It’s been a long and bumpy road for the proposed George Lucas Museum on Chicago’s lakefront. From the early days, vying to get the nod, to the excitement of winning the bid, we’ve been there from the beginning to keep track of the goings-on with the proposed museum in Techaeris’ back yard. It seems only fitting on Star Wars day that the final nail may have been driven into the coffin of the George Lucas Museum in Chicago.
To be completely accurate, the likely death transpired yesterday, when George Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson released a statement to vent her frustrations with the entire process. As you may remember, shortly after releasing some concept images of what a lakefront Lucas Museum might look like, opposition started to arise (I told you we’ve been all over this story!).
You can read Hobson’s full statement below:
My husband and I have worked in earnest for two years, side-by-side with every relevant city agency, community leader, and policy maker, to give what would be the largest philanthropic gift to an American city in the 21st century. From the beginning, this process has been co-opted and hijacked by a small special interest group. When the Friends of the Parks sued the city in order to preserve a parking lot, we were offered a different and feasible solution—the replacement of an underutilized and outdated convention space that would also add more than 12 acres of new parkland. Yet, even with this additional park space, an organization that claims to ‘preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of parks and open space’ now opposes this as well. While they claim to be a ‘strong steward of Chicago and a partner to its progress,’ their actions and decision rob our state of more than $2 billion in economic benefits, thousands of jobs and countless educational opportunities for children and adults alike.
As an African American who has spent my entire life in this city I love, it saddens me that young black and brown children will be denied the chance to benefit from what this museum will offer. As Chair of the Board of After School Matters, which serves 15,000 public high school students in Chicago and has more demand than can ever be met, I have seen firsthand what art can do to spur imagination and creativity, heal the soul and advance society—something so needed right now. This is a city of big shoulders and a metropolis that is second to none. In refusing to accept the extraordinary public benefits of the museum, the Friends of the Parks has proven itself to be no friend of Chicago. We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago. If the museum is forced to leave, it will be because of the Friends of the Parks and that is no victory for anyone.
Only time will tell if these frustrations will ultimately lead to the demise of this museum in Chicago, but the prospects aren’t looking good at the moment. We are still certainly hoping to get this museum in Chicago, so we’ll see how everything shakes out.
Any Chicago residents have thoughts on this situation? Anybody outside of Chicago want to chime in with what you think? Tell us in the comment section below, or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.[button link=”http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/05/03/lucas-museums-chicago-plan-now-appears-dead/” icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: CBS Chicago[/button]