Route 66 News

Preservationists don’t want children’s museum in Grant Park

The Chicago Children’s Museum is thinking of moving from Navy Pier to a site at Grant Park, which is across the street from the fabled beginning of Route 66.

However, according to the Chicago Tribune, Preservation Chicago wants the museum to find someplace else:

“It’s completely unnecessary to put the museum in a park that has long come to symbolize a rare and magnificent use of urban open space in the heart of downtown,” said Jonathan Fine, president of the non-profit organization that monitors threats to Chicago’s architectural landscape. […]

Still in the formative stage, the museum had floated a plan to build a subterranean building that would occupy part of a space now used as a garage below the park.

Another site mentioned would put the museum in another part of the park. The plans have drawn citizen outrage and set off a political firestorm.

A museum official said Monday that Preservation Chicago officials miss the point that the project is trying to be as architecturally unobtrusive to the park as possible.

“It blends into the park and the greenery,” said Jim Law, vice president for planning and external affairs at the museum. “We look at this as an adaptive reuse of the park.”

Preservation Chicago has gone as far as listing Grant Park as one of its Seven Most Endangered sites because of the museum proposal.

I’m not sure what to think of this. The museum wants an unobtrusive site, perhaps even underground. Maybe the preservationists think the museum — and the additional people it would draw — would be more problematic for the park’s ambiance than anticipated.

(Hat tip: The Lope.)


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