robert Karr from Project 120 and Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelly and lead staff answered extensive questions from the crowd of about 170. Although conditions were less than ideal, the tone was sometimes testy, and some felt that the demographics and viewpoints were not as representative as they could be and and that some said later they felt bullied, several scenarios were put to rest and it was confirmed things are far from being decided or settled, whether all believed it or not, and a foundation was proposed to both take a serious look and gather more public input. And it's a part of the forever ongoing question of "whose park?" GMO

In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced June 28 that she will convene a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.

Work began the week of August 8 2016 on installation of Yoko Ono's Sky Landing just west of the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island. Via fencing, the new sculpture of a lotus flower representing peace will be incorporated into the Garden and there will be path reconfiguration. Many details remain to be furnished.

Two summaries from members of Jackson Park Watch

June 15 Hyde Park Herald Re May 31 meeting. By Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid, coordinators

Dear Alderman Hairston:
Jackson Park Watch wants to thank you for convening and leading the May 31 community meeting on the future of Jackson Park. The fact that over 170 residents from communities surrounding the park came out on a very wet and stormy night to listen to and question Park District CEO Michael Kelly and others indicates the breadth and depth of interest in and concerns about the proposals for the future of our park that have been promoted by Project 120. [followed by recitation of the many topics and concerns addressed.]

... We are particularly pleased that the meeting provided the community with clarifications on some key concerns:

We are grateful that you are committed to working with Mr. Kelly to develop a procedure and process for community input that wil fully represent the Jackson Park community in all its diversity. The May 31 meeting was a great step toward that goal , and once again, we thank you.

Thoughts of Jane Masterson, as in Good Neighbors blog

...I think a variety of different things were said. Here is what I chose to remember. Looking forward to hear what the rest of you remembered.

I thought Michael Kelly (CEO CPD) said nothing would be done that the community didn't want and that if the community pushed back there wouldn't be an pavilion/amplified music venue instead of the parking lot behind the Museum of Science and Industry. However, I don't think he added what we would have to do to convince him that the community doesn't want this structure in our park. I think the concert goers would sit on the grass.

Leslie Hairston said that a meeting just as big as the May 31 meeting had approved the pavilion plan in November 2013 at International House. I am attaching an article in the Herald that mentions that Leslie Hairston called a public meeting on Monday, November 25, 2013 (Thanksgiving was that Thursday). The Herald article reporting about the meeting doesn't mention if the meeting was at International House.

Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly said the basketball courts at 63rd and Hayes would not be relocated to the very corner of LSD and Hayes. It was unclear whether the parking lot on Hayes just west of LSD would still be removed and be replaced by part of project 120's great lawn proposal if the basketball courts stay where they are.

Both Leslie Hairston and Michael Kelly briefly mentioned that the parking behind the Museum of Science and Industry would not be removed if the community didn't want it to be removed, but this is just where the Pavilion/Amplified Music Venue is supposed to be.

Darrow Bridge remake plans include only bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles NOT a road connecting LSD and Cornell.

Tennis courts and Dog Park and Golf Driving Range will probably be removed. Tennis players will be directed to tennis courts at 63rd and Cornell or near the Jackson Park Field House. Golf driving range may be relocated so it is parallel to the 1st hole on the golf course. I asked if bark park would be relocated to the tennis courts without nets at 63rd and Cornell and Louise McCurry said no, that the bark park would stay where it was for a while.

I am also attaching project 120's plans (from November 2015 meeting) that show where they originally planned to move the basketball courts (not happening now) and where they originally planned to move the golf driving range (not sure if where the map shows is parallel to first hole) It also shows a new small parking lot they were planning to build next to the relocated basketball courts (basketball courts will not be moved).

...[in Project 120 renderings[ there is a photo of a violinist, 2 acoustic guitars, drums, and electric guitar and a trumpet? Probably meant to show the stage could be used for a variety of different acts. The stage does have two big screens, lights and big speakers. Some of the members of the "band" seem to have brought their own amplifiers.

Frances Vandervoort, part of Hyde Park Herald letter of June 15 2016 related to the May 31 meeting.

...Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.

Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace. ...

Louise McCurry, as to Hyde Park Herald early June 2016

Dear editor,
The Tuesday afternoon Jackson Park Projects meeting hosted by Alderman Hairston at LaRabida was attended by an audience composed of 90% white participants, over the age of 65 years, and residents Hyde Park. That audience did not reflect the thousands of people ,that I see daily in Jackson Park ,from South Shore, Woodlawn, Jackson Park Highlands , and the south lakefront, who play or coach baseball, soccer, football, basketball, are bikers, runners, park volunteers, gardeners, kayakers, sailors, drummers and musicians. The rude denigrating comments from some members of the organized crowd to the Park officials, the Alderman, and to opposing speakers was embarrassing and kept community members who came prepared to speak in favor of the project quiet to avoid the same rude treatment. The final speaker, a young community business woman, summarized the voices of many in attendance who welcomed the Project as one which will bring more young adults and young families into the park. She explained that the park is for everyone of all ages, and ethnicity, and musical tastes and she was looking forward to having programs in the park which young adults and young families would enjoy and would bring more young families into Jackson Park. A great diverse community needs a park with diverse activities . There will always be…bullies among us who name call, denigrate others, threaten, and declare there is only ONE right answer- "theirs". Could it be that before we make decisions about our young families and children's future park amenities that we should ask those current park drummers, musicians, baseball, football, basketball , soccer players, swimmers, croquet players, tennis players, park gardeners, park volunteers, bike riders, runners and moms pushing baby strollers what they would like to see in their park? Should not the thousands of people who are actually the majority of participants in park activities have a vote in deciding park programs and amenities?

