June Events

 Upcoming Midway events!  Please visit the Events page for additional details.

JUNE

6/13/18 (Wed) 6-6:45pm. MPAC Committee Meeting: 2000 Framework Plan.  Committee members will share findings regarding the status of different aspects of the 2000 Plan and where future work might focus. This month’s meeting will be at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse.

6/13/18 (Wed) 6:45-8pm. MPAC Monthly Meeting: 2000 Framework Plan.  Committee members will share findings regarding the status of different aspects of the 2000 Plan and where future work might focus. This month’s meeting will be at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse.

6/16/18 (Sat) 9a-1pm. It’s Your (Historic) Park Day!   Join MPAC for a day of Midway  stewardship, enjoyment, history, and play in conjunction with Chicago Parks Foundation’s annual It’s Your Park Day.  Activities will include park clean-up, an hour-long storytelling performance with Baba Tony and Kucha Lee, a historical walking tour, and pick-up soccer.  And, of course, feel free to bring your frisbee, bike, neighbor or best friend out to enjoy the park.  Free snacks and tshirts for registered volunteers!

6/21/18 (Thurs) 9a-9pm.  Make Music Chicago.  Make Music Chicago is a day-long, citywide, DIY celebration of the musician in us all. Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music Chicago is open to anyone who wants to take part.  All of it is free and open to the public.  For more information, to see the schedule of events, or to register as a performer, visit the website:   http://makemusicchicago.org/

6/26/18 (Tues) 4-9pm. Steppin’ Under the Stars.  Hosted by the Chicago Park District.  https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/steppin-under-stars-midway-plaisance

Ongoing. Community Meetings & Neighboring Park Events.   MPAC tries to keep an eye on local events and community meetings and share those via our Facebook page.  Please search “Midway Plaisance Advisory Council” and like and/or follow us!

February Events

Upcoming Midway events!  Please visit the Events page for additional details.

FEBRUARY

1/8-2/21/18 (Mondays) 6-7pm.  Free skating lessons for kids!  Rental fees included, bring your own helmet.  Lessons courtesy of two UofC students and supported by the UofC Office of Civic Engagement, with additional support from MPAC and the Chicago Park District.  Advance registration.

2/21/18 (Wed) 5:30-6:30pm. MPAC Committee Meeting: 2000 Framework Plan.  Committee members will share findings regarding the status of different aspects of the 2000 Plan and where future work might focus. This month’s meeting will be at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse.

2/21/18 (Wed) 6:30-8pm.  MPAC February Meeting.  We will check in on street and light repairs, brainstorm ideas to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the world’s first Ferris Wheel here on the Midway, and beginning planning for spring events. This month’s meeting will be at the Jackson Park Fieldhouse.

Ongoing. Community Meetings & Neighboring Park Events.   MPAC tries to keep an eye on local events and community meetings and share those via our Facebook page.  Please search “Midway Plaisance Advisory Council” and like and/or follow us!

Notes from December Meeting – 12/13/17

Highlights from the December meeting (12/13/17) include:

*The ice rink is open! Schedule is posted in the field house.

*UofC students will provide free ice skating lessons to kids on Mondays, 6-7pm, begining in January.

*MPAC is a Section 106 Consulting Party – helping identify significant cultural elements within the Midway Plaisance Park and evaluate the impact of proposed changes.

*2000 Framework Plan Committee is underway.  Next meeting will be 1/10/18, immediately preceding the MPAC’s January meeting.

 

Full meeting minutes available here:

MPAC meeting minutes – 12.13.17

 

University of Chicago faculty speak up regarding OPC

More than 150 faculty members from the University of Chicago in Hyde Park signed a letter expressing concerns about the Obama Presidential Center’s building plans and supporting the voices of the multitude of community organizations who have expressed concerns, including MPAC.

From the letter:

“..First, there are concerns that the Obama Center as currently planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods.

“..Second, the current plan calls for taking a large section of an historic public park and giving it to a private entity for development. Jackson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important urban parks in the nation.

“..Third, because of the planned location of the Obama Center, the Obama Foundation plans to take over a section of another historic, public park — Midway Plaisance, also designed by Olmsted — and turn it into an above-ground parking garage.

 

To view the letter in full, please click below.

Letter from University Faculty Concerning the Obama Center

 

January Events

Upcoming Midway events!  Please visit the Events page for additional details.

