Chicago Children's Museum Caucus
"Forever open, clear
The Chicago Children’s Museum
Caucus has been established for the express
purpose of preventing the facility from being
relocated from Navy Pier to the north edge (Randolph Street) of
Grant Park. Opposition is based on the
laws and historic traditions first set forth by
in The Plan for Chicago (1909),
which called for Grant Park to be "forever open,
clear and free."
The Board of Directors of the
CCM, and Chairman Gigi Pritzker, announced plans to relocate the Museum from
its current location at Navy Pier to a site in
Grant Park. Mayor Daley has given initial
support to the proposal. However, local residents,
community leaders, independent civic
organizations, the media and the majority of
citizens have expressed
overwhelming dissatisfaction and opposition to
the proposal. Forty-Second Ward
Alderman Brendan Reilly came out in opposition,
and has led a heroic fight in the City Council
as well as at the grassroots.
has been approved by the Chicago Park District.
In coming weeks, it will be put before the
Chicago Plan Commission, the Zoning Board and
the Chicago City Council. The vote in the
City Council is expected to be close.
Why the north end of
The CCM offers this answer on
Daley Bicentennial Plaza,
at the north end of Grant Park, is centrally
located and accessible by all modes of
transportation. In addition, Chicago Children's
Museum's presence in Daley Bi will enhance
existing partnerships with the park's other
world-class institutions, such as the Art
Institute, and reinforce the city's reputation
as a vibrant cultural center.
Nothing in their rationale is
unique to the chosen site , and much of the
explanation seems little more than
puffy public relations language. PPC
believes that CCM has not made a compelling
In the absence
of credible arguments, the proponents have
shamelessly played the race card -- falsely
claiming that opposition is merely predicated on
a desire to keep minority children out of the
area. The racial accusation is as
wrong as it is scurrilous. The community is
composed of a highly diverse population, the
programs of the Daley Bicentennial Center currently
include children of every ethnic background and
opposition reaches far beyond the local
Juxtaposed to the vacuous arguments of the
proponents of the proposal is a litany of
countervailing arguments. These include:
foremost are the laws and covenants that
protect Grant Park from such an intrusion.
These laws have been upheld time and time
again. Advancement of this
proposal would most likely result in long
and expensive litigation.
historic and contemporary will of the
people. Chicagoans have a high degree of
respect for the tradition of our protected
approval of this proposal would subject the
city to a prolonged and divisive civic
battle, with obvious repercussions for the
is already serviced by one of the best
Chicago Park District facilities in city,
the Daley Bicentennial Center. It provides
an array of athletic, entertainment and
educational programs for adults and
children. We believe the imposition of the
Museum at this site would needlessly disrupt
an established and successful program – a
program that reaches out to ALL the
constituents of our diversified city.
proposed Children’s Museum would be just 400
feet from the base of the 83-story Aon
Building, which security forces has deemed
the number two potential terrorist target in
Chicago. One only need look at the closing
of Meigs Field, and millions spent on
security for the Aon Building, itself, and
the evacuation plans in effect for that area
to know that the risk is not beyond reason.
While we should not shrink in fear, it is
quite another to take unnecessary new risks.
of better sites have been identified – some
in the neighborhoods and some in less
potentially dangerous areas of the central
Park site overtaxes an area that is already
burdened with the influx of new development,
people and cars.
One of the
main access routes is Michigan Avenue and
Randolph Street, among the most dangerous
intersections in the city. It is considered
so dangerous that the southern crosswalk of
Michigan Avenue was permanently closed for
the safety of pedestrians.
additional traffic promised by the
proponents would increase both air and noise
pollution in that area. This is already a
concern, and idling busses are among the
most serious contributors to vehicular
proposal is another inch toward the edge of
a slippery slope that eventually can
overtake the unique quality of Grant Park
that is so richly cherished today. Even this
proposal attempts to obfuscate the future
impact of its design and function.
Proponents attempted to circumvent the
height limitations. They argue as if a
“buried” museum does not, somehow, consume
the “open, clear and free” space of the
park. They discount the consumed land area
beyond the footprint of the building,
quietly incorporated plans for external
restaurants and the serving of liquor,
offering only meaningless “assurances’ that
they will not abuse these provisions.
The revelations of the restaurant plans and
the serving of liquor strongly indicate
further undermining of the Grant Park legal
is called a museum, it would be, apart from
the Millennium Park Grill, the most
commercial enterprise ever allowed in the
the museum in Grant Park will deprive
another section of the city the benefits of
the children’s facility. Whether along the
Chicago River, adjacent to the Harold
Washington Library, over the tracks south of
Grant Park or in the neighborhood, the
facility will enhance the location. We would
exchange negative impact with positive
its “central location,” the site is not
conveniently accessed by the general
public. The notion that this well serves
the minority community is a canard.
Minority access would be far better at other
Write to your alderman NOW
You can write
to your alderman at City Hall
The Honorable (your
See list below
121 North LaSalle Street
For a list of alderman, ward addresses and email
addresses, click here
Letter to Mayor Daley
Letter to Museum Board of Directors
Letter to Chicago Plan Commission
Allied Groups and
(Add your name or organization. See box below.)
here for more detailed information.
Alderman Brendan Reilly
Better Government Association
Committee to Keep Lincoln Park Public
Friends of Downtown
Friends of the Park CENTER at Logan Square
Friends of the Parks
New Eastside Association of Residents
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