Releases and press coverage and main points of the July 25, 2003 City Counteroffer (Series 2003-2004, #3)

The Point home and subpages. site incl. plans
City/Dept. of Environment site with city plans, updates
Point Wkg Group (Mediator's) website:

Landmark and Preservation status
The huge inflow of letters to the Herald are cached in
Alderman Hairston's email. To Alderman's website- find City Council and scroll to name.

1: July 13 2003 Task Force Preservation and Access Plan text*
2: Reports and text, views, links to view July 13 plans
3: [This page:] City's Modified Plan of July/August 2003 (reinstated January 28, 2004)
4: September 10 2003 public briefing and summary
5: Reports of the Mediator of the Working Group meetings
(See also Save the Point site)
6: Reports and Appeals March-December 2003, including re: mediation process
7: Reports, Appeals, Press from Jan.-Feb. 2004 breakdown period, incl. Mediator's Stat.
8: Point dispute-statements-coverage-Rossi letter late Feb./March 2004
9: The March 9 summit and costing tasks to lead to final working group report due April 15
10: Listing on the '10 Most Endangered' list; disputes over plans and 1994 Memorandum and defenses of the rival plans
11: [This page: Latest Promontory Point news] Latest, expectations, perspectives
12: From the Mediator's Final Report May 2004


Renderings of the rival plans northeast end

city and TF renderings of rival July plans for northwest tip of Point

Some of the key July-response city changes from the city's October, 2001 plan are:

Not yet clear: type(s), amount, width and placement of access to revetment levels, promenade, and water; whether there are sections that can be basically filled- exteriorly wrapped and otherwise left alone; what constitutes and how is achieved the kind of real preservation plan the community expects. (The TF's preservation architects strongly disagreed that the park district's latest concept is a "preservation" plan and insisted that each of seven sections be treated separately.)

Community Task Force release, July 28, 2003

On last Friday (7/25), at a meeting hosted by the South East Chicago Commission, the Chicago Park District presented a revised plan for its intended work at Promontory Point. The Park District's revisions include preservation in limestone blocks of the top two (of four) step levels and the use of textured, tinted concrete in other areas.

At that meeting Greg Lane and Jack Spicer, representing the Community Task Force for Promontory Point, proposed that the Task Force and the Park District (including the Chicago Department of Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers) begin a series of joint working meetings. These meetings would be an attempt to work toward a plan that would be acceptable to both the community and the Park District. The meetings would be supervised by a paid, neutral facilitator who would prepare a written report after each meeting. These reports would be available to the public and the press. This proposal was accepted by the Park District
and by the other members of the Task Force Executive Committee (Connie Spreen, Fred Blum and Bruce Johnstone) and the meetings are scheduled to begin the week of August 3rd. (For additional information see
Saturday's Sun-Times or today's Tribune or the Task Force web site at <>.)

We feel that the revisions offered by the Park District are an important and welcome step in the direction of a better process and a better plan. The Task Force remains committed to genuine preservation of the
limestone revetment, to outstanding accessibility for all persons with disabilities, and to a broad range of swimming opportunities at Promontory Point.

And most important, we are committed to an open, public process that will result in a plan supported by the community.

Thanks again for your active and continued support.

Executive Committee

Fred Blum
Bruce Johnstone
Jack Spicer
Connie Spreen


city plan July 2003 top 2 rows lime, rest concrete, concrete tow at water

more city renderings of its July 2003 plan

Park District July 25 renderings. Herald, July 30, 2003

Park District announces its latest Point rehab plan

Hyde Park Herald, July 30, 2003. By Maurice Lee

After two years of wrangling with Hyde Parkers over the rehab of Promontory Point, Chicago Park District Superintendent David Doig presented a plan last week that would feature two limestone shelves leading down to a pair of concrete steps and a 16- to 25-foot concrete promenade.

Presented to the South East Chicago Commission (SECC) last Friday, the plan is the city's first new design since 2001's "9-Point Plan," and attempts to mollify preservationists' concerns by adding limestone steps to the plan. Doig also promised to bring on an independent facilitator* to assist in negotiations with the Community Task Force for Promontory Point, a group of Hyde Parkers working to preserve the Point's limestone revetment.

[Ed. note: the term now being used by both parties is "mediator", and the mutually accepted mediator has been selected.]

"That's our attempt to understand and appreciate some of the community's concerns about the aesthetic character of the Point," doig said in an interview shortly after his meeting with University of Chicago-funded SECC at the Quadrangle Club, 1155 E. 57th St., last Friday. So far, the Task Force say they are bullish on the new plan, which they believe is a step in the right direction.

"They, I think, made a substantial move," said task force executive committee member Jack Spicer, "in the direction of both what the community has been asking for and in the direction of genuine preservation."

The latest move in the two-year-old battle over the city's plan to rebuild the Point's limestone revetment in concrete, the new plan calls for the top two steps and an underwater toe-stone shielding the Point's revetment to be build out of limestone, while the bottom two steps and the 16- to 25-foot promenade would be made out of concrete, with a wall of steel sheeting set at the waterline.

According to park district engineering consultant Bill Weaver, the concrete portion of the revetment will be an immobile, "working" section of the structure and will be built to withstand the brunt of the lake's wave action.

The top limestone steps and the underwater toe-stone would not be structurally connected to the concrete and will be flexible and able to shift as waves strike.

