THREATENED: Olmsted’s Jackson Park, Midway Plaisance, and South Shore Cultural Center Threatened by Obama Presidential Center (Chicago 7 2017)

Jackson Park appeared on the Preservation Chicago 2017 Most Endangered List and Preservation Chicago has actively advocated to protect this important historic landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Preservation Chicago does not oppose the Obama Presidential Center, but would prefer it to be in a location other than historic Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance.

The Obama Presidential Center plans are moving to the next step which requires federal review. Because the 1871 Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux-designed Jackson Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, requires the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to determination whether legitimate efforts are being made to minimize adverse effects on the historic park.

These federal reviews mark “the first time to think holistically about the park,” said Charles Birnbaum, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Cultural Landscape Foundation based in Washington. Jackson Park “is at the tipping point. Altogether the confiscation of 20-plus acres for the Obama Presidential Center, golf course consolidation and expansion, new roads, impacts on the lakefront, loss of historic trees, and a parking garage at the Midway, result in a massive adverse effect on the National Register of Historic Places designated park.” (Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, 11/26/17)

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