To perspective articles April 26, June 15 and June 29

Project 120 input process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.
Modification of position (correction to wording of January minutes) at the March 2016 JPAC meeting:
Minutes of the January 11 meeting. Margaret Schmid moved that the resolution regarding Project 120 be corrected to the originally introduced text,
“Moved that JPAC should reconsider its vote in support of the Project 120 concept of a pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge and should provide a forum for more open discussion and community input on the pavilion concept and other aspects of Project 120 proposals.” Upon an objection, vote was taken. Vote in favor of the correction was 8 to 3 with 1 abstention. The minutes were accepted as corrected.

We understand from Bob Karr that the installation and dedication of Yoko Ono's artwork at the site of the Phoenix Pavilion on Wooded Island has been pushed back to installation late summer, dedication fall 2016. (more about)

Project 120 website ( See also and, -- A watch group of neighbors seeking expanded public input including opponents to at least parts of possible plans. see also

A neighborhood group called Jackson Park Watch has its own takes on these matters and happenings-

Memorandum of Understanding of June 10 2014 between CPD and Project 120. The governing document of this process, along with the agreement between the Park District and the Army Corps of Engineers 2014. The MOU document includes the Revised Framework Plan (AS INVISIONED JUNE 2014) and Projects as of the same date. The Park District has regularly consulted with and given proceeding direction to Project 120 but has not yet signed on to the evolving Revised Framework Plan or Projects (except the GLFER and Yoko Ono's Sky Landing).

1999 Framework Plan- also in Park District website,

Description of and thinking behind the Project 120 Phoenix Pavilion at historic lakefront access point of the park, the Music Court, part of a larger area defined as south of the Museum onto Wooded Island down through the Japanese Garden and Sky Landing (where the original Phoenix Pavilion stood and southeast from the Museum through the Music Court) is in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding as of 2014) Exhibits B and 3, starting at page 22. See also Project 120 website.
Project 12o team to develop the Revised Framework Plan and Projects were (as of June 2014):

wHY | Kulapat Yantrasast
Heritage Landscapes | Patricia O’Donnell
Studio One | Yoko Ono
Project Management
Project Management Advisors, Inc.
Pre-Construction General Contractor
Norcon, Inc.
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.
Accounting and Tax
Mueller Financial Services, Inc.
Envisionit Media LLC

Recent information (late 2015-early 2016) (This report is largely in order of newer to older.) Gary M. Ossewaarde

April 30, 2016 under the auspices of Project 120, noted Japanese Garden expert Kendall Brown gave the history, and astonishing variety of interests and motives of installers of Japanese Gardens (individuals, institutions to fairs and governments) in the U.S. Many have come to have little to do with the purposes or culture in Japan. He pointed out that the gardens need to have support and funding to be sustainable, and suggested, as put forth by the Association of Planners of Japanese Gardens in America, that wellness and healing walks and programs would be one way, compatible with the role of gardens in Japan.
May 1, Bob Karr of Project 120 delivered a program at Museum of Science and Industry (including videos) on the history of Japan-America and Japan Chicago relations, the Japanese facilities, structures and gardens on Wooded Island all the way through Project 120 contemporary visions including for the whole South Parks, and the story of the Osato family that, inter alia managed the Wooded Island facilities 1935-41. Karr announced that an interactive, encyclopedic historic website on the South Parks will we open in late May 2016 and interactive tours o the Garden and the extended areas north of Wooded Iland will be coming later this year. The program was followed by a chance to stroll through the grounds south of the Museum, Wooded Island and the Japanese Garden.

In addition to the ongoing and evolving Framework Plan revision public meetings, Alderman Hairston announced that she will convene development of a process to look at in detail and sort out Project 120 and any other ideas for the park.

Project 120 input process and particularly visitors center was discussed at the January 11 and March 14 2016 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting.

November 9 2015 and February 8 2016 two public input workshops on the three South Parks was held by Project 120 and the Chicago Park District focusing a "version 1" re-do with public input of the framework plans of c. 2000 for each of the plans. There was extensive background given extensive concept drawings, and introduction of options and changes in response to input. Planners zeroed in on the need for ecology and replanting of lost trees, deteriorated and out of date park circulation, and revitalization of both Olmsted's concept of the park and usability for recreation and re-creation.
The purpose of the meetings and surveys was to ascertain those things that the public agrees upon and might be quicker and less expensive to do, in context of a holistic look -- the thought being that more would gradually fall into place as the parks "get better" There were substantial disagreements on park components (what various user groups need in specific areas) and on some concepts especially from Project 120 regarding areas south of the Museum of Science and Industry and for circulation including Cornell Drive. (The concepts south of the Museum and Music Court were especially contentious at a JPAC MEETING JANUARY 11 2017, along with ire at JPAC having passed an approving resolution regarding a visitors pavilion/center and desire of an opposing group (now Jackson Park Watch) to revamp the public input process (According to the MOU CPD and Project 120 are committed to a vigorous community process and to not include facilities the community does not want, a commitment confirmed with both parties in early 2016.) JPAC wil discuss these matters at it March 14, 2016 regular meeting (7 pm at the fieldhouse). These Meetings, including for specific areas/concepts will continue as well as more robust surveys (including online) and clipboard interviews with users on the ground among other means.

