Today is May the Fourth, the unofficial made sort-of official Star Wars Day around the world.
George Lucas’ creation is a cultural phenomenon that has made an impact on people globally except the people who are in charge of approving the land where he wants to build his museum.
Yesterday, Friends of the Parks, a Chicago-based preservation group whose goal is to keep the city’s lakefront “open, free, and clear” decided to oppose the alternate site of the museum which would be lakefront. It all started back in 2014 when the group filed a lawsuit to block the building of the museum near the originally intended site near Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Years later, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, other city officials, and Lucas proposed a few alternate sites that satisfy the demands of Friends of the Park. After another lakefront site was chosen and presented yesterday, the group once again rejected the idea and threatened to maintain its lawsuit if need be. The result was the announcement that the Lucas Museum was ready to look at other cities for its home.
“In refusing to accept the extraordinary public benefits of the museum, the Friends of the Parks has proven itself to be no friend of Chicago,” said Mellody Hobson, chairman of the Lucas Museum and the wife of George Lucas, in a targeted statement. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago. If the museum is forced to leave, it will be because of the Friends of the Parks and that is no victory for anyone.”
Hobson’s emphasized the huge positive effects that would have been given to the city if the museum were to be built in the Illinois city: jobs, education, and even a beautification of land that is currently a huge convention center and parking lot. All of these benefits that she said would make up the “largest philanthropic gift to an American city in the 21st century” were all thrown out with decision.
While support rallies are being organized and held in Chicago, museum officials are looking at other cities that have courted them in the past, namely Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Prior to Chicago, San Francisco was the first site that Lucas sought to build back in early 2014. That multi-year process of fighting for approvals with another preservation group lead to another rejection. Unlike the hostility that Chicago’s Friends of the Parks group has given, the Presidio Trust group in San Francisco has offered to work with the museum to find a compromise.
It’s a sad reality that the creator of Star Wars has to face on this special day. Here’s hoping for a new hope for him in a city that would welcome him and his museum.
p.s. George – DisneyExaminer still has your back and fully supports your museum!
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