Is Jackson Park ready for its future? - Hyde Park Herald
“The Chicago Department of Planning and Development estimates that some 700,000 people will visit the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) each year after its completion in 2025. In anticipation of this influx, a flurry of roadwork facility repairs in and around Jackson Park is underway to ease the integration of the OPC campus into the park.
City officials and park advocates alike anticipate that many of the thousands of visitors ascending the 235-foot presidential library tower will be prompted by the views to head to the lakeshore or the nearby Wooded Island.
But the future of two sites closest to the campus, The Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge, a would-be linchpin of foot traffic flow from the OPC to the lake, and the Japanese garden on Wooded Island, remains in question.
The natural flow of pedestrian and bicycle traffic across the northern part of Jackson Park has been for the past decade restricted by the closure of the Darrow Bridge (officially known as the Columbia Bridge). Deamed structurally unsafe by the city and closed in 2013, the bridge connects the western and eastern sides of the park by spanning the waterway flowing between the Columbia Basin to the north and the park’s lagoons to the south.
Without access to the bridge, these thousands of OPC visitors wishing to walk to the lake would either take the Lagoon Path, an undeveloped pathway along the north side of the Columbia Basin across the Museum of Science and Industry south portico terrace, or walk south to 63rd Street beach.”
Read the complete article at Hyde Park Herald.