Advocacy group warns Obama Center could negatively affect Jackson Park


The federal government has opened up comments on “adverse effects” the Obama Presidential Center may have on Jackson Park.

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According to the Chicago-Sun Times, a landscape advocacy group is opening up discussion on the planned iconic high-rise tower; the proposed closing of Cornell Drive and not taking into account the historic Frederick Law Olmsted designs for the related Midway Plaisance and Washington Park.

According to the news outlet, the Cornell closing has caused the community to become upset. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the Obama Foundation and City Hall are attempting to rid of the roadway but closing the road that winds through Jackson Park could impose on the landscape architect.

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According to the news outlet, the Cultural Landscape Foundation said the major adverse effects are on the high-rise tower on the Center campus as well as the proposed road closing and the lack of oversight on the impact of the entirety of the park systems.

The foundation said in its submission according to the news outlet, the federal review needs to expand to include the Midway and Washington Park. The news outlet also notes just a patch of the Midway is included, where the Obama Foundation aspires to build a garage.

“The need to fully recognize the unity of the South parks is now brought into greater relief by the current proposal to impose a parking garage at the eastern terminus and hinge point of the Midway Plaisance, effectively placing a further barrier to the connection that Olmsted and Vaux first envisioned,” Birnbaum said to the Tribune.

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“Moreover, the (presidential center) tower, as currently conceived, would adversely affect viewsheds from the full expanse of the Midway Plaisance, not just from the portion of it now included” in the review, Birnbaum said to the Tribune.

Birnbaum continued… “The imposition of a massive high-rise tower, hundreds of feet tall . . . is directly contrary to the overall concept of the park.”

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