Friday, July 10, 2009

What's Up With This?

I was over at Transition Rogers Park when I read post about this. I read through all the comments too. I also found the brochure over at FOTP. This is the caption for the Pratt Beach location:

Submerged breakwaters or reefs create new aquatic habitat while protecting the beach sand from being carried away by winter storms.

This doesn't read like a plan for a marina to me. I am not sure the space is large enough to accommodate one. However, it's possible I am being snowed by the brochure since I haven't been party to any discussions as to what is really being planned.

All the same, I do have some observations around the comments and definite ideas of my own.

First of all, I agree with North Coast. Boating is an expensive hobby. If a house is a "money pit" a boat is a "money pit on steroids". I have seen news reports and pictures of abandoned boats and repossessed boats. Unless a boat is your primary residence (and it is for some folks) it's not a necessity. Westgard is also correct about choosing the priorities to spend our capital on. It is a given that our future is going to be different than what any of us expect. Would we rather build marinas for toys or work on rebuilding the infrastructure to keep the city working in that future, such as sewers, waterworks, the electric grid, and public transportation hubs?

I personally would love to have a bike path (yes and walking too) along the lakefront that runs from Evanston to Indiana, even if I am not ready to bike that far just yet. If the plans for the lakefront are limited to uniting the existing park space and creating a contiguous park from Evanston to Indiana then I am all for it. Anything beyond that, aside from pedestrian access in the southern end, is overkill IMHO.


The North Coast said...

Hi Keris.

I can't think of anything more destructive, and that would do more to destroy the beach and cause an increase in both water pollution and traffic on Sheridan Road, than a marina.

And, as much as I like the idea of the bike path, the benefits of it would be offset by the loss of our beaches, which are the only ones on the north side besides the Oak Street beach.

Additionally, it will all be hideously expensive and will disrupt life along the lake front in a very major way for many years.

We really can't afford it even if we wanted it.

A better solution is to improve and enhance our beaches and parks that exist, and that should include restoring our riparian rights to the "private" beaches, the sections of beach that have been illegally partitioned off and marked "private" by a number of apartment buildings up and down the lakefront. These buildings have claimed "squatters' rights" on these sections of beach for so long that their ownership of them is assumed and never questioned, but I have heard that the beaches are public property.

I would like someone with more knowledge of the legalities in this issue to weigh in here.

In the meantime, it's time to convene another noisy, contentious meeting to let our leaders know that we are onto them. We knew in 2005 that even though they said they were dropping their plans for the marina and outer drive extension, that this was a feint and that many shoes were left to drop yet.

Kheris said...

As I said, the plan doesn't read like what you would expect for a marina. I took a walk over to Pratt and frankly I think the logistics make a marina out of the question. You would need a launch ramp and parking and it just isn't there. I don't believe the city can get the support needed to pour in all the landfill that would be needed to pull off a marina.

The North Coast said...

The plan calls for a massive landfill that would take the lake out about a half-mile from where it is now. It would absolutely mean the loss of our end-street beaches and would render the lake inaccessible to anyone not in a boat, which is how things are in Lakeview.

The promoters of the plan are showing selected bits and pieces of the plan to the public, never showing the whole plan, which entails a pretty drastic restructuring of the north lakefront from Montrose Harbor up through Evanston. They know that a bike path is an easy sell, while the outer drive extension is much more controversial around here and the marina is anathema. So they de-emphasize the massive landfill, the expressway, and the marina and talk about the bike path, as if that were the only alteration they were making.

Imagine the actual water's edge about a half-mile further away than it is, fronted by a park, with a stone or concrete retaining wall instead of the beach, and a marina filled with boats. No more beach, but a noisy highway going past.

What angers me the most is that the proponents are just steamrolling right over us, in spite of spirited opposition expressed in at least two referendums and voiced at multiple meetings. They are not deflected by the concerns of the neighborhoods affected, nor by the stratospheric cost, nor by any other consideration but this grand vision they have and their desire to turn the inner city into a tourist playground pursuant to a hideously costly one-time event, which I hope we don't get.

Roger P said...