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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:04 am

Wookiees 6, Bears 0

(Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / May 19, 2014)


As I noted in Cultural Arts Major, Star Wars creator George Lucas wants to buy some U.S. city a new museum to house his collection of graphics arts of the magazine, book, film and comic book genres. The City of Chicago would love to have it – assuming a site can be found that is both suitable to Lucas and will not cost the city much money. Mayor Rahm Emanuel charged his minions to find such a site.

Melissa Harris, the Chicago Tribune business columnist, and reporter Hal Dardick bring us up to date. A mayor’s task force looked at 57 possible sites all over the city, and decided that the best was the 15 lakefront acres now occupied of parking lots to the south of Soldier Field, which Springfield-area Bears fans will know lie between the stadium and McCormick Place and within walking distance of the museum ghetto in Grant Park.

 The task force's theory is that the museum, which would hold artwork and more than 500,000 pieces of movie memorabilia, would draw in conventioneers on foot while also creating a new lakefront park on land that is now asphalt, according to the 56-page reported obtained by The Tribune.

Existing street, bus and train service is capable of delivering 650,000 people to the site in 30 minutes. But plans to build a new convention hotel and a sports arena near McCormick Place will add to the traffic in that part of the city. The mayor’s task force recommended that new special bus services, improvements to an existing nearby commuter train stop and more bike paths and perhaps a dedicated trolley running from the Loop to the site.

Tourist people love the idea. Parks advocates don’t. Hungry and thirsty Bears fans might well decide the issue politically. Cars that now use those lots on game days would be parked instead in a new underground garage at the site to be paid for by George Lucas. It is unlikely that the city will allow the grills and open fire pits used by tailgaters to burn underground. Any action that impinges on the performance of that tribal rite will stir opposition. 

Whether Emanuel will listen is not clear; most Bears fans live in the suburbs. 
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