Federal Actions In and Adjacent to Jackson Park: UPARR Amendment and Transportation Improvements Jackson Park, City of Chicago, Illinois
The City of Chicago (City) intends to make changes in and adjacent to Jackson Park due to its approval of the construction of the privately funded Obama Presidential Center (OPC) and to implement the Chicago Park District (CPD) of the 2018 South Lakefront Framework Plan (SLFP). These actions by the city trigger the need for federal action.
The proposed OPC project would impact lands currently managed consistent with the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) (54 U.S.C. §2005) program, under which federal funds were provided by grant for improvements to Jackson Park. Any property improved or developed with UPARR grant funds may not be converted to non-recreation uses without the approval of the NPS. Under the UPARR Act, NPS shall approve a partial conversion when it is in accord with the current recovery action plan or similar plan and only if recreation properties and opportunities of reasonably equivalent location and usefulness are provided (54 U.S.C. §200507). NPS has no legal authority over the presence or physical aspects of the OPC in Jackson Park, such as the design, configuration, materials, or workmanship of those projects.
Under Title 23 U.S.C., the FHWA administers the Federal-Aid Highway Program, which makes available federal funding to state departments of transportation and local agencies for roadway projects. As a result of planned road closures related in part to the development of the OPC, the City proposes to make certain roadway improvements in Jackson Park using Federal-Aid Highway Program funds and to make bicycle and pedestrian improvements for better access to Jackson Park. To be eligible for this funding the city must meet federal compliance requirements.
This Environmental Assessment will examine the impacts to the natural and human environment from Federal Actions under consideration by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The NPS and FHWA act as joint lead agencies to prepare the Environmental Assessment in cooperation with the City of Chicago (City) related to action in and adjacent to Jackson Park in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. Jackson Park is a 547-acre park that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With an original design and early improvements dating back to 1871, Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance (also listed on the National Register of Historic Places) became the site of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition (World's Fair). Dozens of temporary buildings and pavilions were constructed in Jackson Park for the World's Fair. Some of the nation's most famous architects, landscape architects and sculptors contributed to the development of Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance, including Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. The City has approved the construction and operation of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park, the closure of roadways within Jackson Park consistent with the planning and development objectives described in the 2018 South Lakefront Framework Plan.