• Debra Hammond

Vanishing Point: the City's "locally preferred plan"

As it currently stands, the City's “locally preferred plan” is demolition of the limestone revetment and new construction of textured concrete and steel. This is what the City (CDOT) and the Chicago Park District (CPD) plan for the Point. We know that's what CDOT and CPD are planning from public information.

First, on CDOT’s Shoreline Protection Project webpage , CDOT clearly states what the “locally preferred plan” is and what they mean by preservation:

“The preferred design of the revetment is vertical steel sheet piles to replace the damaged wood piles, and concrete steps and promenade to replace the existing stones. This design maintains safe access to the shoreline while preserving its historical and aesthetic value.” (Promontory Point and Morgan Shoal are included in "Reach 4-step stone revetment reconstruction from 23rd Street to 57th Street alongside Lake Shore Drive” on the same webpage.)

Through FOIA, we also obtained CDOT's BRIC FEMA Pre-application, dated September 30, 2020. On page four of the exhibits, CDOT clearly states and illustrates what it means by preservation at Promontory Point: a new revetment of textured concrete (faux limestone) and steel with decorative limestone blocks in the parkland.

Finally, at the Public Building Commission’s information session for potential bidders on the Morgan Shoal Project, May 18, 2021, CDOT pictured Promontory Point and stated its preferred plan of concrete and steel to replace the historic step-stone, limestone revetment:

All chilling evidence that the City's “locally preferred plan”, as it stands, is NOT a preservation approach. It violates the Secretary of the Interior Standards for repair and rehabilitation of the historic limestone revetment at the Point and it ignores the community's preferred plan of preservation. So, Mayor Lightfoot’s recent statements about preservation at the Point at the press conference on 2/4 about infrastructure funding for Chicago's lakefront concern us: we know what the City means by preservation, and that’s NOT what we all want.

As it stands, the City's "locally preferred plan" is NOT the plan:

Textured concrete (faux limestone) is NOT real preservation, and demolition and new construction are NOT legal under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings which includes cultural assets such as landscapes and revetments.

So, if the City's "locally preferred plan" makes a vanishing Point, what is the community's preferred plan and a destination Point?

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