Friends of the Parks’
2nd Annual “Parks as Democracy?”
Annual Luncheon and Conference
“In Black and White?
A Continuing Conversation about
Parks as Democratic Spaces”
Friday June 8, 2018 & Saturday June 9, 2018
430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605
Gilded Age park movement pioneers lauded and created national and urban park systems in the name of ensuring them as democratic spaces. Parks were meant to be meeting places for the masses where everyone is equal; protected public lands held in trust by the government to promote the common good.
But our city recently has seen the guardians of the public trust give in to private exploitation of our park land. Park lovers surely have different points of view as to whether proposed uses are in line with the delicate balance between public enjoyment, natural resource management, and tourism and other economic development purposes that parks can play.
And, certainly, not everyone has experienced our parks as accessible and equitable over the years. As Chicago’s famed Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Jackson Park and Midway Plaisance hosted the World Columbian Exposition 125 years ago, Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells spoke of lack of equity and inclusion of African-Americans while advocates for women and the LGBT community also spoke about similar issues. And, 35 years ago, the Chicago Park District entered into a court-ordered Consent Decree in settlement of a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice because of discrimination against Chicago’s minority communities.
With this backdrop, please join Friends of the Parks for a provocative day-and-a-half gathering to study the history, analyze the issues, and develop action plans collaboratively to more fully promote and preserve our public lands as democratic spaces.
Friday June 8, 2018 11:30am – 1:30pm
FRIENDS OF THE PARKS ANNUAL LUNCHEON
Friday June 8- Saturday June 9, 2018
FRIENDS OF THE PARKS CONFERENCE
“State of the Parks” Symposium
2nd ANNUAL LUNCHEON & CONFERENCE PROGRAM
Featuring Keynote Speaker Dick Simpson
Author, Professor, former City of Chicago Alderman, and now Department Head of UIC Political Science Department, Dick W. Simpson has uniquely combined a distinguished academic career with public service in government.
He is author and co-author of more than 20 books on political action, ethics, and politics; his most recent book, The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive (2017), touches upon his early life in Texas, moving to Chicago and the account of his life in academics and politics.
This year’s conference will start immediately after the luncheon, with the release of Friends of the Parks’ 2018 “State of the Parks” report, presented by Executive Director Juanita Irizarry, and dialogue.
Workshops will follow on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.
The event brings together a diverse group of park activists, advocates and park enthusiasts. The conference will feature expert panels, round table discussions, and small group working sessions to provide participants with essential tools to enhance their blueprint for success in all Chicago parks and playgrounds.
FRIDAY, JUNE 8
VIP Reception with Dick Simpson 10:30am—11:30pm
Annual Luncheon 11:30am—1:30pm
This year’s Annual Luncheon will feature a keynote address: “The Fight for Democracy: The Role of Parks and Public Space” by Dick Simpson, Professor of Political Science at University of Illinois at Chicago, former Chicago alderman and author of The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive.
Conference 2:00pm—5:30 pm
Symposium “FOTP State of the Parks report”
Concurrent Sessions: FOTP Signature/Legacy Projects, Public Participation in Park planning, Spatial (In)Justice.
FRIDAY — SESSION 1 | 3:45pm-5:15pm
OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER: LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD
What did FOTP learn from the Lucas Museum battle, and how does that inform our approach to the second of two back-to-back “100 year storms” as we struggle with the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park? What is FOTP’s “park positive” approach and how do we keep pushing it now that Chicago’s City Council has approved the OPC campus? We will review FOTP’s policy and process so far on this project, provide an overview of the on-going Section 106/National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process, and discuss potential next steps and strategies to garner for Chicago as much replacement parkland and as many recreational amenities as possible.
FRIDAY — SESSION 1 | 3:45pm-5:15pm
DUSABLE PARK: DECADES IN THE MAKING
We commemorate in 2018 the 200th anniversary of DuSable’s death and the progress made in the past year on the long-planned DuSable Park which was dedicated in the 1980s by Mayor Harold Washington as a monument to the city’s first permanent settler, on a 3.3-acre peninsula on the other side of Lake Shore Drive. This session will look at the revived opportunities to develop the park, history of the EPA lawsuit and its resulting in resources, as well as the announced commitment from Related Midwest to invest $10 million and develop the park as part of the real estate development agreement with the City of Chicago.
