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Lucas Museum Gets Final Approval From City Council

By Ted Cox | October 28, 2015 1:14pm | Updated on October 28, 2015 4:24pm
 The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art cleared its final City Council hurdle Wednesday.
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art cleared its final City Council hurdle Wednesday.
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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

CITY HALL — Like the new "Star Wars" trailer, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a reality.

George Lucas' museum cleared its final City Council hurdle Wednesday when aldermen signed off on a zoning change allowing its construction. Although there was no additional debate on the matter, nine aldermen wanted to be recorded as voting no, including Pat Dowell (3rd), Leslie Hairston (5th), Gregory Mitchell (7th), Ameya Pawar (47th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Tom Tunney (44th), John Arena (45th), Harry Osterman (48th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd). Ald. Edward Burke (14th) abstained.

It still faces a legal challenge in a suit filed by Friends of the Parks, but otherwise it's cleared for construction to begin next spring.

"These aren't the tailgating spots you're looking for."
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel cheered the passage, while attacking skeptics with sarcasm.

"I know it's an incredibly unbelievable parking lot, one of the best anywhere," Emanuel said of the South Lot between Soldier Field and McCormick Place where the museum is set to be located. Yet he added, "In my view, it's an enrichment versus the parking lot."

Friends of the Parks aside, Emanuel said the Bears were the last party that needed to be appeased, in that their fans "will get to do the tailgating they would like, which is a good thing."

Last week, the Park District clarified that the Bears will fully regain the 1,500 tailgating spots lost in the South Lot, in part through 386 open-air spots atop a new 1,863-car garage planned across Lake Shore Drive at 18th Street.

Bears management, Emanuel said, "did a good job negotiating for the fans. They were very tough negotiators, and they really spoke up and were determined right to the wire and got something that they believe will enhance the fans' experience in tailgating."

Yet he added that they negotiated in good faith, with a respect for "the city's overall well-being."

During a meeting that also included final approval for the 2016 budget, the council also approved new restrictions on food carts Downtown and near Wrigley Field and increased fines for failure to shovel snow from sidewalks.

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