CHICAGO – The plan to build the George Lucas museum in Chicago has suffered another blow.
Friends of the Parks, a group that fights to preserves Chicago's green spaces, is fighting efforts to build the museum along the lake and are threatening legal action.
Today, the group said it opposes constructing the museum at McCormick Place East. It also opposes any project along the lakeshore.
“The average Chicagoan appreciates on the one hand really appreciates and values this open lakefront but on the other hand has no idea that it has taken 150 years of battles to keep it that way,” said Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks
Star Wars creator George Lucas is now seriously considering locations outside of Chicago.
Today, Lucas' wife, the financial executive Mellody Hobson, issued a statement:
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. 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...... 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.
Today, Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, a strong supporter of the museum, spoke out against Friends of the Park.
“It angers me as a citizen of Chicago that some elitist folks who think they control the lakefront,” he said. “I fought them back with Children’s Museum. They think they can control on behalf of the citizens of Chicago.”
Mayor Emanuel also spoke out against the efforts of Friends of the Parks saying, “They have put at risk for the city something that all of us would benefit from as a city in a sense of gaining the educational, cultural as well as economic benefit of a museum.”
Friends of the Parks says the land selected for the museum is held in the public trust and must be protected.