Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hairston Fail #1: The Point Collapse

posted by chicago pop


Early in her tenure, Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston lost control of negotiations over the repair of a crucial and decaying stretch of lakefront, and ultimately lost $24 million in federal funding to fix it. Her lack of leadership led to the eventual rejection of the Compromise Plan of 2003 -- the best chance for a solution that met the demands of modern engineering and reasonable community input. Hairston was intimidated by a vocal group of activists and the plan was dropped in 2005.

Since then, funding has evaporated.

The lake shore revetment that surrounds what Hyde Parkers affectionately refer to as "The Point" is rotting. Every winter it is hammered by ferocious waves so that its once level and tiered limestone blocks (ca. 1920s-1930s) sink in a ragged jumble even further into Lake Michigan, and the steel and timber crib that originally held them all together juts out ever more visibly. The soil of Promontory Point itself is slowly eroding around the edges.

This is not how Promontory Point was intended to be. It may look nice from a distance and in fuzzy watercolor paintings, but it is incontrovertibly and dangerously dilapidated. It must be rebuilt. Its current condition is a danger to public safety, a disgrace to the Chicago Park District, and the fact that it was not fixed in the early 2000's is the most conspicuous HAIRSTON FAIL.


The Burnham said...

To think, I've lived in Hyde Park since I was a child and never knew that rock were suppose to be fixed!!! On the other hand, I always knew they were dangerous!!

Holly said...

Capitulating to some screaming voices only encourages the screamers to do it again. They have, with the same result - more than once. Time to elect an Alderman with a backbone.

Elizabeth Fama said...

As a devoted user of the Point and lakefront, this issue is my number one complaint about Alderman Hairston.

Smile that smile said...

I can name at least a dozen friends off the top of my head, who bike 10 - 15 miles on the weekends, from the Northwest Side, simply to swim at one of the few places left along the Chicago shore that hasn't been paved over. I've been spending my weekends there since 2005, and I see droves of people, simply relaxing, or climing around on the rocks, and enjoying the view from a camping chair- and I never see people relaxing like that along the paved steps up north. For the few of you who so badly want this last bit of the shoreline to be similarly ravaged, why don't you simply go up to Belmont or Diversey, if pavement makes you so happy? Why can't we have both sections of paved shoreline, and sections of unpaved shoreline? That way, everyone's happy.