Environmental Assessment for Federal Actions in and Adjacent to Jackson Park
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.
The decision to locate the OPC in Jackson Park and the design of the OPC and campus do not require federal authorizations or approvals. The NPS reviews the loss of recreational uses within Jackson Park as well as areas intended for future dedication to recreational use under the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) program. This program provided grant funds from the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (now transferred to the NPS) to Jackson Park in the early 1980's. The City Actions propose changes from previous park uses in Jackson Park to accommodate the OPC and associated changes to the road network. These changes require NPS review of the recreation loss and replacement opportunities to see if they are equivalent and amendment to the original UPARR grant agreements upon approval of the conversion request. The FHWA administers the Federal-Aid Highway Program, which makes available federal funding to state departments of transportation and local agencies for roadway projects. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposes to use federal-aid construction funding for roadway construction activities intended to mitigate traffic impacts from the proposed closure of roadways within Jackson Park.
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