The Friends of the Parks’ executive board voted to restart negotiations with the city to “move forward with the Lucas Museum,” cited Fran Spielman/SunTimes
IS CHICAGO BACK IN THE GAME FOR LUCAS MUSEUM AKA THE STARS WARS MUSEUM
News reports state that the board asked its director, Lauren Moltz, to move forward on a three-pronged plan that could include dropping the group’s lawsuit against the city in their lakefront museum campus battle and proceeding with repurposing the old Lakeside Center building at McCormick Place as the new site for movie mogul George Lucas’ proposed interactive museum.
The plan also would include a commitment from the city to “reaffirm its desire to uphold its Lakeside Protection ordinance.” That could be a big win for the Friends of the Park.
“Look, 75 percent of the FOP board of sixteen voted to get things moving,” according to news reports.,
Even so in a response to the Chicago Defender’s inquiry, a statement from Kim Klein, Director of Operations Friends of the Parks, provided the following,
“Contrary to recent reports, our board remains fully united on the preservation of our lakefront and ensuring that the public trust doctrine is not ignored. We do believe that the Lucas Museum has a place in Chicago for all to enjoy, but not at the expense of one our most precious public resources. We have always said we were open to discussions. Anything else you hear is rumor and speculation. We are not dropping the lawsuit,” said Friends of the Parks Board President Lauren Moltz and Executive Director Juanita Irizarry.
Many residents of Chicago appreciate the “FOP for seeking to protect the lakefront but the opportunity to resolve a problem at McCormick Place and build the Lucas Museum will kill two birds with one stone can influence the board’s decision to move forward and away from the lawsuit.
To many it’s disappointing that the FOP is seemingly one-sided in its position. “OD Riley a resident of Bronzeville say, “Why can’t we satisfy all three parties, the Mayor, the people and the FOP? If we replace the old eyesore McCormick building on the lakefront with the museum, won’t everyone win?”
It’s no secret that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal was to encourage the the Friends of the Parks board to drop its lawsuit that’s blocked construction of the Lucas Museum near Soldier Field. It’s possible that offering to support another project the group has long wanted: extending public access to Lake Michigan may help.
The Friends of the Park group’s introduced its 2009 plan, which envisioned adding 525 acres of lakefront parkland and extending lake access to Lake Michigan from the Evanston border south all the way to the Indiana border.
Perhaps the number of groups in the city who have come forth to express major interest in making sure Chicago does not lose the Lucas Museum and the tremendous economic, educational and cultural benefits that it would yield has a least played a significant role in influencing the FOP’s board to look further at the options.