Jun 20, 2008

Grant Park - It gets better and better

An excellent blog post over here points out the following facts:

Mayor Daley and the City Council recently approved a $277 million increase in property taxes and fees. Meanwhile, taxpayer subsidies for Children’s Museum at Allstate Place include:

  • $51 Million – Value of the 1.75 acres of parkland the museum will control
  • $99 Million – Taxpayer subsidies from the Museums in the Park Fund
  • $36 Million – Replacement cost of 400 demolished parking garage spaces
  • $353 Million – Value of free rent in Grant Park

It gets MUCH better:

The museum’s agreement with the park district allows them to transfer their 99-year lease to another private corporation without any oversight from the City Council. What does that mean?

“The inclusion of a liquor license in their zoning application means that this could be a 100,000 square foot restaurant and mini-mall just in time for the 2016 Olympics.”

Jun 18, 2008

Grant Park

"Power is not sufficient evidence of truth".

--Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Mr. Johnson knew something about the abuse of power.

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Time, per the Subdudes

I want some fast food,
                       and eat it slow.

I'm gonna have some high times
                       and live 'em low.

--The Subdudes, From: All The Time In The World

Jun 17, 2008

Land Grab - Additional Focus

The more I hear about this the more clearly I can see the disgusting ulterior motives that are involved.

This project calls for the REZONING of Grant Park. This rezoning will allow for multiple restaurants and a LIQUOR LICENSE WITHOUT LIMITATION.

Meanwhile, the mayor and alderman are beating their collective chests over how they are doing this for the children. In actuality, they are EXPLOITING children to satisfy their own GREED. For good measure, the mayor is calling opponents racists.

I'm so glad that there is organized resistance to this.

Jun 16, 2008

Grant Park Land Grab

If the assault on Grant Park concerns you at all, you might want to check out SaveGrantPark.org

The neighborhood site for the area Grant Park is in is NewEastSide.org

Both sites have additional links to more information.

Politics - Chicago Style

Grant park is a large bock of undeveloped land in downtown Chicago - situated in a fantastic spot between the hustle and bustle of the city and Chicago's famously beautiful lake front. This is not by accident. In 1839, the plat of the area east of Michigan Avenue south of Randolph was marked "Public Ground—A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or other Obstruction Whatsoever" The temptation to develop the spot began immediately thereafter.

In the 1800s, as various civic buildings were sited there but Chicago businessman Aaron Montgomery Ward ultimately fought four court battles to prevent the development. Grant Park's protections were enshrined by Illinois Supreme Court justices of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Now, fast forward to the 21st Century where an incredibly brazen and disgusting assault is taking place to reverse this legacy of stewardship. The Chicago Children's Museum is currently located on Chicago's Navy Pier -- less than a mile and half from Grant Park. The museum says it needs more space and that space has been made available to it at the current location. Apparently, that's not good enough. The mayor and the museum feel that the only solution to it's space problem is to build a new museum in Grant Park.

Although the museum claims that it studied other locations it has been unable to produce a list of those other locations. Although the park has been designated a "Public Ground—A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or other Obstruction Whatsoever" the museum's plan for the spot includes construction of (what on one plan shows as) a structure 51 feet above grade. Although the there is overwhelming opposition to the plan by the citizens of Chicago, and although the plan is clearly illegal, and although it is public land and the museum is not a public space (they charge admission), the museum is so sure of their plans they have apparently already sold the naming rights to Allstate -- for $15 million.

Two of Mayor Daley's most interesting statements on all of this:

why he wants the museum in this location and no other location:
  • "I have fought for children my entire life, and I will continue to fight for children"

what he says of people defending the legacy of Grant Park:
  • "Racists"