FRIDAY — SESSION 1 | 3:45pm-5:15pm
MAKE NO LITTLE PLANS: THE LATEST ON THE LAST FOUR MILES
Get up to date on FOTP’s work to move forward the dream of completing a contiguous lakefront path and park system down to Indiana and up to Evanston. Hear the results of our year-and-a-half long effort to engage neighborhood residents in participatory planning in the context of lakefront and riverfront parks on the southeast side; new programs and initiatives focused on the Calumet region; and recent updates to the SouthWorks saga. Explore this ever-changing context to identify threats against and opportunities to actualize the Last Four Miles vision.
Reception & Annual Meeting 5:30pm—7:30pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 9
9:30am-10am State of the Parks Speech
PUBLIC PARKLAND IN FOCUS: “FUTURE OF PUBLIC”
What does it mean for our parks to be public? And does it even matter if they’re public? We recently saw Millennium Park—a park that is not owned by the Chicago Park District–closed to the public on St. Patrick’s Day. The Obama Presidential Center says that they intend to keep their campus open to the public, although they will not be bound by the same accountability structures that the Chicago Park District is. The former CHA Lathrop Homes development is being redeveloped as mixed-income, with some of the surrounding green space owned by the developer and some of it owned by the Chicago Park District. And lessons learned from The 606 are shaping different strategies for local engagement around other emerging trails. Chicago is on the cusp of developing a whole new set of riverfront parks and trails as old industrial corridors and vacant land is reimagined. In that context, how do we define “public” space, who gets to control the narrative, and what do we do about it moving forward? A robust panel discussion will launch into table dialogues and group report outs to help Friends of the Parks further frame this issue.
SATURDAY LUNCH— 10am-11:30am
PUTTING IT ALL “ON THE TABLE”: PARKS AS DEMOCRACY? CASE STUDIES AND CONVERSATION
Our “Parks as Democracy?” On The Table luncheon will kick off with a series of case studies that highlight some important park issues that raise controversy. What are the right kinds of festivals and concerts and for which parks? When a donor wants to pay for a nice park amenity, who decides where it goes? And what’s the issue with building public buildings in parks anyway? Panelists’ presentation of their case studies and a little bit of Q&A will be followed by table conversations about what it means for parks to be democratic spaces.
2:00pm-4:45pm — Workshops
Concurrent Tracks: FOTP Signature/Legacy Projects, Public Participation in Park Planning, & Spatial (In)Justice.
SATURDAY— SIGNATURE PROJECTS— SESSION 1 2pm-3:15pm
FUNDING YOUR PARK I: UNDERSTANDING AND ADVOCATING ABOUT THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT BUDGET
Following the flow of dollars to local parks is never as easy as you think it should be. The first session in the Funding Your Park series will focus on how to read the Park District Budget and relay tools you can use to advocate for change when it comes to your park. Come and learn the basics such as the difference between operations and capital park funding dollars, how to do an analysis of your local park’s budget, and who are the right people to know. Special guests will speak to their own advocacy experiences and the tools they utilize from their toolbox. We will also discuss what it would look like for park budgeting to be a transparent process and how we can advocate for a more transparent system.
SATURDAY— P3 V. P4— SESSION 1 : 2:00pm-3:15pm
CHICAGO’S FRONT YARD: BIG QUESTIONS FOR OUR BIG LAKEFRONT PARKS
What’s up with all the fast-moving changes along the lakefront? Whose issue is it when the city proposes an inflatable water park for one of our public beaches? What happens when area residents have different visions for the use of their local open space which also serves as a big tourist draw? How do we get more people involved in caring for parks? Consider the effectiveness and legitimacy of different public participation models, different opinions about process and product, and different needs across huge lakefront parks such as Lincoln Park, Grant Park, and Jackson Park that span distinct neighborhoods and host visitors from around the region, the country, and the world.
SATURDAY— SPATIAL (IN)JUSTICE— SESSION 1 : 2:00pm-3:15pm
RIVERS AND TRAILS: BURNHAM OR BUST?
