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Public Meetings On Obama Library, South Shore Golf Course Start Wednesday

By Sam Cholke | June 14, 2017 1:03pm | Updated on June 16, 2017 11:04am
 The Chicago Park District is calling three meetings to get public feedback on plans for Jackson Park, including the Obama Presidential Center.
The Chicago Park District is calling three meetings to get public feedback on plans for Jackson Park, including the Obama Presidential Center.
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Joshua Mellin

SOUTH SHORE — The Chicago Park District has called three meetings for people to weigh in on the many changes planned for Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center.

The first meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdat at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, with presentations from the Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Obama Foundation.

The Park District hasn’t done a master plan for the parks since 1999 and since Barack Obama has announced plans to build his presidential center in Jackson Park and the Park District has proposed combining the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses. The meetings are expected to be the first step towards creating a new master plan that takes those projects and others into account.

“The upcoming addition of the Obama Presidential Center and plans to enhance the golf courses at South Shore and Jackson Park provide a unique opportunity for community and city residents to help shape the future of the south lakefront and surrounding communities,” said Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly. “Residents will be a critical part of this process, and we look forward to receiving valuable input.”

With several road closures already proposed for Jackson Park, the meetings are expected to provide insight into how traffic would be managed.

Friends of the Parks has called for such meetings since Obama chose the park and reiterated that demand in May.

“Friends of the Parks has encouraged the Obama Foundation to bring to bear leadership that ensures a thorough and transparent comprehensive planning process for this historic park,” said Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, in a May 3 statement. “This is a rare opportunity to honor the spirit and design of Jackson Park’s landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted— who believed deeply in parks as democratic spaces — as well as the president’s and Mrs. Obama’s stated desire to establish the Obama Presidential Center as a promoter and convener of citizen participation and engagement.”

Two other meetings are scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon June 24 at Hyde Park Academy, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., and 6 p.m. June 27 at Ald. Leslie Hairston’s 5th Ward meeting at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Drive.