Chicago, Illinois (March 12, 2015) – U.S. District Judge John Darrah today denied the Chicago Park District’s and City of Chicago’s motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks in federal court challenging the siting of the Lucas Museum on Chicago’s lakefront public parkland. Judge Darrah ruled today that Friends of the Parks "plausibly states a claim that the agreement violates the public trust doctrine."
“While we are very supportive of the Lucas Museum coming to Chicago, we oppose its siting on lakefront public open space. We believe the siting of the Lucas Museum in this lakefront location contradicts the public trust doctrine and its central principle that the general public is the beneficiary of this public lakefront parkland. The Lucas Museum is not a public use.” says Cassandra Francis, President of Friends of the Parks.
“Although the proposed site is now well-used and produces significant revenue as a Chicago Park District and Bears parking lot, its future reversion to parkland is possible. Once a building is in place, it is forever precluded from being public open space. We hope that Mr. Lucas will consider siting his museum just a ½ mile south on the west side of Lake Shore Drive on the former Michael Reese Hospital site. The Reese site would allow the Museum Campus to be expanded to the south and bring needed economic development benefits to the Bronzeville Community.” says Francis.
“We are very pleased that the District Court is allowing the case to proceed,” says Lauren Moltz, Chairman of the Board of Friends of the Parks. “We look forward to working collaboratively with our open space partners, the community, the Mayor’s Office and the Chicago Park District to identify the strengths of alternative sites that will secure broad community support and will entice Mr. Lucas to bring his museum to Chicago.”
Friends of the Parks is a forty year old nonprofit parks advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, protect, improve, and promote the use of Chicago’s parks and open spaces. We advance our programmatic, educational, and advocacy work with the support of our members, donors and volunteers, and (through) our governmental, community, and environmental partnerships.