We recently discovered -- again -- that repair, restoration and rehabilitation of Promontory Point continues to be cost-effective and cheaper than the City's "locally preferred plan".
As you may recall, the City's "locally preferred plan" entails demolition of the historic limestone revetment and new construction of concrete and steel. In 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' cost estimate for the "locally preferred plan" was $57m. Adjusted for inflation, the cost of the "locally preferred plan" today is:
In sharp contrast, preservation of the Point -- repair, restoration and rehabilitation per the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation -- continues to be cheaper than demolition and new construction. The 2002 Cyril Galvin preservation marine engineering report estimated the cost of repair, restoration and rehabilitation at $4.5m. Adjusted for inflation, that's currently $7.53m, 1/10th the cost of the "locally preferred plan". Given the storm damage erosion at the Point since 2002 and after conversation with four marine engineering firms with preservation experience, we estimate the cost of preservation construction and maintenance at 1/5 - 1/2 the cost of the "locally preferred plan" at:
Right now, the City is pushing a deception Point: demolition of the limestone revetment, new construction of a concrete revetment with limestone blocks on top as decorative and ornamental. Astronomical to build and to maintain, it is an over-engineered solution for $100m when repair, restoration and rehabilitation of the existing limestone revetment is feasible and multiple times cheaper. This is not a preservation-based approach and violates the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation. We don't need a new concrete revetment. We need the existing limestone revetment -- which still functions at 85 years -- fixed.
But even if preservation costs as much as the "locally preferred plan" which it doesn't, Promontory Point would be worth it and park equity on the South Side would be served.
Artists, poet and Point-swimmer Jennefer Hoffman fired and installed the collective ceramic art work that many of you participated in on Sunday, October 9, at the Point. Here is the public art at dawn at the Point.
The Chicago Tribune featured spectacular aerial photos of fall colors at the Point among other City parks last week in its photo gallery.
Per historian Trish Morse:
High Point. At our press conference on May 26, 2022, we shared good news of a historic preservation engineering study and progress toward repair and rehabilitation of the limestone revetment after a 22-year community effort to Save the Point! U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly has secured congressional funding authorization for a preservation study of the Point in the 2022-23 federal budget. Let's hope the federal budget passes with ease! Many multitudes of thanks to Kelly and her senior advisor Rick Bryant for decades of devoted, persistent work. We are also very grateful to our local politicians -- State Senator Robert Peters, State Rep. Curtis Tarver II, Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry and Alderman Leslie Hairston -- for standing with Kelly and for their powerful words demanding preservation, repair and rehabilitation of the Point's historic limestone revetment.
In response to our press conference, at a lakefront press statement in early June 2022, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Hyde Park Herald that the Point is "washing away" and cannot be fixed. When the Conservancy pursued this statement with the Chicago U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the City (CDOT) and the Chicago Park District (CPD) in its June 14th quarterly partners-stakeholder meeting, the Corps was adamant that it is continuing with its currently funded GRR study of the Point even though it would duplicate and prejudice Kelly's preservation study. At this time, the Corps and its partners are unwilling to pause their study to await the funding of Kelly's preservation study. In fact, they seem to be rapidly moving ahead even though the Point is not an emergency erosion crisis. We hate to see the Corps and its partners proceeding with this wasteful use of public funds. We've been waiting 16 years for Kelly's funding of the 2007 appropriation of a preservation study for Promontory Point and now it's finally in reach.
This press conference will be held at the Experimental Station, 6100 South Blackstone Avenue, Chicago. The event will start promptly at 4:00pm, run one hour and will be recorded.
At least one local politician in favor of preservation at Promontory Point was approached by the City (CDOT)/Chicago Park District (CPD) and asked if the community would support new limestone at the Point. Say what?!?
The limestone at the Point is 400 million years old* and probably will last another 400 million years.
We don’t need new limestone.
We need the limestone reset and re-grouted. We need the wooden cribs replaced with steel ones.
Great press in UHigh Midway from University of Chicago Lab School journalist Adrianna Nehme: Fight to Save Promontory Point Reinvigorated After Demolition and Construction Proposed, April 6, 2022.
Landscape architect Johann Friedl captures the serenity of the Point and the clatter of the concrete alternative in this stunning video...
Calling Promontory Point one of our most beloved treasures, Alderman Leslie Hairston spoke powerfully for preservation at the Point at her 5th Ward meeting on March 22. She condemned the City's "locally preferred plan" of demolition of the limestone and called for repair and rehabilitation in a preservation approach. She went on to note her more than 20 years of work with the community to Save the Point and her advocacy of City-landmarking to stop demolition of the limestone revetment.
Hairston also called out the City for its recent "trick" of requesting federal funding by running around U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who supports repair of the limestone, to U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush to assure funding of its "locally preferred plan". (Promontory Point is actually in Kelly's district, not Rush's.) Fortunately, Rep. Rush learned the truth and took no action. And the City, Park District and Chicago US Army Corps' duplicity and bad faith were exposed. Hairston cited this as further evidence of the lack of transparency in the City Administration and its failure to listen to the voice of the people.
The City and the Park District intend to replace -- rather than repair the historic limestone revetment -- with the "locally preferred plan" of demolition and new construction of concrete. Hairston and Kelly are also joined by IL Senator Robert Peters who has expressed support for perservation.
Debra Hammond is currently an officer of Promontory Point Conservancy. She has always been tall for her age