Where’s the Urgency Now?

Beachwood:

What of Washington Park Now?
From Beachwood reader Michael O’Connor:

“I thought one of the most understated but effective rebukes to the Olympic hedgemony was in Blair Kamin’s column in the SundayTribune.
He simply took the Green Line to 51st St. and described the immediate
area near Washington Park. Then he posed a simple question: If
Washington Park was a jewel of greenspace when designed by Fredrick Law
Olmstead, why has it been allowed to decline so? Where, Mr. Mayor, is
the pressure you put on private money to build Millennium Park on top
of railroad yard and why won’t you do the same thing for this part of
the city?”

FromKamin’s piece:

“On Wednesday, anticipating that Chicago might get the nod from the
International Olympic Committee, I took the Chicago Transit Authority’s
Green Line from the Loop down to the 51st Street station, a few blocks
from the stadium site in Washington Park.

“The greeting I got there was not pretty: cracked sidewalks, broken
glass, vacant lots strewn with trash, a couple of thriving businesses,
like a crowded barbershop, but just as many boarded-up storefronts.

“If the Olympics had come to Chicago, there would have been a full
court press to spruce up the area, just as Mayor Richard M. Daley
pushed to give the Near West Side new parks, streets and housing, not
to mention yard upon yard of imitation wrought-iron fencing, before the
1996 Democratic National Convention.

“Now, that station represents in microcosm the challenge confronting post-Olympics Chicago.”

A.

2 thoughts on “Where’s the Urgency Now?

  1. whet moser says:

    This is something I think about a lot, and… I have no idea. Not dissimilar question: why does the Derrion Albert story appear like it’s going to be bigger deal than similar stories of youth violence in recent years? Because it was caught on video? Because the lack of guns made it seem more violent? Because it was so close to the Olympics?
    If Washington Park was a jewel of greenspace when designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, why has it been allowed to decline so? Where, Mr. Mayor, is the pressure you put on private money to build Millennium Park on top of railroad yard and why won’t you do the same thing for this part of the city?
    The answer, I suspect, is that as like attracts like, like tries to attract like, and the rich and powerful are more inclined to do things that will attract the attention of people like them. Which, right now, isn’t Washington Park.

  2. MapleStreet says:

    Agree with whet, above.
    But also, you spruce up an area. Unless you keep it up, the paint will fade, etc. You’ve got to keep constant attention on it.
    It is easier to get money to reclaim an area than it is to raise taxes to keep what you’ve got.

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