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Welcome to the December 2005 JPAC Newsletter online

Volume 12, Issue 12

Published by the Jackson Park Advisory Council
Hosted in www.hydepark.org-hpkcc@aol.com
Editor Gary Ossewaarde, 773 947-9541, 5528 S. Hyde Park Blvd., 606, Chicago, IL 60637
Natural Areas/Environment/Policy Ross Petersen, 773 975-1101
President Nancy Hays 773 373-0214
Jackson Park Fieldhouse 773 256-0903, Area Manager Alonzo Williams 773 256-0959

In this issue:

 

 

Minutes of the November 14, 2005 JPAC council meeting

Ross Petersen opened the meeting at 7:37 pm. October meeting minutes were approved.

Nature Committee report

Petersen reported on a successful season’s end workday in the Bob-o-link north woods and movements toward resolution of the Promontory Point issue. Top

Lake Michigan Partnership

Referencing discussion at the previous meeting and in the Newsletter, Petersen moved the following resolution: JPAC will join the Lake Michigan Watershed Ecosystem Partnership. The motion was approved unanimously. Top

Fieldhouse report

Park Supervisor William Tillis thanked JPAC for its donation to the Halloween party. A Park Kids and a community party were held. Thanksgiving activities will include a turkey trot. On motion from Fran Vandervoort, JPAC approved a $200 donation for children’s holiday festivities.
The Winter park program schedule was distributed. Registration is now open. Schedules are available at the fieldhouse and area schools and libraries. Featured are modern African dance, basketball, soccer, and environmental education.

Community demand is up along with recruitment at schools. Terry Jones will lead and instruct football. 100 are expected to participate in Junior Bears. Tillis noted that long-time instructor Mr. Price has retired, with much appreciation. He started in 1960 ad was the first African-American physical instructor in the area. Another instructor has been promoted. Therefore, the park is still short of instructors; the positions will be filled quickly, after which more students can be accommodated. Top

Concept proposal for harbor expansion

Rob Rejman, Lakefront Construction Manager for the Chicago Park District, presented the program for the District wide Harbor System, being developed with JJR Inc. Rejman said there is a Working Group that includes JPAC and Jackson Park Yacht Club member Cedric Chernick, to whom concerns and ideas can be brought. One of an expected series of public meetings was held in late September at South Shore Cultural Center. Rejman emphasized that the program is in preliminary planning and is a response to studies showing that over the next 20 years demand for slips—and visitor docking—will exceed existing supply by at least about 2,500. Service facilities for boater, amenities and additional parking are also needed.

The purpose, Rejman said, is to enhance the overall lakefront experience for all users through expanded (and some new) harbors, interconnected parks, elimination of barriers to boaters and park users, and better parking and new enhancements such as restaurants. Another purpose is to improve connections between neighborhoods and the lakefront.

Concepts for the Jackson Harbor include creating a third harbor section (in addition to Outer and Inner) with a new harbor mouth by extending the Casino Pier breakwater southward opposite La Rabida Hospital. Promontory Circle would be reconfigured to provide a new seawall and land edge and space for new parking as well as public uses and boater amenities and provision for visiting boats. Land at 67th/South Shore Drive/Marquette Drive would be built out near the new harbor entry to allow a pedestrian underpass at the intersection and a new egress from South Shore Cultural Center. Rejman noted that the (2) South Lakefront Framework Plan recommended improvements for the Circle and at the intersection. Rejman said the parking need is half a space per boat slip for maybe 400-500 parking spaces.

Members noted and Rejman acknowledged there was opposition in Rogers Park, on grounds of access, opposition to changes to the lakefront, and possible exclusionary uses of the lake and parking (lot exclusion being downplayed by Rejman and some members). Rejman noted that there was no opposition to a 31st St. harbor. All seemed interested in harbor possibilities for 87th Street (USX site). Rejman cited several organizations, including “green” that are in favorably interested in the program. Rejman reported that La Rabida expressed concerns about parking, security and other concerns but is willing to work out issues especially if kids can have access to sailing classes and can see the boats. Rejman added that boating is now more affordable and expanding through more demographic groups and more neighborhoods. He noted that many conditions including lake bottom profile will have to be studied before a recommendation is made.

