Kayakers are getting their boathouse at Clark Park in Roscoe Village, that we know. It's to be one of four heavily publicized student-designed boathouse projects under the tutelage of architects Jeanne Gang and Chris Lee. All the hubbub has eclipsed some legitimate community concerns, summed up in yesterday's Roscoe View Journal. Basically, some members of the Clark Park Advisory Council (CPAC), which has for years tried to leverage city money for bare-bones park improvements, are distressed that investment is now arriving in an overblown top-down manner. The boathouse plan, still in design, has ballooned from two small structures totaling 4,000 sf to a "behemoth" 20,000 structure gobbling up precious green space. A related concern is the boater congestion the facility could introduce to the park.
The protests are understandable— Clark Park has just 15 acres, nearly half of it wooded. Throw in ball fields, run-down volleyball courts, a playground, and gardens, and there's very little open space left unprogramed. What really smarts, according to Bill Donahue, president of CPAC, is that the Park District suddenly has $6-9M to burn on a boathouse when "for months, we can't get a dead tree removed". Add sinkholes, mud pits, and carcasses of sporting equipment to the list. But this is the Mayor's baby. It can't be stopped.
·Clark Park 'Hijacked by Outside Interests' in Plans for New Boat House [RVJ]
[Above: CPAC's idealized vision for Clark Park]