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Will Judge's Ruling Send Lucas Museum to a Site Far, Far Away?

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A federal court ruling yesterday has put the future of the lakefront Lucas Museum into question, and injected land-use issues into an already contentious mayoral runoff. In supporting the Friends of the Parks' right to proceed with their lawsuit, U.S. District Judge John Darrah stated that the plot being eyed for the museum is held in the public trust due to its protected status as a filled-in section of the lake. Therefore, as the Sun-Times reports, case law says only the Illinois General Assembly can initiate the transfer of land necessary to start construction. While Darrah's decision only supports the Friends of the Parks' right to sue and isn't the final word, it's seen as a big blow to those supporting the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Museum officials remain committed to finding a home in Chicago, and a statement by the city -- "we look forward to the next phase of the public process to determine the best way to make the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art a great new addition to Chicago's museum campus" -- suggests they haven't given up on the current site. The Sun-Times says this will pit Rahm versus Chuy -- Rahm can claim to have the powers of persuasion to plead his case in Springfield and land the museum, while Chuy won't stump for the current site, calling it a "$400 million vanity project." While the city pushes its case despite the new reality created by Judge Darrah's ruling, the Friends of the Parks have once again dropped the idea of locating the museum at the former Michael Reese site. It remains to be seen if suitors in other cities start making a move to land the museum, now that there's a big roadblock on the lakefront.

·Lucas Museum plan hits a major legal speed bump [Crain's]
·Friends of the Parks score early win in lawsuit against Lucas Museum project [Sun-Times]
·Previous Lucas Museum coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Friends of the Parks coverage [Curbed Chicago]