Members concerns:

· That adequate parking may not be possible or have good access/ interfere with already problematic parking for La Rabida and park users, and that the new parking may not be available to the general public- or invite conflicts (like at the boat launch lot).
· Congestion (including proximity to La Rabida, the Golf Course, and high rises on 67th); inability to direct and accommodate traffic.
· Possible effects squeezing the public out of this popular picnicking area and of giving too much parkland over to specialized, semi-private uses.
· Effects on La Rabida and the Golf Course if not handled very carefully.
· Desire to keep the current “rustic” shore/its current position, avoid a concrete wall, and enhance rather than lose green space. Several said they do want the edge cleaner and safer but not lose its character.
· Effect on movement of currents and pollution, sand deposition and on flushing out waste and pollutants (citing 63rd St. Beach). Concerns for effects on lake life, quality.
· Members suggested the need to try to add soft lake edges with restoration of natural shore plantings and to increase fishing piers, etc.; Rejman was in agreement.

Members said they would need to see the proposed parking and general access at the Promontory Circle-La Rabida-67th area before they could endorse harbor expansion. Upon motion for a straw vote, a majority voted their reluctance to having the harbor built and wanting to see more. The Council also suggested to Mr. Rejman that the Council have an additional representative on the Working Group when dealing with Jackson, who could solicit and express all park perspectives and interests in addition to those of the boaters.

Rejman said the planners will come back when plans are more fully developed and said the concepts are online at http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parksandfacilities/harbors/ look for Harbors: Planning the Future. Top

New business

Members of the Chicago Croquet Club, which shares the Bowling Green and clubhouse, said the club wants to be more visible, including in publications, and may host a summer camp. Spring-fall Wednesday nights, Saturdays. Info Tom O’Laughlin, 773 631-2422.
Adjourned 8:50 pm. Next meeting December. 12, 2005, 7:30 pm, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.

Respectfully submitted,


Gary M. Ossewaarde
Secretary

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In Memoriam

JPAC expresses its sadness at the passing of Ron Humbert, director of the Chicago Herpetological Society. In an hour of urgency, Ron brought together scientists and other volunteers from the Society, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and other organizations to rescue fish and other wildlife when a corner of the East Lagoon was dammed off during the Lagoon Rehabilitation Project three years ago. “A friend to man and beast.”

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The Lake Michigan Watershed Ecosystem Partnership…

is organizing, growing, and preparing to request funding for restorative projects. JPAC has submitted its letter of membership and endorsement, noting its special interest in curbing pollution along the lake and in the park and in restoration of health and habitat (including shoreline) in the Lake and our Natural Areas including the Lagoons. LMWEP goals are:

1. Protect the coastal zone and inland watershed of Lake Michigan,
2. Improve water quality by reducing soil erosion and non-point source pollution,
3. Protect, restore and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitat,
4. Manage storm water and the floodplain,
5. Enhance lakefront recreational opportunities, and
6. Demonstrate the feasibility of interstate and public/private partnerships including working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Coastal Management Program and other state agencies.

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More response to JPAC budget requests

At the September regional Park District budget hearing, JPAC President Nancy Hays stressed the need to replace lost trees and to make sure that the Park District holds contractors to their obligation to keep trees alive or replace those that die. General Superintendent Mitchell, in his letter of reply to Ms. Hays referenced tree replacement, noting that many trees will be replaced under a new line item. He did not reply to Nancy’s concern about the contractors. A staff member did assure Ms. Hays that the staff works closely with contractors to see that the contracts are fulfilled. That staff person has since left the District. JPAC expects successors to continue take that responsibility seriously. The District cannot respond to needs by citing lack of money if it does not enforce contracts and secure those funds and services to which it is contractually entitled.

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Announcement of Election, Best Bets

JPAC holds its annual election of officers January 9. Offices: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, At-Large. Voter/officer qualification: attended 3 of the last 12 meetings. Nominations can be submitted at a meeting or to the Secretary, addresses on front page.

Doug Anderson’s bird walks continue through New Year’s Day- Wed 7, Sat. 8, Darrow Bridge south of MSI. 773 493-7058.

Washington Park through the 1920s continues thru Dec. 31 at Hyde Park Historical Society, 5529 S. Hyde Park. Curated by HPHS Archivist and JPAC member Stephen Treffman.

Living history in the Park. South Shore School for Leadership students mark off the footprint of the Haitian pavilion at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and talk to passersby about the significance of the exhibit and role of Frederick Douglass. Southeast of the Bowling Green, Thursdays 3-5 pm.

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