SOUTH SHORE — The groundbreaking for a plan to combine the South Shore and Jackson Park golf courses has been delayed, but Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly is holding to his promise to be done by 2020.
Kelly said fundraising efforts are now being delayed until the full scope of infrastructure costs is determined and federal or state money is secured to pay for that work.
“My finish line is still in the same place,” Kelly said.
In January, Kelly said work would start on resetting the golf courses in March if he could raise $5 million this spring for the work. He said Friday the Park District had fallen short of that goal and the major fundraising effort will not start in earnest until the engineering study comes back assessing the total costs and he has commitments to fund the major infrastructure components of the plan.
He said he is confident he can reopen the $30 million makeover of the golf course by 2020.
Assessments of the crumbling Lake Michigan seawall show there could be considerable infrastructure costs beyond the plan to create new underpasses for golf carts and converting roads to green space, Kelly said.
Kelly said the golf course will require more roads be closed permanently beyond what Barack Obama is asking for to accommodate the campus of his presidential library.
Obama on Wednesday proposed closing a portion of Cornell Drive in Jackson Park for his library’s campus, and there was discussion between the Obama Foundation and city officials that more roads would need to be closed.
“Marquette [Road] has to close — it’s the only way to make the golf course work,” Kelly said.
He said turning the road from Stony Island Avenue to Richards Drive over to green space is the only way to provide enough room for the PGA-level course envisioned.
Kelly said the engineering study is expected to be finished this month and will provide estimates for infrastructure costs the Park District and city need to raise and costs to redo the layout of the holes, which is expected to be paid for via private donors.