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Lucas Museum To Face Lawsuit Filed by Friends of the Parks

By Ted Cox | November 12, 2014 7:34pm | Updated on November 12, 2014 7:52pm
 A rendering of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
A rendering of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

CITY HALL — Every story needs a conflict, and it looks as if the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has a fight on its hands.

Friends of the Parks, a grassroots group that has opposed locating the Lucas Museum on the lakefront, plans to announce a lawsuit over the museum plans at a news conference Thursday morning at City Hall with attorney Tom Geoghegan.

Geoghegan has made a career of filing progressive suits, such as actions against the city's latest ward remap and the Chicago Public Schools closings.

Geoghegan confirmed Wednesday night, "There is going to be a suit by Friends of the Parks," but he declined to elaborate.

He said expected the suit to be filed before the 11 a.m. news conference.

The Mayor's Press Office was quick to respond.

"We haven't seen the lawsuit, and can't comment on it, but this museum will be treated like every other museum on the campus and be in full compliance with all applicable laws," said Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"This museum is a generous gift that will expand the rich cultural and educational opportunities for children and families in every neighborhood, and visitors from around the world," Collins said. "It will create good jobs, add green space to the Museum Campus and create new access points to the habitat restoration project on Northerly Island."

The Chicago Park District owns the land, and the district board's President Bryan Traubert said it's ready to defend the location.

"I'm not familiar with any details," Traubert said.

But Traubert said the Park District had a process to deal with the suit and was prepared to initiate that process once it's filed.

Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A news release that went out Wednesday said the group on Thursday would "discuss next steps in Friends of the Parks' effort to protect the city's lakefront and encourage alternative Chicago sites" for the museum.

The group has insisted that locating the Lucas Museum between Soldier Field and McCormick Place, as is currently planned, would violate the Lakefront Protection Ordinance that states: "In no instance will further private development be permitted east of Lake Shore Drive."

The group sued to block construction of the new Soldier Field, which sits just north of the proposed site of the Lucas Museum, but lost.

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