The park district has also agreed to work with an "aesthetic advisory council"* to make decisions on the design details of the project, such as selecting colors and textures to use in the concrete and will meet regularly with the new council and the Task Force to hammer out the remaining issues.

[Ed. note. This "aesthetic council" was an intra-discussion idea that was dropped in favor of a series of face-to-face mediated meetings between the parties.]

"I think we've made a major step in terms of just getting through some of these technical issues," said Doig.

According to South East Chicago Commission President valerie Jarrett, the next hurdle participants face will be in melding the two plans into one. "I think what the commission would like is that rather than having dueling plans that we have one plan and everybody try to get behind a process that will lead to one plan," said Jarrett."Because there's only going to be one renovation project in the end."

But Spicer says that sort of agreement is still some way off. He says while he is optimistic, the next several weeks will lb difficult as the community and the park district try to find a common ground in a fight that has raged since the beginning of 2001.

"This next month or six weeks will be extremely difficult. It will require a lot of commitment and work on everybody's part ," said Spicer. "I hope everybody is ready for the work involved and I hope everyone has the stamina for it."



City, Hyde Park compromising on Promontory Point repairs

Chicago Sun-Times, July 26, 2003. By Nancy Moffett, Parks and Museums Reporter


After fencing for years over shoring up Promontory Point, the Chicago Park District and a community task force came away from a Friday meeting with swords pointing in the same direction.

Initially toward more meetings. But perhaps toward a solution.

The city now says it can use more historic limestone to re-build the shoreline at the Hyde Park park. The city also says it can use texture and color to dress up the concrete a neighborhood task force has fought against.

And to show off the options, the city has dropped off a 600-pound slab of concrete at the fieldhouse at the Point, where a wall of stone steps rings the lakefront.

"We want to work with the community to find the right texture, the right color," said Rob Rejman, director of lakefront construction for the Chicago Park District, in charge of the project with the Army Corps of Engineers.

"They are incorporating more limestone. They're proposing to put more of it into the top steps," said Robert C. Mason, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, which convened Friday's meeting of representatives from the Community Task Force for Promontory Point and the park district.

The revisions marked "a significant step forward," said Jack Spicer, task force spokesman. "I think they should be applauded. It's at least theoretically a bridgeable distance," said Spicer. "It seems we're close to a handshake," Rejman said.

One change was to agree to use limestone for two of four levels of steps, instead of concrete, Rejman said. "The top two would be limestone, the intermediate steps would be concrete, then the promenade at the water's edge would be concrete," and it could be textured and colored to mimic stone, he said. "We're going to use every piece of limestone that's out there," he said.

Spicer, of the Community Task Force, said: "Their plan shows some movement in the direction of preservation and our plan shows some concessions to their engineering concerns."


Between rock, hard place, parks seek a compromise

Point's top steps may be limestone

Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2003. By Rick Jervis, Tribune staff reporter

Faced with a rising backlash from Hyde Park residents for proposing to do away with slabs of natural limestone at Promontory Point, city engineers have offered a compromise: a lake wall with concrete blocks below and limestone above.

The proposal, presented Friday to the South East Chicago commission, a Hyde Park community organization, may ease what has become a tug of war between city engineers who want to reinforce the wall between 55th and 57th streets to withstand crashing waves and community activists who want to preserve the 70-year-0ld limestone.

the city's proposal is "a step in the right direction," said Bruce Johnston[e] a leading member of the Community Task Force for Promontory Point, a citizens group fighting to keep the limestone. "But we are still far from agreement."

The proposal would leave the top two shelves of limestone slabs in the sep-structure that begins at the Promontory Point lawn and spills into the lake. The last few steps would be made of textured concrete slabs. A 16-foot wide concrete promenade also would be erected between the stone steps and the shoreline.

The city also agreed to have a third-party facilitator be involved in future meetings with the community leaders. The next meeting is slated for next month, and city officials hope to start construction by spring.

"We're building something that's going to—has to—last 50 years," Chicago Park District spokesman Julian Green said Saturday. "We need to make sure that when this project is done, it'll withstand the waves."

The slated $22 million wall construction is part of a$301 million project launched by the Park District, the city's Environment and the army Corps of Engineers to rehab lake walls along 8 miles of Chicago shoreline.

When area residents saw the smooth concrete slabs being installed between 51st and 54th Streets, they formed the task force and raise moe than $50,000 in grants and private donations. With the money they hired independent architects and engineers who drew up a counterproposal that included a concrete wall wrapped in limestone.

But city engineers countered that the lake's constant wave-pounding and ice-pushing would break apart the limestone-concrete structure and proposed using limestone only as decoration.

At Friday's meeting, city engineers also said the concrete would have a textured surface, mimicking the limestone's natural look, and dropped a 600-pound sample outside the point's fieldhouse to show residents.

The South Side peninsular park was created by a landfill in the 1920's and landscaped in 1937 by famed architect Alfred Caldwell, who designed the park around the limestone steps already there. For decades, residents have sunned and spread picnics across the rocks, drinking in the views of Chicago's skyline to the north and Indiana's smokestacks to the south.

Frank Lizzo, 62, who spent Saturday afternoon at the rocks wearing a blue "Save the Point" T-shirt, said the lakefront would not be the same without the slabs of limestone stepping into Lake Michigan. "People like the rocks," Lizzo said. "They've been here 70 years ad hopefully they're going to be here for another 70 years."

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