Project 120 started with revitalizing the Japanese Garden, planting cherry trees in commemoration of Japan's give to Columbian Exposition and the cherry trees in Washington DC and expanded to ways to re honor the Phoenix Pavilion. Due to the emergency need to raise local funds to take advantage of ACE funds or ecological restoration in the park and to hire a Olmsted park expert landscaper, Project 120 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Park District for the multi-purpose GLFER project. This was extended to general planning for the 3 parks. Meanwhile, Project 120 focused for Jackson Park on 4 project concepts (GLFER, Yoko Ono's Sky Landing where the Phoenix Pavilion had been, a visitors center in a reactivated Music Court, and recreating the Great Lawn of Olmsted where the Golf Driving Range is now (the latter would be moved)-- the last two are far away. No funds have been raised yet for these. Meanwhile Project 120 is starting to raise funds for smaller projects such as benches and picnic tables at Washington Park's ball fields and some restorations on the Midway/
Project 120 looks to become a fundraising conservancy for the 3 parks and may be renamed "South Parks Alliance." Most of the funds it has raised are smaller donations. The largest, $1M, is from Kenwood resident Bernie Del Giorno.


The Story is best told in the website and that of Garden of the Phoenix. Read the overview sections, then in "News and Information" the abstract of Ms. O'Donnell's presentation in Russia (including four key footnotes on the academic foundational principles), then the detail sections and graphics in "Jackson Park" as deep as you like.
(The USACE 506 Habitat and Fishery Restoration Project. Project 1 section is described and linked above and in our ACE2014 page.)

June 7, 2015 Patricia O'Donnell, FASLA, AICP of Heritage Landscapes presented "Revitalization of Historic Jackson Park: Integrating Heritage and Ecology, Sustainability and Resilience in Chicago" at the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

June 12 2015 Yoko Ono's SKY LANDING had its inaugural celebration and Ground Healing ceremony with Yoko Ono and construction will begin, completion summer 20164. (This report in pdf) Design prospectus for the artwork is expected in November 2015. The two mounds to surround it and "effect" the "landing" of the sky are done- they suggest rotating/mixing motion and resemble the classical Asian symbol for Yang and Yin.


May 24 2016 the design for Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” was revealed at an event at the Art Institute of Chicago. Extensive background, the evolution of the idea, and the meaning of the piece was given by Robert Karr. Larger context was also provided by Tao Wang, Pritzker Chair of Asian Art at the Art Institute and restorer Janice Katz, who announced that painted sliding panels (featuring phoenixes) from the 1893 Phoenix Pavilion, by artist Hashimoto Gaho and that survived the burning of Pavilion and were found in 2011, have now been restored at the Art Institute and are being scheduled to join the four carved surviving transom panels on display in the Asian wing.
Yoko Ono’s design selection is a set of twelve human-size pieces representing petals of a sacred lotus blossom (representing peace), each distinctly-shaped petal standing for one of the 24 principles for living in Buddhism and placed on a point in a geometric grid of circles related to the cardinal points of the compass. The piece will be installed during the summer and dedicated by Yoko Ono in a public ceremony this fall.

Press release on Sky Landing by Project 120, June 12, 2016

Sky Landing, by Yoko Ono, First Permanent Public Art Installation in the Americas, Representing a Lifelong Mission for Peace. Coming this Fall to the Garden of the Phoenix, Wooded Island, Jackson Park, Chicago

One year ago today, on June 12, 2015, Noon, Yoko Ono held a Ground Healing Ceremony on the site of SKY LANDING in the Garden of the Phoenix on the Wooded Island on Wooded Island in Jackson Park, Chicago

Set to be open to the public this Fall 2016, SKY LANDING will be Yoko Ono's first permanent public art work in the Americas. It is a marker of her place as an artist of profound international influence and of her lifelong mission for world peace.

SKY LANDING is an ongoing renovation of Jackson Park, including ecological restoration, and a return to how it looked when it looked when it was originally designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
More at

In a July 6 2016 letter to the Hyde Park Herald, Francis S. Vandervoort (who is nature trail steward for JPAC in Jackson Park) and Robert W. Karr (Project 120) write in response to critique of celebrities allegedly swooping down to add things to parks:

"In the early 189os, the Japanese government, striving to break free of cultural bonds that had shut if off from te western world for centuries, heard about the great World's Columbian Exposition that was under construction in the burgeoning city of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. Eager to be welcomed by the West, the Japanese offered monetary support for the fair, now called the World's Columbian Exposition, an amount exceeded only by that of the United States.

The Japanese made another offer as well, one that chief of construction Daniel Burnham could not resist. The Japanese wanted to construct a special building, a "Ho-o-den," or Phoenix Pavilion, and gift it to Chicago following the fair to celebrate the city's rapid recovery from the Great Fire of 1871 and be a symbol of peace between the U.S. and Japan.

There was one problem. The Japanese wanted to build the Ho-o-den on Wooded Island, the site that chief landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had specifically designated as a place of respite and quiet reflection, far away from the noise and and hubbub of the rest of the fair. Olmsted believed that such green space was necessary for urban living, and the Wooded Island served this important purpose within the fair's well-planned city environment.

Burnham used his administrative skill to persuade Olmsted to change his mind about the Ho-o-den, which then was built by a cadre of handsomely uniformed Japanese carpenters brought to Chicago specifically for the task of building the Ho-o-den and a nearby Japanese tea house. Following Olmsteds' approval, teh South Park Commissioners then agreed to accept the Ho-o-den on behalf of Chicago, and to maintain it as a permanent place to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.

The Ho-o-den and teahouse were instantly successful. Both structures not only conveyed the spirits of democracy and community so important to Olmsted's way of thinking, they left a lasting impression on visitors. Among them was a young Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed a life-long fascination and relationship with Japan following his encounters with the fair, including ideas that led to his development of the Prairie style best exemplified by nearby Robie House. Although the tea house disintegrated shortly after the fair closed, the Ho-o-den remained an important feature of Jackson Park until destroyed by fire in 1946.

We now have the opportunity to reestablish this site, and recognize it as one of the most important sites reflecting U.S.-Japan relations for over 120 years. Yoko Ono recognized this when she first visited the original site of the Ho-o-den in 2013. For her, this site has a unique and extraordinary past and future as symbol of peace. Not just between the U.S. and Japan, but among all people and all nations. In fact, we can all use more peace, not just internationally, but locally on our streets and our parks. She has given us an opportunity to learn about our past and create the future together. It is our responsibility to use it.


