"Lincoln Yards…too much too fast," says Friends of the Parks' Irizarry

Date: 
01/14/2019
JIrizarry

Juanita Irizarry spoke out about the Lincoln Yards project in November 2018

UPDATED

"Lincoln Yards…too much too fast… take it off the Planning Commission's January 24 agenda," Juanita Irizarry, Executive Director, Friends of the Park (FOTP), asks 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. 

"We need a new Mayor and a new Superintendent of Parks before this River development project goes through," Irizarry told this Our Urban Times reporter. 

At a meeting regarding The 78, a new 78th Chicago neighborhood to be developed by Related Midwest (RM), Irizarry publicly asked an RM staffer about RM's interaction with the Chicago Park District (CPD). 

As with Sterling Bay's offer in the Lincoln Yards project, the Chicago Park District turned down receiving park land, creation and maintenance from Related Midwest. 

At a Park District Board of Commissioners meeting, Irizarry testified about Sterling Bay's public pledge to give and maintain the land to the Park District, encouraging the Park District to take it.

"Privately owned public spaces are all the rage, so what's the big deal," said Michael P Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, responding directly to Irizarry who reports that he mocked her in his response. Kelly was appointed to his position by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011. 

Jesse H. Ruiz, the current CPD Board President appointed in January 2016 by Emanuel, has been named by newly installed Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker as one of three new deputy governors. Ruiz is a former Vice-President of the Chicago Board of Education and Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. 

It has been reported that the Park District has turned down park land in the past saying they couldn't afford to purchase the land. In both of the Sterling Bay and Related Midwest cases, that is not a factor. The land, park creation and ongoing maintenance was included in the offers.

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