Déjà Vu All Over Again!
One of the four proposed sites for President Barack Obama’s Presidential Library is 20 acres in historic Washington Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1871. The other sites under consideration are in New York, a second location in Chicago, and the University of Hawai’i campus.
A group known as Friends of the Parks in Chicago is deeply concerned about Washington Park. The Friends group states that protecting the Olmsted legacy and the historic 19th century park is even more important for urban populations today than when it was built.
The National Association of Olmsted Parks (NAOP), of which OLPA is a member, has also come out in opposition to the planned library in Washington Park. NAOP has sent a letter to President and Mrs. Obama decrying the proposal by the University of Chicago to construct the Obama library on 20 acres in the Olmsted Park.
During the 1980s, Olmsted Park supporters in Atlanta waged a national campaign to save the Linear Park along Ponce de Leon from an expressway. The park was threatened by former President Jimmy Carter’s proposal for a road to access his library in the Copinhill section of Atlanta. In fact, the road that Carter supported was basically the same road that had been around since 1946 – variously called the Stone Mountain Tollway, Presidential Parkway, and Freedom Parkway. At the time, the Olmsted Park Society of Atlanta joined with other local groups to seek support from national conservationist and historic preservation organizations. Now it’s turn to help our Olmsted friends in Chicago.
Please consider writing of your opposition to the destruction of an Olmsted park to President Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Please send letters of support to NAOP and to Friends of the Parks in Chicago. For more information, visit these web sites: www.fotp.org and www.olmsted.org.