Gary Ossewaarde reports June 12, 2015:

Yoko Ono’s “SKY LANDING” inaugurated June 12 2015 on Wooded Island site of the historic Japanese Phoenix Pavilion from the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park
By Gary M. Ossewaarde

On June 12, 2015 artist Yoko Ono celebrated SKY LANDING, her first permanent installation in the Americas, in a ground-breaking ceremony by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Project 120 Chicago, and Garden of the Phoenix Foundation. The ground has already been prepared with an elegant u-shaped, now turf-covered double mound designed by wHY LLC that will be landscaped. It will be the site, when dedicated in June 2016, a sculpture to be called SKY LANDING, by artist Yoko Ono and a marker—a space for both congregation and contemplation, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. No information was provided about the sculpture except as suggested by the title. The project is being funded with private money under direction of private-public partnership Project 120. The project was given several public and stakeholder vetting's.

The project is sited in Jackson Park, Chicago’s Wooded Island, on the site of the Phoenix Pavilion, a gift from Japan to Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and located next to the later Japanese Garden. SKY LANDING and the Garden together comprise The Garden of the Phoenix.

The ground-breaking event was designated a “Ground Healing,” to establish the site as a bridge between sky and earth. The public ceremony consisted of a stirring drum, music and dance performance led by award-winning Tatsu Aoki and his Miyumi Project featuring the Tsukasa Taiko drummers, an ensemble of three saxophones, flute, and bass, and a traditional Japanese fan dance. Any further ceremony after on the hill was perhaps postponed because of weather, but the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm and warmth. Ono said, “It is almost like Chicago and Japan, that there’s an incredible, intense opening of the heart from the Chicago end, and I didn’t even know that. It’s like, the intensity is almost insane. And I think ‘wow, this is incredible’”. Ono reflected that more Japanese should learn the Chicago-Japan story and give Chicago something back and that SKY LANDING can generate peace.

Context was given by host Robert Karr, and remarks made by Michael Moskow, Vice Chair and Distinguished Fellow, Global Economy of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Chairman of the Japan Society of Chicago; Tushiyuki Iwado, Council General of Japan at Chicago; Hon. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, The University of Chicago; and Yoko Ono. Honored guests included descendants of J. Donnersberger, South Parks Board Commission Chairman 1893.

Outlined was the long and deep relationship between Japan and the United States (first treaty March 31, 1854) and Chicago (first visit by a Japanese mission in 1872 with a gift to the fire-ravaged city). The gift of the Phoenix Pavilion to the Columbian Exposition and as a permanent gift to the City of Chicago was carefully worked out, including with Fair designers Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmsted, then inaugurated--also on a March 31 in 1893 at an elaborate convening of national and Fair officials and notables. The accompanying ceremony of the “landing” of the phoenix on the site helped inspire today’s SKY LANDING. The pavilion was modeled on a 12th century temple, shipped in sections from Japan, and assembled on the Island. The phoenix is associated with “kanji” (rebirth) and the idea that people and all are reborn on their 60th birthday and hence that history moves in cycles of 60 years. The pavilion was a well-used and loved facility in Chicago and by its growing Japanese community for many years. After its destruction by fire, four partially-burned panels were in storage for many years, but are now restored and on view in the Art Institute of Chicago.

SKY LANDING was conceived during an invited visit by Yoko Ono as Project 120 planted over 120 cherry trees as part of an evolving plan to restore and rethink the environs of the Japanese Garden and create ways that would serve as a living history lessons honoring Olmsted, the Columbian Exposition, the relationship with Japan, and the planting in 1913 of the cherry trees in Washington D.C. Cherry blossoms are iconic of spring in Japan and that appealed to Ono, as well as the site as the location at the Phoenix Pavilion, representing the Japan-Chicago relationship and at the center of major axes of both the park and the Columbian Exposition. Ono, releases state, was immediately drawn to and struck by the power of the place “I recall being immediately connected to the powerful site and feeling the tension between the sky and the ground. I wanted the sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.”

2013 marked the passage of two 60-year cycles since 1893 (celebrated with giant banners celebrating “120 Years” at today’s ground breaking.) Speakers noted that while the first cycle post-World’s Fair was marred by an era of disastrous relations between the U.S. and Japan; the second has been marked by deepening alliance and mutual reliance. SKY LANDING marks the start of a third cycle and that is celebrated by SKY LANDING, standing in as a reconstruction of the Phoenix Pavilion. SKY LANDING project’ undertaking today conveniently dovetails with the U.S. Army Corps reconstruction of Wooded Island and the lagoons and a larger framework planning to restore habitat and landscape in accord with Olmsted’s vision, but resilient and sustainable. And Mayor Emanuel also took advantage of the event to announce another aspect of the City’s renewal of its commitment to public art, 50 new pieces of art in each of the 50 wards.
Chicago Park District CEO and General Superintendent Michael Kelly said about SKY LANDING in a release, “The City of Chicago was honored to receive such a gift from Japan at the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Understanding our past and our relationship today as global partners, we are privileged that the site, with the addition of ‘SKY LANDING’ by Yoko Ono, will teach and inspire us and future generations who visit The Garden of the Phoenix.” It’s an expression of the “enduring legacy of Eastern and Western collaboration” and unity the city press release adds. Mayor Emanuel said, “We will be most honored with the only place in the Americas with her artwork, and I want to thank you for choosing Chicago for that.”

