Repeat of a Sellout | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Repeat of a Sellout


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To the editors:

The story of Forest Beach and the Y.W.C.A. [August 11] bitterly reminds me of what happened to Camp Martin Johnson in the 70's. That camp and land, which belonged to the Chicago Y.M.C.A., was in northern Michigan and had been donated by Martin Johnson in the 20's. Johnson was a bachelor who developed part of the land into orchards, leaving the rest woods, almost single-handedly. In the last years of his life, he decided to give the land to the children of the City of Chicago so that they too would have an opportunity to enjoy the lakes, the woods and the outdoors which he loved. So he gave it almost scot free to the "Y."

For years, children of many races, religions and economic levels looked forward to and took part in its exciting programs. Three of my children were amongst them. Through them it was evident how rich this experience was. Then suddenly, with little communication with the families of the children, this prime piece of land, set aside by a generous pioneer donor to enrich children's lives, was sold off to private real estate entrepreneurs.

I have always looked upon this type of action as ruthless. There is something drastically wrong when land originally donated to widen the experience of children in a wholesome and health giving setting is suddenly whipped away and sold for commercial purposes. Whatever else I feel outrage is what I feel the most. The disregard for children and environment makes me burn. The lack of imagination on the part of trustees should make all of us worry.

Alfred D. Klinger, M.D.

S. Kenwood

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