After nearly two years of fierce of opposition against the idea of building filmmaker George Lucas’ museum on the Chicago lakefront, the nonprofit advocacy group has reportedly changed their tune towards the plan. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Friends of the Parks’ board has voted to drop their lawsuit against the city and to support the mayor's plan that would see the demolition of the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place to build the new museum and reclaim acres of lakefront land.
The news comes just a day after the mayor dangled the biggest carrot in front of the group: A commitment to the group’s Last 4 Miles plan, an ambitious reclamation effort that would deliver 525 acres of lakefront park land to the city. However, Friends of the Parks members have admitted to being long divided over the mayor’s plan to build the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on the city’s lakefront.
The announcement that Friends of the Parks has decided to change their position towards the museum is shocking, considering how long they’ve fought against the Soldier Field and McCormick Place proposals. Just weeks ago, the group vowed to take their fight to state courts and also reiterated their commitment to block the construction of the museum on any lakefront site.
Despite the Friends of the Parks’ long opposition against the museum, the leaders of many other high-profile educational institutions in Chicago said they backed the plan. In addition, a counter petition asking Friends of the Parks to drop their lawsuit received over 2,500 signatures. And to make matters more complicated, Crain’s is reporting that Friends of the Parks is financially tapped out.
The group has not yet made an official announcement of support for the Lucas Museum plan for either the Soldier Field site not the McCormick Place location, however Crain’s reports that the group is expected to "address the situation today."
Just a month ago, the plan seemed to be dead and buried as George Lucas and Mellody Hobson claimed that they were ready to move the museum to another. However, if Friends of the Parks decides to change course and announces their support for the plan, it could mean a second life for the museum’s chances of being built in Chicago.
UPDATE: The latest reports are now suggesting that Friends of the Parks isn't backing down from the opposition against the museum plan for the lakefront. According to Crain's, the group says that it will not be dropping its lawsuit that is preventing the museum from being built.
- Sneed: Friends of Parks votes to ‘move forward’ with Lucas Museum [Sun-Times]
- Friends of the Parks seems ready to deal on Lucas Museum [Crain's Chicago Business]