Yoko Ono is an internationally-renowned installation and performance artist who grew up in Japan and has kept her connections to her homeland strong. She has overseen large outdoor installations: in New York City’s Central Park (“Strawberry Fields”) and Reykjavik, Iceland (“Imagine Peace Tower”). SKY LANDING is her first permanent installation in the Americas. A retrospective is currently on view at the MOMA in New York. Ono is widow of John Lennon, and is devoted to peace, meditation, and mystic powers and significance.

A special meeting about Jackson Park was held January 13 2015, Community meeting convened by Ald. Hairston (5th) on the proposed Vision Framework for Jackson Park and four projects envisioned. Presenters included: Robert Karr, Project 120 Chicago; Patricia O’Donnell, Heritage Landscapes; Kulapat Yantrasast, whY design firm. They described where they are so far and advancing thought on the projects. The Army Corps prject is underway as modified to fit Olmsted-framework thinking late in 2014. In future years would be Yoko Ono-involved Sky Landing earthscape outside the Japanese Garden, a visitors center and realignment in the Music Court area, and the re-establishment of the Great Lawn and movement of the Golf Driving Range. Among the key unifying actions would be restoration and redesign and calming of circulation for better access and views, overlooks, and improvement and expansion for both nature and human use and the focal points and destinations in the park.
More meetings later.

As more specific becomes known about the Project 120 concept for the park's framework, potentially including a large visitors and learning center, that material will be moved here or to their own pages. A framework is being developed in consultation with JPAC and which will be presented in early 2015 to CPD for its consideration in early 2015. It is expected to include a general revision of the 2000 Framework Plan and four specific areal revisionings, the first of which is the already in process/progress ACE Habitat Restoration. Project 120 adn Heritage Landscapes will come to the January 2014 JPAC meeting (expected to also hear the UC Obama Library bid team) as part of a visioning - imagining session for the council. It is possible an earlier meeting will be called. Late in 2014 (not quite yet) Project 120 will put their ideas up for comment in their interactive-visual site

While there is consultation among projects, Project 120 and the Army Corps habitat restoration project are separate projects that will not physically overlap in the park.

PROJECT 120. The plan was originally vetted at a November 18 2013 public meeting convened by Ald. Hairston, well attended. There have been modifications since. March 13 Robert Karr of Project 120 presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, possible design concepts for enhancing Jackson Park to help it be more of a teaching park- science, nature, history and better serve the many users and enjoyers of the park- to be in accord with a revisited framework plan and in accord with Olmsted landscape including the many newly planted cherry trees (from which the larger concept grew). The centerpiece is reorganizing the area south of the Museum, known as music court, with a c. $10M (cost and concept likely to change) visitors and teaching center with tour center, museum and amenities. Concepts and concept renderings were made by Why Design architects. Karr noted that the park is owed something to replace the Phoenix Pavilion and Tea House, which were supposed to be in perpetuity, and and former concert structures in the Music Court. Many are thrilled, others have strong reservations about size or other factors or oppose any new structures in parks at all. There was a brief report in the March 19 2014, which may or may not still be up. Hyde Park Herald. (best to sign up for their emails at (they are strongly tied to and seem to be under Garden of the Phoenix and its website inquiries info@).
At its April 14 meeting, Jackson Park Advisory Council approved the project in principle,
adding that its name should reflect its role as a nature and culture center in Jackson Park.

Perspectives (only a small selection is possible. More will be added).

April 26 Louise McCurry gave the following thoughts (not officially endorsed by JPAC although the latter has endorsed the project in principle), to Good Neighbors on Project 120.

Sent:Sat Apr 26 03:08:16 UTC 2014
Subject: [Good Neighbors] Jackson Park

"Thank you all for your interest in Jackson Park. Jackson Park is the most amazing lakefront park in the city! It was redesigned after the1893 World's Fair by Olmsted and his landscape architectural company to include the Music Court at it's current location, along with the Japanese Tea House and the Japanese Gardens.

While circulating petitions for the Nancy Hays Bridge, I spoke with scores of older July 4th Music Court visitors who recalled fondly from their childhood the concerts in the Music Court and its July 4th celebrations. This was before the the opening of the Nike Missile Base which effectively closed off this part of the park to visitors . Others recalled Shakespeare plays, children's plays, community meetings, and classes they attended at the Music Court,. The Court was as a safe,outdoor place where community members and families came together for celebrations and events. Some of these seniors travel from Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky annually on July 4th to celebrate at the Music Court with their families, as they did when they were young.

The Japanese Gardens and Tea House were built by the Japanese for the 1893 World's Fair and were given to the American people as a symbol of friendship. The Japanese Tea House, contained public bathrooms, and was supposedly burned down by teens because of the Japanese role in WWII. The band shell was destroyed before the Nike Missile Base was opened.

Currently, I have observed, the Music Court is used by: drivers illegally parking in the Music Court instead of the paid lot, drinkers who leave an assortment of bottles, cans, and garbage each Friday and Saturday night during the warm months. individuals who are selling drugs leaving behind their dime bags and wrappers, prostitutes who leave behind their condom wrappers, and large noisy spontaneous gatherings who party in the Music Court rather than the pay permit picnic areas. For at least the last 23 years that I have been doing AYSO soccer ,on Saturday and Sunday afternoons competing boom boxes blast at decibels loud enough to be heard by children playing soccer at the 63rd street soccer fields.

On Saturday or Sunday Mornings, JPAC volunteers, working with the Park District, pick up bags full of bottles, cans, food, and garbage left on the ground by people using the Court and its parking lot. JPAC volunteers have spent hundreds of hours working, with the Park District, to bring visitors and families back to the park by clearing the debris, reporting criminal activity, and replanting the native species on Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadow, repairing the picnic areas, the sports fields and the bike and walking paths, and cleaning the beaches at 57th,63rd, and 67th streets. JPAC wants to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" by bringing people and families into our park to enjoy nature rather than spending hours in front of TV or computer screens.

