“Local funds will match a $625,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), providing $1.25 million in restorations, improvements and new construction in Jackson Park.
“The Chicago Park District says the money will be used to restore the Iowa Building and to create a new dog park and baseball and softball diamonds. The money comes from the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program, which the IDNR administers.
“Jackson Park is an essential part of our community, and it has needed maintenance for some time,” he said. “I’m glad the Chicago Park District will receive the funds it needs to give Jackson Park the renovations that the people in our neighborhood who use it deserve.” (Gettinger, Hyde Park Herald, 1/27/2020)
While Preservation Chicago supports the investment in the Iowa Building, it’s unfortunate that this grant could not also simultaneously fund the stabilization and repair of the collapsing Comfort Station designed by Daniel Burnham located in Jackson Park on South Shore Drive near 67th Street. The Comfort Station has been in desperate need of stabilization funding and its condition has deteriorated significantly since Preservation Chicago featured it in our Chicago 7 Most Endangered Book in 2017. Perhaps the Obama Foundation could help with this and the many other repairs and improvements needed throughout historic Jackson Park while their application to bulldoze 20 acres of the historic park designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted slowly works its way through the federal Section 106 review process.