The emphasis on the river which Daniel Burnham included in his Plan for Chicago never got much attention. Until now. And there’s quite a bit of intersection these days between the City’s and the Chicago Park District’s agendas for development along the river and priorities to make Chicago the top bicycle-friendly city. Note the 312 River Run and a proposed extension over the Chicago River of The Bloomingdale Trail/The 606, for starters. Hear about what’s big on the agendas of river and trail advocates these days and how they are engaging these priorities. Then help us consider what the hyper-focus on these spaces means for funding of other parks as well as what unique value Friends of the Parks and Park Advisory Councils can bring to these advocacy opportunities.
SATURDAY— SIGNATURE PROJECTS— SESSION 2 3:15pm-4:45pm
FUNDING YOUR PARK II: UNDERSTANDING AND
ADVOCATING ABOUT TIF
The second workshop in our Funding Your Park series will focus on other ways to attain government funds to improve your park. Learn the differences between Menu Money and Tax-Increment Financing (TIF) dollars, and the opportunities and challenges to acquire these funds for park improvements. We will also conduct an overview of the city’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative and answer questions about what park projects these funds can be used for, how PB can support these uses, and how your community can advocate and work with your alderman to get your park’s needs met. Learn from our expert panelists who will report on the ins and outs of these funding streams and share their own case studies.
SATURDAY— P3 V. P4— SESSION 2 : 3:15pm-4:30pm
KEEPING OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE: A PLATFORM FOR PARKS
Chicago’s next municipal election cycle is right around the corner. This working session will build on topics discussed throughout the conference. Participants will generate ideas to help Friends of the Parks develop a policy platform and questionnaire for aldermanic and mayoral candidates that can be used as a tool for Friends of the Parks, Park Advisory Councils, and other park and green space enthusiasts to educate candidates on park issues and get them to articulate commitment to key issues.
SATURDAY— SPATIAL (IN)JUSTICE— SESSION 2 3:15pm-4:45pm
RIVERS AND TRAILS: COMMUNITY BASED CONVOS ABOUT BOAT HOUSES, BIKE PATHS, AND BROWNFIELDS
As the city, the park district, and funders focus on redevelopment along Chicago’s rivers and linear parks that can potentially serve functions for transportation, leisure and exercise, and/or economic development, how do the needs of locals, residents of the region, tourists, and bicycle activists get balanced? Hear from neighborhood leaders working for cultural relevance in the midst of a boat house boom, environmental justice leaders dealing with pollution in and near our rivers and trails, and advocates for public participation in decision-making and local ownership of green and blue space assets.
4:45pm—5:15pm Wrap up & Snacks
Full Program Purchaser: *receive a pre-autographed copy of “The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive” This special offer is limited to ONLY the first 40 to register for the Annual Luncheon and Conference all-inclusive package. Register today!
Saturday Conference: NO CHARGE for Park Advisory Council members & Park Partners Organizations members up to 5 members – Group must submit registration together.
Volunteer scholarships: Limited scholarships for volunteering to assist FOTP – Contact email@example.com [subject: volunteering] or call 312.857.2757
Membership rates available. You can benefit from member rates. Become a member TODAY at https://fotp.org/get-involved/membership/
Unable to join us? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution today at https://fotp.org/get-involved/donate/
SELECTION OF EVENTS | Please indicate quantity.
First forty (40) people to register for the Annual Luncheon and Conference all-inclusive package will receive a pre-autographed copy of “The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive” at registration. This special offer is limited to ONLY the first forty registrants of the Annual Luncheon and Conference package
Sponsorship opportunities are available! Please click here for sponsorship levels, and reach out to Sandra Del Toro at DelToroS@fotp.org or 312-857-2757 x1 for more information on sponsorship opportunities.
Thank You To:
Our Conference Generous Sponsors:
Thank you to our Table Sponsors:
DuSable Heritage Association
Bronzeville Children’s Museum
Lauren Moltz & John Clement
Check out last year’s conference tracks and sessions here! Check out last year’s conference moderators and speakers here!
With many thanks to Charlie Billups, here are some highlights from last year’s “Parks as Democracy?” conference: