Obama Library road closures face intimidating opposition groups

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In an effort to tighten the opposition of road closures and lost parkland linked with the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, an outspoken group forged a partnership they hope will help intensify their position.

Thursday, Jackson Park Watch quickly created a “fiscal sponsorship agreement ” with Friends of the Parks. The agreement will allow Jackson Park Watch to incorporate as a nonprofit organization and solicit tax deductible contributions, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

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Money from this agreement will be used to hire outside council including attorneys and experts needed to assess major changes made to Jackson Park. These changes include road closures and realignments, an above-ground parking garage and a $30 million plan to merge the Jackson Park and South Shore gold courses into a single course.

“We are assembling a network of people with expertise in environmental an historical reviews to put this entire set of projects through an extremely rigorous review to be sure it will really be in the best interest of the park and community,” Margaret Schmid, co-president of Jackson Park Watch, told the Sun Times. “Taking out all of the existing recreational facilities that are well loved and badly needed, taking out the nature sanctuary, absolutely not.”

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Schmid told the Sun Times it is important to intensify this review process because plans are already beginning to push forward. Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Democratic legislative leaders are asking for $100 million in state help for infrastructure improvements in and around the Jackson Park area tied to the Obama Presidential Center.

Friends of the Park have proved their strength in Chicago before with one of their more recent oppositions putting a stop to George Lucas’ plans to build an interactive museum in the city which were halted last year. Tying themselves with Friends of the Park, Jackson Park Watch seems to have made a tight knot in their efforts to stop this project as well.

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