• Debra Hammond

High Point/Low Point: Kelly's preservation study threatened

Updated: Jun 19

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.

Low Point

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.

In addition, the Conservancy discovered that Chicago Park District contracted with SmithGroup for a three-year condition study of its entire 8-mile lakefront. To date, CPD is unwilling to release to the Conservancy or its legal counsel the portion of the condition report already completed for Promontory Point.

This recent statement by the Mayor and the government agencies' unwillingness to pause their current study has the Conservancy alarmed.

Here's the great press coverage Congresswoman Robin Kelly's proposed funding authorization for a preservation study of the Point's limestone revetment:

Promontory Point and U.S. Congresswoman Kelly's proposed funding made it to the front page of the Chicago Tribune: "Gem on the Lake at stake: hundreds of thousands in federal funds requested for long awaited Promontory Point study", by Shanzeh Amhmad, Chicago Tribune, Saturday, June 4, 2022.

"Conservationists hopeful historic limestone wall at Promontory Point will be preserved: the Promontory Point Conservancy announced last week that U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly earmarked $550,000 of federal funding to authorize a third-party engineering study of the Point's limestone revetment", by Cheyanne M. Daniels. Chicago Sun-Times, May 31, 2022.

"Promontory Point preservation study up for federal funding", by Marc Monaghan. Hyde Park Herald, May 24, 2022.

"Promontory Point lovers celebrate Rep. Kelly's request to fund long-delayed study into saving park's limestone", by Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago, May 27, 2022.

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