Mayor Rahm Emanuel's quick courting of filmmaker George Lucas pays off with the announcement that Chicago will be home to the Lucas Museum. We talk with our panel about the pros and cons of the deal, the museum's location, and what will be coming down the pipeline in anticipation of the museum's 2018 opening. Joining us tonight to speak on these topics and more are Chicago Tribune's Melissa Harris, Friends of the Parks President Cassandra Francis, and Field Museum President and CEO Richard LaRiviere.
The Lucas Museum would replace the parking lots stretched between McCormick Place and Soldier Field. The Chicago Plan Commission still has to approve the development.
In the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance, one of the 14 Basic Policies states that “in no instance will further private development be permitted east of Lake Shore Drive.” Click here to read the entire ordinance.
The Lucas Museum would be a private development since the city will not subsidize the project with taxpayer money. The Chicago Plan Commission has the responsibility to administer and reinforce the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.
The City of Chicago’s task force proposed a 17-acre site for the future home of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. View a map of the proposed location.
Friends of the Parks, which supports the preservation of open spaces, opposes the museum’s proposed location. The advocacy group along with other organizations claims that the location proposal violates the lakefront ordinance. Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, claims they might even file a lawsuit against the Lucas Museum.
According to the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance’s 14 Basic Policies, the Plan Commission must also “improve access to the lakeshore parks and reduce through vehicular traffic on secondary park roads.”
Chicago Bears fans use the parking lot (the proposed space for the museum) as a tailgating lot. Removing the parking spaces could increase vehicular traffic, unless another parking area opens up. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he has a plan, which he has not disclosed yet.
A number of institutions already sit east of Lake Shore Drive, including the Field Museum as well as the businesses and organizations at Navy Pier. These projects gained legislative permission to sit along the lakefront as part of architect Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago in 1909. The plan aimed to further the development of the lakefront parks.
--Map by Kristen Thometz