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This page was last updated: June 1, 2011
Friends of Daley Bicentennial (updated statement as of May 11, 2006)

This statement has been updated from the original that was created in February, 2006. It does not come from a group or organization, but represents the collective views, thoughts, and positions from our neighborhood. It is not from a small group. What you see below has come directly from over 400 neighbors who have stated their opposition on info cards and the countless number of conversations that we have had with each other over the past 12 weeks.

These are all equally important, and are not presented in a prioritized order.

Safety and Security
Significant increase in vehicle traffic and congestion.

The CCM states that their preliminary study shows that there will not be an increase in traffic. We disagree. First of all, their study is preliminary; they do not have a final answer. They are giving us their best guess. Second, we don’t need a study to tell us that traffic will increase, we are experiencing it already. Since the construction of the two new buildings, anyone who has tried to cross Randolph or make the u-turn at Field drive has experienced a noticeable and significant increase in cars, taxis, and buses on the street.

In addition to the volume of traffic, the traffic in our neighborhood has become more dangerous. The posted speed limit is 20 mph. Most cars travel down Randolph at 30 to 40 mph. In addition, many cars, taxis and busses do not stop at the stop sign. Put these together with children on bikes, scooters, and in strollers crossing the street and it presents a serious safety issue.

This increase will continue to get worse with the current construction of the 3 additional high rises and all of the other high rises scheduled after that.

In addition to vehicle traffic, there will be a huge increase in the pedestrian and bike traffic. Once again, we don’t need a study to tell us this. This neighborhood is a city neighborhood. We walk everywhere. Because of the increase in residents in our neighborhood, the pedestrian traffic has increased substantially in the last year. In addition, in the summer, the overflow of pedestrian traffic from Millennium Park, and other visitors creates a major problem. Like the car traffic, this will continue to get worse with the new construction of the high rises.

The CCM states that it wants to move to Daly Bi because of easy access on Upper Randolph for pedestrians and bikes. This exacerbates a problem that already exists.

There will be an increase in volume of the public trying to gain access to residential buildings for parking, looking for restrooms, and looking for directions. We don’t need a study to tell us this. Come by this neighborhood on the third of July or Venetian night. Our buildings hire extra security to handle the crowds trying to gain access to the building and parking. Now imagine 500,000 plus extra people in this neighborhood trying to do the same thing.

Increase in trash and sanitation problems created by the increased volume of people in a small space. Once again, we don’t need a study to tell us this will happen. We are experiencing it right now! Since the opening of the BP Bridge there has been a major increase in the number of people who walk in and through Daley Bi Plaza. Now, we welcome visitors to our neighborhood, we are good people, but we pay the price. Many of these people find and use the playground. When they leave, they leave their trash behind, on the ground. Because this is our front yard, we clean it up. In addition to the empty snack bags, bottles and things you would expect, we have also had to throw away dirty diapers, cigarette butts, alcohol bottles and other disgusting things that are not appropriate to mention on a public website (if you would like to know, ask any mom who has cleaned up the playground). Because these visitors don’t live here, they feel no responsibility to keep the park clean.

We clean this up ourselves because we all know what happens when you leave trash around, you get rats. An increase of 500,00 plus people in our front yard will definitely increase the trash and the risk of rats.

Any police officer will tell you that when you increase the number of people to a neighborhood, you will get nice people and you will get bad guys. We have already experienced this. We have graffiti on our playground now that we never had before. It is not unusual to see teenagers in the park after dark; they are drinking, smoking and doing what teenagers do after dark. The most serious increase in crime we have experienced is a break-in and a robbery to one of the businesses on Randolph Street. This business is on the first floor of the 400 building with large glass windows. Just recently, a criminal broke the glass, broke in, and stole computers and other valuables. Our neighborhood is starting to become a target for criminals. More people will increase the risk of more crime and more serious crime.

Loss of our neighborhood and our community

We live in a unique location. First of all, we are all high rises. Because of that, people don’t think of us as a neighborhood. But we are. We are as much a neighborhood as any in Chicago, the suburbs, or small towns. Second, we live next to a very large attraction and destination for tourists and visitors. Because of this, it is easy for people to think that our front yard is part of the attraction, it is not. In all of the CCM’s proposals and literature they do not once recognize that we are a neighborhood, respect our right to live in a neighborhood or address the impact on our neighborhood.

We are a neighborhood with the rights of any other neighborhood in the city of Chicago. This is not a small point. We have the right to have a park and open, green space. The Daley Bicentennial Plaza is an important and integral part of our living space, our front yard. It is important for our quality of life, and the quality of our community. It is important for respite, rest and relaxation. It is important for special events, graduations and birthday parties. It is important for the growth of our children and for the physical, mental and spiritual health of our adults. Our law abiding, tax paying adults.

This is our neighborhood and our park, and we will defend our right to keep it.

