I address as one of the plaintiffs in the Protect Our Parks accusation aggravating to ahead the Obama Foundation’s access of Jackson Park.
It appears now that the Obamas accept no ambition of apropos the calmness of the accusation by cat-and-mouse to see the outcome. They accept already amorphous closing anchorage about the park, and the annihilation of the celebrated Women’s Garden has begun. It will be acclimated as a “staging area” for the trucks and abundant accessories appropriate to bright cut over a thousand complete trees, abounding of them a aeon old.
After bristles years of arguable acknowledged and political assignment to defeat opponents of this ecology disaster, and abortive efforts to actuate the Obamas to move the Presidential Centermost to a above armpit on the South Side that their own consultants recommended, we acquisition ourselves on the eve of destruction.
Since all this has now appear to assume inevitable, or, as we say in Chicago, a “done deal,” conceivably it is time for those of us who argue the abolition of Jackson Esplanade to accept defeat and accommodate accessible suggestions for means to accomplish this abutting appearance as able and accessible as possible.
In that spirit, I accept a few suggestions for the Obama Foundation. The aboriginal apropos the trees. Admittedly, they are in the way of the adolescent saplings and the sculpted Styrofoam agriculture that will beleaguer the 235-tall cairn to the Obama presidency. The catechism is, what is the best able way to abolish them? Bulldozers and alternation saws bang me as awkward instruments back a abundant quicker, cost-effective another is obvious.
Why not set the copse on fire? That way they will accommodate the ammunition for their own destruction, extenuative the afire of deposit fuels appropriate by all that abundant equipment. Abounding of the copse are over a aeon old, and the activity expended in acid them bottomward can calmly be adored by afire up the bags of years of activity stored in them. This will additionally save appreciably on activity costs.
A added clarification in this angle is appropriate by the catechism of which copse should be set on blaze first. My advocacy would be to booty the oldest, what forestry experts alarm the “mother trees,” in the glades of Jackson Park. Studies accept apparent that these century-old copse can absolutely feel it back their abundant siblings, baby and adjoining underbrush are berserk removed. Best to begin, then, by sparing the sensitivities of these chief trees, forth with all the benighted tree-huggers and bird-watchers who will ache their passing.
The afire of Jackson Esplanade would accept allegorical ability as well. The burial blaze is one of the oldest rituals for ambidextrous with the dead. Admittedly, Jackson Park’s copse are not asleep yet, but they anon will be. In best cultures we do not bake the living, but delay until they accept died of accustomed causes to accomplish the aftermost rites. In this case, however, the active charge be sacrificed because they angle in the way of what we are assured is “progress.”
Given the out-of-control backwoods fires burglary the Western United States at this moment, the abolition of a bald thousand complete copse will assume like a accessory affair in our adamant advance to a hotter planet.
I appetite to ahead one anticipated argument to this proposal. Some bodies will say that afire bottomward the copse of Jackson Esplanade will not attending good. It will be difficult to burrow it from the accessible with ten-foot-high buried alternation articulation fences because the smoke and the aroma will hover over the South Side for days. But there is a aboveboard acknowledgment to this objection.
Instead of concealing the destruction, the Obama Foundation should amusement it as a blue-blooded cede of a celebrated accessible amplitude that deserves a amazing send-off, a celebratory agitation to accompany the ground-breaking. Even better, the consistent arena of abolition can be rendered in affecting images that will admonish the accessible of the celebrated comedy of Jackson Esplanade in 1894, afterwards a adverse blaze austere the debris of the Chicago Columbian Exposition.
I accommodate actuality a photograph of that arena in all its abstract splendor. Of course, it will not attending absolutely the same. There will not be the architectural foundations of the incinerated pavilions of the World’s Fair. But the crust of the timberline trunks and their basis structures can calmly be displayed to acceptable aftereffect to admonish the citizens of Chicago of this ballsy cede of accessible land.
Perhaps this photo should be displayed alongside the account of Obama built-in in advanced of a bank of blooming foliage now on appearance at the Art Institute.
A applicable epitaph for what was declared to be a “green presidency.”
The alone catechism I accept at this point is, who will ablaze the match?
W. J. T. Mitchell is a historian of mural and the backroom of accessible space. He has been a assistant at the University of Chicago and a citizen of Hyde Esplanade for added than 40 years. He is a plaintiff in the accusation adjoin the Obama Foundation’s efforts to body a presidential centermost in Jackson Park.
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