The Phoenix plan only rebuilds and replaces the previously destroyed Music Court band shell, Japanese tea house, and bathrooms. It includes bathrooms, and small outdoor stage and seating area, and a tea house with a staff who can assist visitors or alert police or emergency responders. . It offers us a safe, comfortable, outdoor family and community resource where visitors can get a cool drink, use the bathroom, sit down and listen to a nature or history guide; where school groups can gather for nature classes before visiting the treasures of Bobolink Meadow and Wooded Island:, where visitors to the 1893 World's Fair site can gather for orientation lectures before walking the sites of the World's Fair; where small groups can perform : ( i.e. children's choirs, children's violin groups, children's theater groups, children's ballet groups, plays like Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor family nature classes, school nature classes, string quartets, jazz trios, classical music trios, and even community celebrations like the Wooded Island Festival.) It is a place where fond childhood and family memories can be made. Music Court is a small space, not a large Northerly Island concert venue. It is a small place where small groups of community members can comfortably come together outdoors, and sip some tea or pop, and maybe listen to their children's concerts or a play or lecture. Then, after drinking their fill of tea ,pop, or coffee, rather than attempting to hold it until they get home, they can use a clean, safe bathroom at the Phoenix.

What a vast improvement from usages of the current deteriorating Music Court and the rebuilding of a positive and much needed community and family resource!

As always, JPAC welcomes you to join our JPAC volunteers to end "Nature Deficit Disorder" in our community.
Louise McCurry, JPAC President."

June 15 2016- Letter to Hyde Park Herald by Frances Vandervoort- Sacred Cows and Holy Beavers

To the Editor:
Last week I learned of local concern that the Jackson Park Golf Driving Range, constructed in 1978 near the site of the Nike Missile Base, was soon to be sacrificed to Project 120’s plan to convert the space into a spacious lawn. I also learned that beavers would soon be unwelcome facets of Jackson Park ecology. Never mind that, in 1978, when the golf driving range was about to become reality, concerned citizens sought the help of former alderman Leon Despres to prevent the Chicago Park District (CPD) from destroying much of the existing Bobolink Meadow. Documents, signed by Mr. Despres, were presented by a local resident to the chief lawyer of the CPD, temporarily halting bulldozers poised to tear up the precious land. Hyde Parkers, who chained themselves to driving range posts, were cut free by CPD employees, carted off to district police headquarters, and released at the request of Mr. Despres. Now, it seems, the driving range is a sacred cow – to be saved at all cost!

Beavers travel north along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from south lakeshore wilderness areas to seek out fresh stands of new and mature trees. They often settle in Jackson Park’s lagoons to build lodges and feed upon branches with their powerful teeth and jaws. CPD employees trap the creatures, take them back to forest preserves, knowing full well that many of them will return. Beavers are persistent. It seems, that in the eyes of some, they are sacred as well.

Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated individuals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier -- were notable.

Points made during presentations included the following:
• The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
• The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
• A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion ... and the roof of the gallery toward the “South open Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people -- people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace.

The Role of Project 120 in Jackson Park Planning.
Many folks are unaware that Project 120 is part of a collaborative effort involving the Chicago Park District and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers known as GLFER, Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration. GLFER uses CPD and U.S. Government funds supplemented by private funds raised by Project 120. GLFER is committed to addressing park management issues in view of evolving urban needs and the inevitable climate changes foreseen for the 21st Century. Also, part of its duty is to inform and involve the public in all actions proposed or taken. Numerous meetings have been held to discuss all issues related to the project. Questions (that appeared on a Jackson Park Watch handout on May 29) about "how the Park District feels about..., " or "what the Park District thinks about ..." are specious and misleading. The three units making up GLFER are in total agreement. Project 120 is easier to say than GLFER, but it is NOT a defining term.

Project 120 has engaged the nation's foremost expert on Frederick Law Olmsted, Patricia O'Donnell of Heritage Landscapes, LLC, for advice about park design. Working for GLFER is the outstanding young CPD ecologist, Lauren Umek, who analyzes and suggests the very best ecological practices for management of the special treasure that is Jackson Park.

We are so lucky.

Letter by Eric Ginsburg to Hyde Park Herald June 29, 2016. There is no need to mar the middle of Jackson Park with another intrusive artificial object.

I submit that Project 120's plan to put a music pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park might not have been appreciated by the park's designer, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1891, he wrote a letter protesting the placement of a music hall on Wooded Island, saying people should consider it "a place of relief from all the splendor and glory and noise and human multitudinousness of the great surrounding Babylon" In his public advocacy, Olmsted repeatedly showed that he understood the value in unbuilt spaces, saying for example that Presque Isle in Michigan, "should not be marred by the intrusion of artificial objects. "

Jackson Park is one of our city's few remaining spots of urban wilderness. Birdwatchers come from far away to se the animals it draws, families come to picnic, many come to fish. As our population grows, such places become fewer and fewer, and as habitat decreases across the hemisphere, the number and variety of birds decreases as well.

the proposed pavilion will displace trees and green space, impair views, and bring extra noise, all unnecessarily. We already have many permanent music venues on the South Side of Chicago. Jackson Park already hosts the Chosen Few festival every year without the need for permanent structures. If the communities surrounding Jackson Park collectively decide, through a collective open process, that public land is needed for a new music venue, we can find a more appropriate location for it than in th center of a natural area.

Olmsted's attitude was prescient. He was writing in an era before amplified music, before the Park was surrounded by road noise from traffic moving at highway speeds, before several bird species once found in Chicago went extinct. Olmsted knew from experience what neuroscientists have since quantified, that a walk in nature has beneficial effects on the brain. He would have understood that there is no need to mar the middle of his park with another intrusive "artificial object."

