The planned Chicago Lucas Museum is an exciting prospect for many. Not only would it bring more art, culture, revenue and jobs to the city of Chicago but it would give the city a pop culture anchor. George Lucas had originally approached San Francisco with the proposal but they ultimately could not agree on a proper location, so Lucas turned to Chicago, where he also has ties. Chicago came to a quick agreement with Lucas on a 17 acre site on the lake front near Soldier Field and the Field Museum.
Currently the location serves as two parking lots for the museum campuses but if Lucas has his way it will become a place to showcase his extensive art collection and movie mememorabilia
But not everyone is thrilled with Lucas erecting his museum on the 17 acre site, especially Friends of the Parks president Cassandra Francis. She’s been a vocal opposition to the Lucas Museum and now she’s making her move on the legal chessboard. Francis will argue in federal court that the planned location of the Chicago Lucas Museum sits on reclaimed waterways and cannot be handed over to a private entity. Francis is using a legal move called “public trust doctrine” to initiate the lawsuit against the Lucas Museum.
The 17-acre site, now occupied by two parking lots south of Soldier Field, was formed by landfill dumped into Lake Michigan and therefore is “reclaimed navigable waterway,” said Fred Bates, vice chair of Friends of the Parks. The public trust doctrine says that the state holds title to submerged lands and must maintain them for public uses. “The lawsuit will focus on the public trust doctrine and focus on the fact that this land always stays in the control of the state,” Bates said.
Lucas and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel came to an agreement to lease the land from the City of Chicago for $1 a year. Initially Friends of the Parks argued that Lucas could not build his museum on the lake front due to a 1973 ordinance that banned private construction on the shoreline. Emmanuel believes the $1 lease deal with the city complies with the ’73 ordinance but Francis disagrees contesting that the museum is Lucas’s private enterprise. It looks like Lucas is going to have a battle on his hands which it seems the opposition is willing to fight. What do you think? Should Lucas be allowed to build his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Chicago’s lakefront? Or are Cassandra Francis and Friends of the Parks right? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Feature Image Courtesy of ebbewaxin deviantart