JANUARY

1/8-2/26/18 (Mondays) 6-7pm.  Free skating lessons for kids!  Rental fees included, bring your own helmet.  Lessons courtesy of two UofC students and supported by the UofC Office of Civic Engagement, with additional support from MPAC and the Chicago Park District.  Advance registration.

1/10/18 (Wed) 5:30-6:30pm. MPAC Committee Meeting: 2000 Framework Plan.  Committee members will share findings regarding the status of different aspects of the 2000 Plan and where future work might focus.

1/10/18 (Wed) 6:30-8pm.  MPAC January Meeting.  We will check in on street and light repairs, brainstorm ideas to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the world’s first Ferris Wheel here on the Midway, and discuss next steps regarding the proposed parking garage.

1/27/18 (Sat) 11a-12:45pm.  Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Clinic!  The Chicago Blackhawks are teaming up with the Chicago Park District to provide free hockey clinics for kids at Chicago rinks.  11-11:45a: ages 5-8 years; 12-12:45p: ages 9-12 years.  Advance registration.

Notes from November meeting – 11/8/17

Highlights from the November meeting (11/8/17) include:

*Annual MPAC Election results:  President – Bronwyn Nichols-Lodato, Vice President – Donald McGruder, Secretary/Treasurer – Radiah Smith-Donald.  Officers will hold these positions through November 2018.

*SECC grant completed.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who donated time and labor, to Medici for donating treats, and especially to the South East Chicago Commission for supporting MPAC’s bulb planting project.

*New MPAC Committee: Midway Plaisance 2000 Framework Plan Committee; Thank you Mike McNamee for leading this committee.

*Walk-through to be scheduled with the park district and/or CDOT to assess repair needs.

 

Full meeting minutes available here:

MPAC meeting minutes – 11.08.17

Ice skating season!

Carve up the ice, take a break and watch the zamboni, and get out there to skate some more.  The rink is now open!  Rink hours are as follows:

Open Skate

Mon-Fri, 12-7pm; Saturdays, 2-9pm; Sundays, 1-6pm.

*Free. Skate rental is $7/pair

Rat Hockey

Mon/Wed, 7:30-9pm; Saturdays, 9:30-11:30am; Sundays, 8:30-10:30a AND 6:30-8:30pm

*Rat Hockey is pick-up hockey for ages 18 and older. Full hockey equipment is required, and slap shots are allowed. No checking permitted.  Admission (includes skate rental): $8

November Events

Upcoming Midway events!  Please visit the Events page for additional details.

NOVEMBER

11/8/17 (Wed) 6:30-8pm.  MPAC November Meeting.  Officer elections will be held this month.  In addition, we will reflect on Halloween and gear up for skating season!

11/12/17 (Sunday) 12-4pm. Work Date: Bulb Planting.  MPAC will finish planting over 2,000 bulbs on the hillsides by the train tracks in an effort to add more beauty to the Midway.  Many thanks to the SECC for the grant award and for their vital support on this projects.

11/25/17 (Friday).  Ice Rink Opens..  We anticipate the rink will open the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Dates and times to be confirmed.  Please check back closer to the date.

October Events

Upcoming Midway events!  Please visit the Events page for additional dates.

OCTOBER

10/11/17 (Wed) 6:30-8pm.  MPAC October meeting.  This month’s meeting will focus on the fall bulb-planting project, which is possible thanks to a grant from SECC. In addition, we will revisit concerns about the Obama Presidential Center garage proposed to be built in the Midway Plaisance Park, nominate PAC officers for 2018, and make plans for the winter season including the opening of the ice skating rink in late November.
The meeting will be in the field house by the ice rink.

10/15/17 (Sunday), 9am. RBC Race for the Kids at Comer Children’s.  There will be road closures on the Midway associated with this race including Westbound Midway Plaisance (from Stony Island to Cottage Grove) and 59th Street (from Dorchester to Cottage Grove).  For more informaton and to register please go to http://race.uchicagokidshospital.org/

10/29/17 (Sunday) Work date: Bulb Planting.  MPAC will plant over 2,000 bulbs on the hillsides by the train tracks in an effort to add more beauty to the Midway.  Date to be confirmed.  Many thanks to the SECC for the grant award and for their vital support on this project.

 

Notes from CDOT and OPC Meeting – 9/12/17

MIDWAY PLAISANCE PARK ADVISORY COUNCIL (MPAC) MEETING

September 12, 2017

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Representatives from CDOT, OPC, and CPD in attendance to discuss the proposed OPC parking garage on the Midway with MPAC members and community members.