[Ed. note, on the other hand, Frances Vandervoort read at a Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting a letter of Olmsted proposing a music pavilion in Washington Park.]

Documentary on Olmsted and design of American Parks available, to be broadcast.

Special: PBS doc on Olmsted, Designing Americas Parks with extras is available on line and will be broadcast on PBS June 26 9 pm (EDT?). Passed on by Madiem: We are pleased to let you know that “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America,” a one-hour film, will be broadcast nationally on PBS on Friday, June 20 at 9:00 PM (check local listings.) Attached below you will find a pdf of the broadcast announcement, which we hope you will share with your friends via email and social media.We have produced six short bonus videos for the film, which you can see now on the PBS Olmsted website. We have also produced a twelve-minute film for the Library of American Landscape History, which also will be on the PBS site soon. The film is called “The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System.” It is part of the LALH “North American by Design” film series and it is available now on the LALH website, as are two other landscape architecture films. I’ve put the links to both sites below.
Olmsted Bonus Videos. Library of American Landscape History Short Films


ADVICE JANUARY-MAY+++ 2014- THE CLARENCE DARROW BRIDGE, WHICH INCLUDES ACCESS TO WOODED ISLAND AND OSAKA GARDEN FROM THE LOT TO THE EAST OFF LAKE SHORE DRIVE AND TO BOBOLINK MEADOW AND THE LAKEFRONT BIKE TRAIL ETC. FROM THE WEST HAS BEEN CLOSED BY TRAFFIC OFFICIALS BECAUSE OF UNSAFE CONDITION. JPAC, THE PARK DISTICT, TRANSPORTATION AND ELECTED OFFICIALS, OTHERS, ARE WORKING ON A SOLUTION FOR EMERGENCY REPAIR AND IN ANY CASE ALTERNATE ACCESS. THIS IS CRITICAL ACCESS TO ONE OF THE MOST VISITED SPOTS IN ILLINOIS AND IN CASE OF EMERGENCY NEED. THIS HISTORIC 120 YEAR OLD BRIDGE HAS TO BE HISTORICALLY RESTORED. After JPAC and others sought structural assessment of the bridges in Jackson Park (with only Darrow failing-- it has only been patched since its construction in 1870 and reconstruction for the Columbian Exposition), the park district applied for IDOT grants but was denied, at least on first round. Funding is not yet secured, but is being sought diligently by elected officials and public agencies. But time is urgent.
See update from August 2014 JPAC meeting.

PRINTABLE PETITION IN PDF WITH CASE FOR REPAIR AND REOPENING. (Time is urgent as there will be an online petition cut off and the results sent to the agencies.


Park nature and landscape revitalization going strong:
April 22 2014 Friends of the Parks, Exelon Corp, JPAC and Openlands volunteers planted 25 native species trees south of the Golf Driving Range.
Majority were various species of oaks, upholding the oak savannah heritage of the park and area. Thanks to all.

Louise writes: "Many thanks, to all of you who helped, this week, planting 25 new oak trees, re chipping the Bobolink Meadow path, and mulching around the trees at the 63rd street picnic areas. You made a positive difference in the ecology of our park and lakefront."

Thanks to those who helped with the SPECIAL PLAYGROUND WORKDAY THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014 spreading fibar under new equipment in this enormous playground at the fieldhouse. Thanks to Chicago Park District and to Friends of the Parks, esp. Maria Stone.

JPAC President McCurry called for participation in Earth Day activities in letter in April 23 2014 Hyde Park Herald (and it will returning April 2015-- we also encourage people to look for Earth Day/Harold's Day activities in Harold Washington Park.)

Join Jackson Park cleanup for the Earth.To the Editor:

Saturday, April 26, the Jackson Park Advisory Council is participating in the 25th annual Earth Day park clean up sponsored by Friends of he Parks. JPAC invites all neighbors to join them at 9 a.m. at either the 57th Street Beach or the 63drd Street Beach to clan up the plastic bags, cans, bottles and debris left on the beaches by the winter's storms and beach visitors. Earth Day T-shirts and goodie wil be given to volunteers as long as they last, so come early. Families are welcome. Children can enjoy being with their parents and friends cleaning up the lakefront while enjoying a few hours at the beach.

Around the world, Earth Day is being celebrate in some creative ways. The Earth Day Network and Forest nation are joining forces to provide fast growing tree kits for students to sell as fundraising projects instead of he usual candy and popcorn. The kit is then used in impoverished nations to plant fast growing tres to improve the economy and ecology of the impoverished community. Around the word, 260 universities in 42 nations are taking part in "Mobilize U" matching world college students with ecology cleanup projects in their communities. Many libraries are participating in a progam called "Reading for the Earth" promoting environmental literacy for children.

Throughout Chicago and the suburbs, Friends of the Parks has Earth Day clean up sites in parks and preserves. Volunteers are still needed. You can sign up by going to and clicking on "Earth Day" or come at 9 a.m. on April 26 to one of the designated EArth Day sits. You will be glad you did your part to clean up the Earth.

Louise McCurry

Common, Kanye West join forces for annual AAHH Fest in Jackson Park to launch multi-year program to hire youth, give shadowing ops for careers THIS EVENT WAS MOVED TO UNION PARK.

