Anyone who had seen the map of the new Tiger Woods Golf Course knew it was too big to fit in the footprint of the current course, even with new real estate being built out into the lake from the spot. Places abutting the current course were in peril, including the nature center that curves alongside the east end of the South Shore Cultural Center grounds. It was only a matter of time before this was confirmed.
A presenter at the Saturday meeting in this Barack Obama/Tiger Woods sales cavalcade enthused that the area where the nature center sits was the Pebble Beach of the Midwest. I knew the nature area was doomed then and there, and I posted something to that effect on Facebook. It was confirmed last night for those lucky few who were able to attend the latest Obama/Woods presentation at La Rabida where, to my and others’ endless aggravation, Alderman Leslie Hairston reserved a room for 75 for a meeting that drew 600 the week before.
But that’s another story. The infomercial crew confirmed that they were wiping out the nature center. They said that it would be replaced further north, between two holes, according to a news report.
Okay, first and foremost, that’s not a nature center – that’s landscaping. This type of nonsense is a favorite tool of the Park District – who will chop down a 100-year-old tree for some Streets and San project, then measure the trunk and plant a bunch of little trees – so maybe they came up with it here. It is an argument that is so obviously inaccurate that there is a term for it – false equivalence. If I say “puppies and tarantulas both walk, so they are equally good pets,” you know this is a false equivalence. The beauty of what has been made will not be replaced by something somewhere else installed by people who don’t care about it. Above all, they obviously are taking the prime real estate and dumping something somewhere they don’t care about and calling it a nature center.
Only a jerk would make such a claim, but that is exactly what the folks pitching the Woods PGA Course for Rich Tourists are trying to shove down our throats. We are losing our natural beauty for their personal profits and private ambition.
There is zero reason why we should accept this. The golf course is a profit-driven venture with no tangible benefits to the community. The whole thing will get finished, fenced off, and we will only see our views of the lake and the skyline on TV like every other spectator.
It should be plain to everyone that this is being pitched with the Obama Center because there is another, tacit false equivalence claim being made, that somehow the Obama Center and the Woods Course are linked, and of similar value. I will not debate the relative merits of the Obama Center being in Jackson Park here, but I will say that these projects are worlds apart. Start with who they are made for. Continue with what they offer. Add what they take away. It’s as clear as a bell.
The Woods Course has to be stopped by whatever means is needed. Anyone touting it is a shill for monied interests. The people will lose out. There is nothing equivalent to the people’s access to the shoreline. That is a foundational quality of Chicago. Any effort to reduce it is an effort to diminish the significance of the people. Supporters of the Woods Golf Course are betraying the people of Chicago.
(Featured image by Marc Monaghan and published here; map of the nature center boardwalk published by the Chicago Tribune.)