Federal appeals court refuses to halt Obama Center construction in historic Jackson Park.
The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has turned aside the latest effort by Friends of the Parks to stop construction of the Obama Presidential Center in leafy and historic Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side.
Friends of the Parks has been fighting a valiant legal campaign since 2016 to stop the “wanton” destruction of some 800 trees and the uprooting of 19 acres to build the monstrous 21-story center that will destroy the ambience of the revered park whose origins date back to the 1893 Columbian World’s Fair.
The decision, handed down on July 1, apparently escaped the attention of the Chicago media that have lost their guts to report the news in obeisance to the Obama mystic.
It didn’t escape the attention of the Cook County Record, which reported fully today (July 5) on the decision.
The Friends had argued that the federal government failed follow regulations that required an assessment of its environmental, locational, transportation impacts.
The appeals court surprisingly ruled that in assessing the suitability of the site the feds had no responsibility to find a better one. I could be wrong, but as a transportation reporter for two Chicago dailies, I recall that alternative sites for such major projects had to be routinely evaluated.
Well, I guess the judges know the law better than I do. But the fact remains that the Center’s construction already is devastating the park. Just wait for the hulking, 21-story to rise far above the trees that are left and the destruction of the park’s human scale. “How the hell did that happen,” fair minded park visitors will wonder. Not wondering are the mainline Chicago environmental groups who apparently forgot the history in which one “tree hugger” went so far as to chain herself to a Jackson Park tree to save the trees.
So now, with liberals backing off of their traditional goals, it is up to a conservative (me) to oppose the Center. Pathetic.
By the way, Diane Wood, who wrote the opinion deep sixing the opposition to the Center, was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. In concurrence was Judge David Hamilton, who was President Obama’s first judicial nominee. Not that it matters. Incidentally, the third judge on the panel, Michael Kanne, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Not that it matters. He did not participate in the decision because he died in June.To subscribe to The Barbershop, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.