Monday, February 04, 2013

Washington Examiner op-ed: The real story behind the Chicago Reagan home

Marathon Pundit at the
Reagan home, 2011
Mary Claire Kendall, who has been a dynamo in regards to the effort to save the only Chicago home of Ronald Reagan, offers another update on what is really happening with the preservation efforts.

From her Washington Examiner op-ed piece:
On Oct. 17, 2012, the university held a meeting announcing plans to demolish the building. I became involved with a group of dedicated Reaganites and Hyde Park preservationists to save the home -- an effort that became especially urgent when demolition equipment showed up on site on Dec. 27.

At that point, I spoke with Eleanor Gorski, Chicago's assistant commissioner/director of historic preservation, who approves demolition permits. She affirmed in January that she expected the review process -- required by law because the city's 1985 Historic Resources Survey listed Reagan's home in the top 2 percent of historic buildings in Chicago -- will take the full 90 days [to review], and that landmark status remains a possibility for Reagan's childhood home. (The home was denied landmark status in late 2012 after community activist Redd Griffin, a friend of mine who championed this cause before his death last year, formally wrote the Chicago Landmarks Commission to "suggest" that designation.)

It does appear that a solution could be in the works. Peter Strazzabosco, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, had been downplaying the worth of the Reagan home, but the University of Chicago's student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, subsequently quoted him saying that "the City of Chicago's Historic Preservation Division will use this time to 'reach out to the property owner and discuss alternatives to demolition.' "

Shortly thereafter, we incorporated Friends of President Reagan's Chicago Home as a nonprofit in Illinois to work with the university to honor President Reagan's memory appropriately and complete the Ronald Reagan Trail in Illinois. We also intend to make a contribution to all the Reagan homes in Illinois each year, "underscoring," as our corporate purpose statement notes, that the trail "is one, with the Chicago home enhancing the whole."
University of Chicago
As for the--and I'm being kind here--speculation that the Reagan home will be torn down and replaced by a parking lot for a possible Barack Obama presidential library, well that rumor is "untrue," Kendall says. A parking garage is on the University of Chicago Medical Center drawing board for the area of the Reagan apartment--but it would be a block away from it, she explains. And yes, an Obama library could end up somewhere on the sprawling U of C campus, and of course visitors to such a library would be able to park in that garage.

Even though the library could be a mile or more away.

And that parking garage could end up right next to the still-standing Reagan home.

Oh, before I forget: Wednesday would have been Reagan's 102nd birthday.

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The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 by Wilentz, Sean [Paperback] (Google Affiliate Ad)

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