How Is Swapping a Park for a Stadium "Green"? | Letters | Chicago Reader

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How Is Swapping a Park for a Stadium "Green"?

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Thanks to Ben Joravsky for questioning the appropriateness of proposing two heavily used south-side parks (Jackson and Washington) as the venue for the 2016 Olympics ["A Promise Made to Be Broken," October 4]. They are gems in the Park District system and both provide south-side residents with opportunities to enjoy large natural areas without leaving the city. When I lived in Hyde Park many years ago, the short walk to Jackson Park, with its natural beauty and solitude, was one of the highlights of that neighborhood. This was the original purpose of the parks--to provide urban dwellers with natural settings and open space within walking distance.

Mr. Joravsky is correct in stating that these parks were chosen over north-side locations because the mayor thinks this is the path of least resistance. Hopefully, informed and committed south-siders who cherish their parks as much as north-siders will prove him wrong. And construction is sure to destroy a much larger area than currently anticipated; that is the nature of projects of this scale, but no one wants to talk about these messy details.

A better strategy for gaining public support for such a massive expenditure would be improving a blighted area, perhaps a former industrial area--not destroying major components of the city's current green infrastructure.

I hope that leaders of local environmental groups such as Howard Learner of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Erma Tranter of Friends of the Parks, Gerald Adelmann from Openlands, and the Chicago Wilderness consortium will weigh in early on the impacts of this proposal on the preservation and enhancement of the natural areas and open space they all support. And it would be useful if the upcoming Chicago Humanities Festival, entitled "The Climate of Concern," would include an open discussion of the mayor's Olympic proposal and its impact on the local environment.

I'm not sure how the mayor can justify this project with his efforts to become the nation's leading "green" city. The current Olympics proposal is neither "green" nor "sustainable."

Kathryn Jonas

Oak Park

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