Chicago's lakefront cultural institutions are a legacy of philanthropy from generations past. Now there is an opportunity for our generation to provide something unique and inspiring for future generations, and a tiny special interest group is standing in the way. Chicago has 30 miles of protected lakefront land, and only a tiny fraction has buildings or structures. Expanding the museum campus and adding to the concentration of cultural attractions along the lakefront in this nondescript area between an enormous football stadium and an enormous convention center will create a new visitor, resident and educational attraction for the city, draw residents to the lakefront and intensify use in this otherwise desolate zone, connect the mainland with Northerly Island and add a unique architectural icon to Chicago's identity. I couldn't disagree more strongly with "Friends" of the Parks, a small, unelected and unrepresentative organization that has articulated a legal technicality that has never prevented any other structures in the park from being built. The project has been approved by true representatives of the city and the state. Why this defense of what will surely remain parking lots for the next 50 or 100 years is good for the parks, the city or the region is clear only to those who resist change, do not see that Chicago is a city with a dwindling population, economic base and future, and who erroneously believe that George Lucas can be strong-armed into building the museum in a second-rate location. When he announces that it will be built in California, it will not be a victory for Chicago - it will be a testament to timidity and provincialism, and a tragic story of how a miniscule group of self-interested, parochial ideologues can exploit the legal system to prevent progress, innovation and change.
How is the parking lot that Lucas will build his museum public land? For bears games, a private, politically connected company charges each car $45 to park. Nice try, Friends of the Park.
Chicago Don,t Need this Is This GOING TO BRING MORE JOBS? I Don,t Think So So Many People Are Moving Out Of Chicago . As Well As Company.s So How Going To Pay For All The EXTRAS Police Fire Snow Removel Etc. We Don,t Have Money To Pay Our Teachers . I Don,t See Any Politician Taking A Cut In Pay To Help With This Museum And The Mayor????? GOD BLESS ALL
It seems Chicago Tonight is creating news. It makes me think you printed Father Michael Pfleger’s Facebook comments as a political favor to Mellody and George.
The museums are supported with tax dollars with conditions to provide a few free days a year. The Field Museum borrowed money as they based new spending on the false premise attendance would cover the debt. There are employees of the Field Museum that are involved in contracting outside jobs under federal, state and Chicago Park District partnership grants to supplement their incomes.
The Lucas Museum is designed as an end run on the Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance and the state public trust doctrine that will allow for more private lakefront developments.
Our lakefront and public lands must be protected for everyone. Only $10 for lakefront property? I totally agree with Virginia above. Yes, we've added large buildings in the past, but we cannot have any more! Plus, isn't this the ugliest design ever seen - even worse that Soldier Field?
@Dennis McClendon Ward sued to block the Field Museum from being constructed, and in a way lost because it was still constructed near the lake. Would anybody agree that the Field Museum or any of the other museums nearby are a hindrance to the city and really messed it up? No, it's the exact opposite. Anybody who thinks otherwise is nothing short of blind. Would anybody think that the museums on Museum Campus opened the flood gates or even spurred really any private development? No. All of the museums on Museum Campus were privately funded and are still not run by the city in any way, but the city realized that they are important assets to the city which make it that much more special.
Stop acting as if Lucas putting a museum here is any different than Marshall Field majorly funding the Field Museum and making a new museum. The museum, if you bother to take 10 minutes out of your day to understand what it will actually be, is going to be a great asset to the city just like the other museums. There is a reason why a few top people at the Art Institute are working with LMNA to help run certain aspects of it. There is also going to be 4-5 new acres of park land created for this thing.
I can only imagine the poll numbers a century ago regarding Montgomery Ward's quixotic and unpopular crusade to prevent the Field Museum from being built in the middle of Grant Park—a crusade that we today consider noble and farsighted.
It's always the same false dichotomy. McCormick Place HAS TO BE right here walling off the lake or Chicago will lose all the big trade fairs. Greektown and Little Italy HAVE TO BE wiped out or Chicago will never get a University of Illinois campus. Soldier Field HAS to be gutted and host an alien life form because the rest rooms are yucky. One of the world's great Olmsted landscapes HAS TO BE obliterated or Chicago won't get the Olympics. Northwestern Memorial Hospital HAS TO BE allowed to demolish Prentice or it will never build a cancer-curing research institute. The Childrens Museum HAS TO go in Grant Park, nowhere else.