Mission accomplished. After years of work and thousands of petition signatures and stakeholder letters, the north bridge to Wooded Island was named for JPAC past president, ace photographer, and park activist Nancy Campbell Hays in January, 2014. A nice sign was put up. Dedication was held March 15. Nancy C. Hays page. Hays petition (FYI-of course, closed)

Impressive Presenters. JPAC and Montgomery Place residents are most grateful to Friends of the Viking Ship ( and Raymond Johnson and friends of Friends of the White City ( and to our host, Montgomery Place, for detailed, elegant presentations at Montgomery Place Retirement Community on March 10. The presentations were informative and elegant. We learned the history, sad subsequent neglect, and recent stabilization and hopes for this unique replica ship-- much with this ship and its journeys being unique. The Park District in Augusts 2012 agreed to relinquish rights to the ship to Friends of Viking Ship. And we learned a not-so-good story about the ice house at the fair and the many firemen lost-- and that we can find the huge wooded statue of Columbus that was at the building, now at the Greater Chicago Firefighters Museum. Read more about the Viking Ship in Jackson Park History page and Columbian Exposition.
We held a follow up at the December 2014 JPAC meeting at UC Lab School Early Learning Center. Frances McNamara presented on her mystery novels set in late 19th century Chicago including at at the Columbian Exposition. Ray Johnson zeroed in on the fire a teh ice house at the Fair.

The park district also agreed in March 2014 to carry out its long-since agreement to place a sign at the 63rd St. beachhouse naming the balconies for Eric Hatchett, past president of JPAC, largely the force behind restoration and reopening of the beachhouse, and youth mentor and activist. See the information and resolutions.

Vandalism unfortunately is a fact of life in urban parks. Two of the most serious in 2013 were theft of copper piping- including underground- at the 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion, rendering the interactive spray pool inoperable, and removal of (high) fencing at the Golf Driving Range so dealers could do their thing. Park benches and water fountains are frequent targets.
Safety-- there's been lots of improvement, but certain (moving) pockets continue to offer opportunities.
Response by Chicago and park police have been excellent.

Jackson Park awarded new playground equipment 56th and Stony May 2013 under CPD-Friends of the Parks program.
Earl B. Dickerson was replaced autumn 2013 and included a community workday spreading the fibar and a dedication with Bret Harte School. Chrysalis Playlot and that at the Fieldhouse will be rebuilt starting spring 2014. "Thank You!" to Friends of the Parks and park staff. Community workdays are involved. JPAC had done a survey of the park's 7 or so playgrounds with the Safe Play coalition the year before and found the three being replaced the worst (along with one not recommended for continuation because of problems with the location). So we were ready to do our request and community support-building when the program was announced competition to replace 50 or so playgrounds a year over 5 years.

Maria Stone of Friends of the Parks wrote to JPAC May 29 [2013]:

Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Park District have received and reviewed your community’s nomination for Jackson Park (5625 S. Stony Island) for the Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation Program. We are pleased to announce that Jackson Park has been selected as the one of the first playgrounds to be built in the first year of the Chicago Plays! program.

The Chicago Plays! Program has created much excitement and has gotten Chicagoans thinking about community and its importance to their parks. There were numerous outstanding nominations from community organizations across the city of Chicago so the decision making process was a difficult one. The commitment and enthusiasm that your community has displayed in your application was evident and both the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks are excited to work with your community to make this new playground a reality.

Over the next few months we will work with you regarding the anticipated construction date and playground designs. Your community will have the opportunity to select playground equipment based on the provided designs.

Congratulations on your new playground!

Maria Dmyterko Stone

So far, two new sets of playground equipment were installed in the northwest corner- Earl B. Dickerson and Chrysalis, a large new set at the fieldhouse, 6401 Stony, and approved for south of the track at 62-- south Stony/Cornell and approved or at least put in for east of the 63rd beachhouse. JPAC is considering a new playground near La Rabida. The rest seem to be in good condition.

Jackson Park sports programs soar. Under new Daycamp Director Erika Robinson and new park Supervisory Bobbie Beckam, the range, organization, and recruitment/enrollment for fieldhouse and field sports program blossomed in 2013 and 14. Major and minor facilities upgrades were carried out or placed on the radar. Notable is the Take The Field soccer-football artificial turf field at the track, Windy City Hoops, and Junior Bears.
Issues with the track area are being addressed.
And visit the fieldhouse including to look at the council's Nancy Hays Gallery.
There is hope that the fieldhouse will see in 2014:
- air conditioning in 4 special and multi-purpose rooms incl. the conditioning/weight room
- Floor of the gym.

Renewing and inventorying nature, landscape. (See more in Nature News.) In addition to phased replacements and infill under the Wooded Island Habitat Plan et al, JPAC took the physical lead in a tree survey of the natural areas, adding to the regional inventory-Here is the link to the Openlands interactive GIS survey:
JPAC has followed up with flagging and protection around volunteer oak sprouts (enabled by the diligent clearing of invasives and opening of sunlight- and giving hope for survival of the oak savannah ancient habitat). This also dovetailed into start, and hoped soon-completion of a woodchip nature trail through Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, the now rehabilitated meadow, and soon a connecting trail along the south edge of the east lagoon and also tie in with the tree and plant identifiers and nature activity literature prepared by JPAC. Signage is next.

Also, JPAC works with the PD, Friends of the Parks, and Exelon to infill areas where trees have been lost or seem needed. I addition, Garden of the Phoenix and Project 120 replaced invasive overgrowth with about 120 cherry trees at the north end of Wooded Island and north of the lagoons.

And JPAC, with the park district has returned the Promontory Circle area (La Rabida and Outer Harbor shores) to a state of beauty and public use. None of these things would be possible without large volunteer groups who help us.

JPAC continues to follow changes in monitoring and responding to pollution of our waters and beaches, and hope for progress. Visit the beach and swim ban page.

Lakefront Bike Trail- there was a collaborative gathering of input and recommendations, but little has been done yet.

This and That

In late winter 2014 Paul Clyne reported a goodly inventory of birds in the Jackson Park harbors. There's a lively variety of ducks, but see quickly as through the advance of April, many species go south.