Fresh off the news that George Lucas and his team are considering alternate cities to host the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art amidst an active lawsuit aimed at blocking its construction, proponents of the planned lakefront institution have launched an online petition requesting that Friends of the Parks (FOTP) drop their legal challenge. The new call to actions argues that the museum’s cultural impact along with its new underground parking and 200,000 square feet of new parkland represent a net gain for the Chicago’s public compared to the asphalt parking lot that currently occupies the site between Soldier Field and the McCormick Place Lakeside Center convention hall.
According to the creator of the petition, the legal action represents a direct contradiction to FOTP’s official mission statement:
"Friends of the Parks is a 40-year old non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of parks and open spaces throughout the Chicago area for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors."
With that statement in mind, supporters of the project have difficulty understanding how the site’s current use of hosting tailgaters during eight or nine regular season NFL home games is somehow a greater public benefit compared to a brand new art museum and park to be constructed and operated at no cost to the taxpayer.
The petition also raises concerns over the nonprofit advocacy group’s misuse of its limited resources. By sinking valuable time and money into challenging new cultural institutions like the Lucas Museum and the Obama Presidential Library, Friends of the Parks has allegedly become less equipped to defend existing Chicago parkland should it become threatened in the future. In other words, supporters of the petition argue that the group has an import advocacy role to play but also an obligation to its donors and to the citizens of Chicago to better pick its battles or risk insolvency.
Last week the City of Chicago filed a motion to lift a construction injunction placed on the site in an attempt to start work on the museum with the legal challenge still pending. If denied, officials will need to wait for the suit to run its course and a ruling to be made in the city’s favor to move forward with the project. A judge’s decision on the case is expected April 21st.
·Lucas Museum Reps Are Looking at Other Cities for Project [Curbed Chicago]
·Lucas Museum archives [Curbed Chicago]