I doubt that Father Pfleger would be so anxious to hand Hamilton Park or Auburn Park over to a private museum.
What difference does it make what the racial make up of the board of Friends of the Park
is???? Why must we turn everything into a racial issue? The issue here is open park land
versus giving limited park land over to private interests. There are plenty of other locations
around Chicago that would better benefit from locating the museum there--Bronzeville being
at the top of the list. The wealthy Mr. Lucas could afford to BUY the land his museum is on,
enhance the community, and still house and display his collections. As someone already offered,
if Chicago lakefront property had not been protected, he and Melody might not have had such a
beautiful venue for their wedding and reception, held on Chicago Park District land! If George and Melody
Lucas are truly interested in community betterment, leave public land alone, and find a deserving
community location for the museum.
@Mort J It's great because there's going to be 5 new acres of park land created for the museum that will be open to the public. Park land that is not currently park land. Why do people think that this entire property is going to be a museum? They even increased the amount of park land from the first proposal to make the museum smaller.
So tell me, how is this any different from the Field Museum, the Art Institute, Shedd, and Adler? Do you think that these were funded from the public or something? The Field Museum was majorly funded by Marshall Field (the man, not the company) who was a very wealthy man.
Are we about to say that Chicago would be better off without those museums and institutions along Museum Campus? The city is better off with them. Nobody is asking a mall to be built. We're talking about a museum with many original pieces of art work, as well as a lot of film technology, fashion, etc along with educational opportunities. I don't understand how this is a bad thing. Even some of the heads of the Art Institute are involved in this museum.
So Father Fleger can make use of social media but can't google the board of trustees for Friends of the Parks? Seriously, just go to their website where the board members are listed.
The real issue here is the handing over of public lands to billionaires. The truth of the matter is that we don't even have a clear understanding of what this museum will contain. Lucas's collections are very esoteric and varied, so it's basically a crapshoot as to what collections will be featured and how. Don't take my word for it, see the articles of Pulitzer Prize winner Blair Kamin for the many questions that linger around this museum that is being sold to us. What are we getting in exchange for this prime piece of real estate?!
As for the "it's better than a parking lot" argument; this is not an either/or proposition. Friends of the Park have been proponents of turning those lots into free and open parkland for a long time. One of the great legacies we have been given is the open lakefront that is supposed to belong to all Chicagoans. It is a legacy that makes our city unique and beautiful. When someone comes along proposing to take a portion of it away, we should all be very wary.
I think there's a few things overlooked about this whole thing:
1) The museum plans to create almost 5 new acres of public park land that is currently a parking lot. The current parking lot is barely used throughout the year for anything. Lucas & co already addressed concerns of FOTP that the parking lot offers access to the park land, by offering parking. So now, not only will we have parking, but we will also have 5 new acres of park land that is currently asphalt that almost nobody can enjoy and is not nice, and a museum.
2) The other museums on Museum Campus. They are not city run - they are run by organizations and all of them were started through private organization. In fact, Aaron Montgomery Ward sued to block the Field Museum from being built, but the courts ruled that a particular site was outside of a jurisdiction and was allowed to be built. Nobody in the city can deny these museums are a tremendous asset to the city and haven't done anything to magically bring in more development from private investors over the years. While these museums may exist elsewhere in the city, they don't - they currently exist on the lakefront and it enhances the entire thing by having a museum community in one spot.
3) What the museum actually is. People who think it is some sort of "Star Wars Museum" or some museum just about George Lucas have obviously learned nothing about what the museum really is. Go to the site, read a few articles, and/or watch or listen to some interviews with Lucas. On the site, they have over 100 different artists listed, artists who have nothing to do with film, that will be featured in the museum with their original artwork. You will see films listed that have absolutely nothing to do with Lucas or his company. Sure, there will be that too, but the museum will be so much more than most people think and it would be easy for a lot of people to understand what the museum really is if they took about 10 or 15 minutes out of their day and educated themselves about it.
I'm not against the museum being built at that location, but Chicago needs to ask more questions about the deal and the long term benefits to residents of Chicago. Father Pfleger should ask the Mayor and Lucas about the cost of admission of the museum and not just focus on the temporary jobs the museum will build. I can't imagine tickets for entrance being less than $25 to get in and even $30 for such a museum wouldn't be a surprise. You think a lot of low income Chicagoans of any race will be able to afford that ticket? I can imagine the son of a construction worker asking his dad this question..."Dad, you said you helped built that museum but why has our family never gone inside it?".