Get to the point

On any given warm and sunny day, scores of Hyde Parkers grab beach towels and make their way on bike, rollerblade, stroller, or flip flops east to the Promontory Point. Though the Point, a broad swath of grass and trees whose revetments jut into Lake Michigan between 55th and 54th streets, remains open to pleasure seekers, a battle between neighborhood activists and the city is smoldering. In 2001 city planners, as part of a larger effort to renovate Chicago’s lakefront, proposed replacing the blocky shore and its eroding supports with concrete steps. Many community members objected to the plan, citing aesthetics and water access as main concerns, and negotiations have been ongoing ever since. The latest news, posted online by the Promontory Point Community Task Force (the organization behind the white-on-blue “Save the Point” stickers dotting Hyde Park bumpers), is a report from former mediator Jamie Kalven arguing in favor of preservation-minded restoration.

With construction delayed until at least 2005, this summer the Point continues to operate as Hyde Park’s swimming hole, sports field, jogging track, bike path, beach, and backyard.


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August 18, 2004