The Daley Bi plaza is our neighborhood park. It is our Portage Park, our Humbolt Park, our Oz Park. We are not against visitors in our front yard. We are nice people. But Grant Park is very large. There is enough space for all of the tourists and pay-to-attend attractions and for a neighborhood park to exist side by side.

One of the benefits that the CCM states will result from their move is creating a “destination for the bridge designed by Frank Gehry”. We reject this idea completely. There is no need to create an attraction and amusements on every inch of Grant Park. The CCM also states that moving here will create a balance in the park with Millennium Park west of Columbus and the CCM East of Columbus. We reject this idea also. We believe that we have the perfect balance right now. To the west of Columbus you have Millennium Park, the Art Institute and south of that the new dog park, Skate Park and sculpture. To the south of the Daly Bi Plaza you have Butler field, Buckingham fountain and the baseball fields. Together they represent a huge piece of land dedicated solely to visitors, tourists, festivals, concerts and other attractions. Our neighborhood park, our front yard, is a much smaller space in the northeast corner. We believe that this small space should be reserved, dedicated, and preserved for the residents who live in this neighborhood.

Park District Programs and Services

Today we enjoy a number of great programs and services at our neighborhood park district. Marge and her team do a fantastic job with very limited resources. We have an ice skating rink that is used year round for a variety of activities and gatherings. We have a playground that is the pulse of our daily lives.

The CCM states that all of these will be either relocated or replaced after construction. But how do we know that for sure? This comes down to a matter of trust:

Should we trust someone who tells us that they have not completed the final traffic report but has drawn the conclusion that there will be no traffic problems?

Should we trust someone who tells us first that there are no plans to re-locate the ice rink, then tells us that it will re-locate it somewhere in the Daley Bi plaza but they don’t know where?

Should we trust the Grant Park Advisory Council who in February made a public statement of support for the move, and now says that it wants to hear our opinions before making a final decision?

Should we trust the CCM who states that they want to hear all of our ideas and then states that it will meet with a select group of people to determine the final design?

Finally, should we trust someone who tells us that they have not made up their mind to move but they are only looking at one location, and are making a heavy investment in convincing the city's power brokers and decision makers to support their move?

Experience tells us that you should hold on to what you have because once it’s gone, it is very difficult to get back.

Valuable inputs were received from all parties associated with the issue of the Chicago Children's Museum moving from Navy Pier to the Daley Bicentennial Plaza. All of this information, opinions, and plans are available for review on the 13-foot long previous webpage. This website has no copying restrictions. Any pictures can be copied by right-clicking. Any text can be copied by highlighting, copying, and pasting into a blank Word document. Complete webpages can be printed in landscape mode because of the width (if you have enough ink or toner).

The vast majority of the residents in the New Eastside neighborhood  consider the Daley Fieldhouse and Playground as an integral part of their neighborhood and their family's lives. On May 10, 2006, nearly 400 of our local residents shared their collective concerns with Alderman Natarus. As the Tribune reported the next day: Natarus called the plan  "a bad idea" throughout the evening, saying the move would exacerbate the area's traffic problems. "It will bring in too much traffic," he said. Natarus is a member of the Chicago Plan Commission, which ultimately would have to sign off on a building permit for the project.

The New Eastside Association of Residents (NEAR) has been actively examining this issue for several months, and concluded that inviting over a half-million museum visitors each year into the environment of our residential community would have a negative effect on our quality of life. Our NEAR Board is composed of local community residents, elected and responsible to local community residents.

We thank the leadership of John Figiel, Peggy Figiel, Kerri Johnson, Mary Cinnamon, Leo Pickar, Michelle Charles, Posh Charles, and Arun Aranha. They organized a strong team  to insure that the community's voice was heard.

UPDATE...Tribune: Friday, 5/12/06...Chicago Children's officials said Thursday they would proceed with a plan to move to Grant Park, despite opposition to the project from Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd). In a meeting with hundreds of residents on Wednesday, Natarus said he would not support the museum's move because it would increase traffic along Randolph Street. , The alderman, who sits on the Chicago Plan Commission. said he would not vote in favor of the building permit the museum would eventually need.

On Monday, May 8th, at a pre-emptive GPAC meeting, Peter England, the CEO of the Children's Museum stated they would not move to a neighborhood where they were not welcomed. The CCM statement Thursday, reported in the Tribune, apparently did not recognize the 400 residents in the New Eastside area that  made their intentions clear at Wednesday's meeting.

Our NEAR community will continue to actively defend the Planned Unit Development #70 residential environment that has been approved by the Chicago City Council in 1969, 1979, 1993, and 2001. The 1836 and 1839  land dedication covenants, that were upheld by four Illinois Supreme Court decisions from 1890 to 1910, will continue to prevent buildings and other obstructions in Grant Park. Any land covenant restrictions cannot be changed by the Illinois legislature or by any authority created by the legislature, according to these four Illinois Supreme Court decisions. Our New Eastside residential community does not lack very strong legal defenses.

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