 

CDoT overview.  Representatives – Aaron Patterson, John Sadler

  • Shared handouts and display boards describing the proposed changes to Cornell, Stony Island, etc. These same displays were available at the public meetings held at the South Shore Cultural Center.
  • Outlined the changes under consideration, some of which were considered in previous plans, including the 1999 framework plans, including closing Cornell and Marquette.
    • “Preliminary design phase.” Need more community input.

 

Questions/responses.

  • Traffic Volumes? – 59th St, Stony Island, Lake Shore Drive (LSD).
    • Changes are intended to shift most traffic to LSD and out of the park, but traffic on Stony would also increase. Currently ~27,000 cars/day on Cornell: estimated volume increase of ~6K on Stony Island (14K to 20K, max = 30K), and increase of ~18K for LSD (46K to 64K, max = 65K).
  • Traffic coordination -impact of changes to bus routes. Setting visiting hours with traffic patterns in mind?
  • Access to LSD? -still under consideration
  • Concerns about the Stony & 59th St intersection. -trucks under the viaduct, traffic calming, congestion on 59th, high school, Lab access to park across Stony.
    • Want to improve Stony for drivers and pedestrians.
    • Looking at different busy times
    • Working with Lab School
    • Considering opening 57th St to two-way traffic – further analysis needed
    • Might prohibit right turn onto 59th – further analysis needed
  • Parking – increased demand in saturated area due to OPC visitors looking for free parking. Note: Commuters may fill up a parking garage.
    • OPC visitors will be looking fo
  • Impact of changes to bus routes.

 

OPC overview.  Representatives – Michael Strautmanis and Roark Frankel

  • Current stage: release of designs, community meetings, focus groups, meetings with organizations. Interested in lots of input and will make changes.
  • At this meeting: Focus on design, timelines, spaces for community use, parking. Also looking at the 1999 plan and entire South Park system.
  • Timeline:
    • Plan Commission by end of 2017. This is not the final design, but will grant OPC permission to build something of a certain size.
    • Ground-breaking in 2018.
    • Opening in 2021
  • Design: 3 buildings—museum, forum, library. The only tall building will be the museum.  Park will be placed on top of forum and library.
  • Parking: Current proposal is to have garage on the Midway that would be buried, but not fully underground. Don’t want to go to water table (reduces cost).  400-450 cars.  Landscaping on top of garage = landscaped mound.  20’tall, 3-4’ higher than Metra tracks.  Bus parking – up against the Metra tracks.
    • Cons to burying it beneath the OPC buildings – a) unattractive; gaping hole on Stony Island; ventilation towers. b) traffic flow; would require a left-hand turn from Stony.
    • Cons to remote parking -Not practical, due to anticipated scale of museum, to shuttle visitors from remote parking.
    • Pros to parking on Midway – would encourage people to walk through the neighborhood. (Note: At MSI, they get 1.4m visitors a year, but is not connected to neighborhood.)

 

Questions/responses.

  • Negative impacts on the park: 1) Affects the connection between the parks; 2) Parking lot will destroy Midway as a park, as will a bus terminal; 3) Unfortunate precedent to build a parking garage on parkland; 4) Jackson Park and Midway were to be included in National Register of Historic Places in 1972 – Does this place limits on what can be done with the land? 5) Garage does not fit in with the 1999 Master Plan or 2000 CPD framework plan
  • Design: What is distance from top of garage to Metra? Are there boards showing underground garage?
    • Distance between garage and train tracks – 50’ at north, 100’ from south
    • No design boards available
  • Location: Has OPC moved north from original proposal? Zoning change requires legal notices to people within a certain number of feet and approval.  Activation on street is good, but would be better further south, at 63rd  Is it worth the downsides?  Plan B if the community is opposed to the garage?  People crossing Stony Island?
    • Site boundaries have changed, which allows for track to move.
    • People would have the right to object to a zoning change, but it won’t change.
    • This is the preferred strategy, but is not a done deal.
  • Other parking options: Why not 60th St parking lot? Driveway entrance (not “gaping hole” like MSI.
    • 60th St is privately owned, not offered to OPC.
    • Re: driveway like MSI – want to prioritize community over visitor convenience, make the streets livelier. Obamas want to “activate” the streets near the OPC.
  • Buses park on Hayes Drive now, but won’t be able to if this goes through.
    • Looking into a full solution, for MSI buses and for OPC buses.
  • Economic development – 1) Remote parking would help. 2) Will OPC and garage be private or publicly available? For-profit entity?
    • For-profit, owned by Foundation.
  • Why encourage driving?
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