Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tribune Commentary Re: Children's Museum

This “Wilson Yard” comment appeared on the Chicago Tribune’s Commentary page in the Thursday May 15, 2008 edition. It was selected for print by the editors as one of nine notable comments related to the Children’s Museum’s Battle for Grant Park space.

Commentary: The Battle for Grant Park

Analyze this

"I've got a perfect location for the Children's Museum: Wilson Yard in Uptown. It's right on the Red Line and on the bus lines. The 46th Ward alderman seems to think that enormous concrete high-rises for low- and extremely low-income families would be best for Wilson Yard. Those of us who live in the neighborhood (a group that, interestingly, does not include our alderman) feel otherwise."

--Ellen DePodesta



  1. what is sad is that most people reading this comment will probably read a NIMBY tone into it, not realizing that the wy area already has over 6,000 units of affordable housing, several homeless shelters, group homes, methodone clinics, mental illness buildings, needle exchanges, homeless youth and senior adult programs, battered women shelters, aids shelters, prison release programs, drop in shelters, sro's, etc.

  2. Actually the commentator is right on point because the Tribune editors have been doing there own series of proposed locations as suggested alternative Grant Park.

    They have already suggested the Lincoln park area, she just suggested they move in 4 blocks. The Mayor himself interjected "poor kids" and the race card into the issue by suggesting that those downtown who objected to the placement of the museum in Grant Park were racially motivated against poor, diverse kid.

    Since then, the press has been demanding that the museum proponents prove that they have ever considered serving those kids (by having affordable childrens admissions rates or ever considering locating in poorly served neighborhoods.

    So, this woman's comments fix nicely within the context of that ongoing debate. We certainly have the poor diverse kids that could be served in this neighborhood.

    And, as and added bonus, this neighborhood was good enough for J.B. Pritkzer when he was endorsed by Shiller in his run for the 9th Congressional seat, so it should be good enough for the Pritzker to site their funded museum now!

  3. agreed, but the alderman continues to promote the perception that a handful of yuppies are trying to drive every last poor person out of uptown. This is patently false, but it makes a good story for those who don't know the reality here and allows shiller to lord herself over people. "if you don't vote for me you'll lose your housing" kind of threats.

    if uptown had no affordable housing at all, most uptown residents i know would welcome it with open arms. they might even be willing to tolerate the bad design and the fact that it is not mixed income housing. combine those factors with what is already in the wy area and the story is very different. unfortunately that story is not getting out in the press to the general public.

  4. My fear is that Target has dropped out of Wilson Yard just like the theaters. Holsten said he was going to the ICSC Convention to secure retail for the retail space, but a "for lease" sign went up last week at Montrose & Broadway. The retailers at the ICSC Convention must not have been as interested in being a part of Wilson Yard as Holsten thought.

    If the Children's Museum ends up being used to prop up the financing for the Wilson Yard housing because Target ditched it, I'm not sure that's an improvement. At least a Target store would be open late, would have security cameras, a security staff and shoppers with cell phones.

  5. You know Holsten is comitted to building a $2million day care center - using our TIF dollars of course. However, he can't start it without jobs created by the TIF. That is because the day care just be for children whose families are working at TIF created jobs.

    He's got a problem there because day care's generally have to be on the ground level or have excellent access to evaculation stairs as a safety standard in Chicago. He needs that target to get his low income highrise confiqured and it isn't coming together. Poor boy.

  6. I honestly believe the family housing portion is falling apart and that's the real problem, not Target. Holsten cannot get away with charging above market rates for low income housing. Something's up, but I'm betting June, July, August, September, and more time will go by before any work on that place, unless the family housing drops out.

  7. When was the day care added to the plan? Has this ever been announced to the public or is this just another change thrown in because the other funding sources keep failing?

  8. I had the same concern that Target may have pulled out when the lease sign went up. I hope that is not the case. Daycare? What? I guess I was sleeping for that part since I don't have kids. This project is enough to drive us all nuts! WHEN is something going to happen here? Children's museum would be great - then maybe parents around the city would join our voice to clean up the area!