CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Chicago Park District unveiled its revised plans for the golf courses in Jackson Park and around the South Shore Cultural Center to a polite, but somewhat skeptical crowd.
General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly believes he has a winner — a revised plan that replaces Marquette Road with a lake-access foot and bicycle path, moves the Golf Pavilion to a central location from the northwest corner of the Jackson Park portion of the course, creates special events access from 71st Street and enlarges the Cultural Center’s nature conservancy, although it takes more than an acre of the conservancy area that now exists.
Kelly sees it as a home to novices and to a PGA tournament.
“I see this as a national model,” he said, a course with wider fairways, larger greens, more abbreviated rough and faster overall play because of improved drainage.
The biggest applause for Kelly and designer Beau Welling came when they said nature conservancy areas would be expanded. A closer look afterward left many skeptics.
“I’m not opposed to them improving the golf course, but I’m not for a PGA ‘Tiger Woods’ involvement in a golf course,” said Keith Scott, who said he believes that Kelly and Woods are trying to shoehorn in too much.
George Davis said Kelly appears to believe that any space not in constant use is “wasted space.”
“It should be a quiet space…and that’s not what these large parks in any major metropolitan area were designed for,” Davis said.
Gil Cornfield said there is still too little lakefront access to comply with city ordinances.
“We’re concerned mainly about two areas — the natural areas of Jackson Park and the ability of the public to get to the lakefront and the natural areas,” he said.
Another skeptic left saying, “Who asked for an amusement park?”
Kelly indicated further changes in the plan could be possible.