“The repair and restoration of Promontory Point has been a subject of debate and contention in Hyde Park for more than 20 years. And as of last week, a representative from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office told the Herald that the city will support a preservation approach to restoring the Point’s limestone revetment.
“‘The Park District, along with the Army Corps and Chicago Department of Transportation have a role in ensuring that Promontory Point continues to remain the community asset that it has always been,’ said a spokesman from the mayor’s office in a July 18th statement to the Herald. ‘We are committed to working with the community on a design that properly addresses the historic nature of the Point… We are committed to a preservation-based approach and there will be extensive outreach to the community during the planning and design process.’
“This statement comes more than a month after Lightfoot’s comments regarding the Point’s preservation sparked outrage among some advocates. In an early June interview, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was first asked by the Herald if her office supported preserving the limestone or replacing it with concrete steps, as is in place along most of the lakefront. Though she said liked the way the limestone looks, Lightfoot added, ‘I don’t know if that’s a realistic way to preserve the Point without it literally washing away.’
“The reaction was swift. The following week, the Point Preservation Conservancy (a private group advocating for a preservation approach to the design and restoration of the Point) published an open letter to the mayor criticizing this statement. They also requested that Lightfoot join them for a walk around the Point.
“Lightfoot took the conservancy up on that invitation, — accompanied by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and the mayor’s Chief Engagement Officer Martina Hone— joining the conservancy for an hour-long walk on July 4th, shortly after participating in Hyde Park’s 4th on 53rd Parade. According to members of the conservancy, Lightfoot and company were shown the group’s plans for repairing the limestone steps and “asked good questions.’
“In the July 18th statement, the Mayor’s spokesman said of the walk, ‘The Mayor was grateful for the opportunity to visit the Point with the Promontory Point Conservancy and hear their concerns directly.’
“This walk was the latest effort in a renewed push for the Point’s preservation, which was reinvigorated in 2019 following the Chicago Park District’s announcement of a new shoreline study that would include Promontory Point. Over the last three years, a number of different studies have been proposed to explore the cost of rehabilitating the limestone or replacing it entirely, leaving residents concerned about the park’s future.” (Monaghan, Hyde Park Herald, 7/26/22)
The Promontory Point Conservancy announced last week that U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly earmarked $550,000 of federal funding to authorize a third-party engineering study of the Point’s limestone revetment, Cheyanne M. Daniels, Chicago Sun-Times, 5/21/22
Promontory Point Lovers Celebrate Rep. Kelly’s Request To Fund Long-Delayed Study Into Saving Park’s Limestone; With earmarks returning to Congress this year, Rep. Robin Kelly has requested $550,000 for an independent study into preserving Promontory Point, Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago, 5/27/22