Chicago Park District shouldn’t build playground on Midway Plaisance wetland
Chicago will soon have a new mayor. At this renaissance moment, we have an extraordinary opportunity to throw out Chicago’s old and worn playbook based on backroom deals, and to assemble a new one based on equity, justice and transparency.
Here’s an example happening right now: Despite community opposition, the misguided, top-down designation of the eastern end of the Midway Plaisance — a historic park designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted — as a “replacement” for parkland taken for the Obama Presidential Center continues its slow crawl forward.
The Chicago Park District notified nearby residents of its application to the Chicago Plan Commission to be heard at its April 20 meeting at 10 a.m. The park district’s intent is to use the Midway site to fulfill the city’s legal responsibility to replace recreational park space lost in adjacent Jackson Park.
The application includes a proposal to reconfigure that portion of the Midway by draining an existing wetland and installing water-diverting piping to try to replicate its natural functions, and by constructing an expansive, universally accessible playground as the central feature.