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Support for Lucas Museum Building

5/18/2016, 3:56 p.m. | Updated on 5/18/2016, 3:56 p.m.
The ‘Coalition 2 Build the Lucas Museum’ in a recent press conference announced their support for the Lucas Museum. In ...

Support for Lucas Museum Building

By Monique Smith

The ‘Coalition 2 Build the Lucas Museum’ in a recent press conference announced their support for the Lucas Museum. In 2014, Star Wars creator George Lucas announced plans to bring his museum to Chicago after San Francisco rejected his initial proposed location. Plans for the lakefront museum were quickly halted when the advocacy group Friends of the Park filed a lawsuit preventing Mayor Rahm Emmanuel from gifting Lucas with 17 acres of park land near Soldier Field.

The original site was rejected and a second site was proposed near McCormick Place, it too has been rejected by the group. The Mayor filed a petition to have Friends of the Park suit thrown out and in the latest court filing, Friends of the Park is promising to take its fight to state court. Friends of the Park Executive Director, Juanita Irizarry says the group isn’t opposed to having the Lucas Museum in Chicago, but suggests the location be moved to Bronzeville where the old Michael Reese Hospital was situated.

But Rev. Dr. Leon Finney, ‘Coalition 2 Build the Lucas Museum’ organizer and pastor of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church says, “The Lucas Museum will bring high paying and prestigious jobs in the technology, legal, construction, engineering, communications, science and math sectors which are sorely needed,”. Chicago is hemorrhaging from jobs, the Lucas people are investing $750 million dollars into Chicago, their (Friends of the Park) position doesn’t add up. They consider land more important than lives,” he said. Also present at the press conference was Chatham Business Associations Executive Director, Melinda Kelly who said, “This project is a no brainer, the Lucas Museum will be built on land that is currently not being used and will generate 8,000 construction jobs as well as 700 long term employment opportunities.” Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition has also spoken out in support of the museum, “If necessary, we too will be in the courts and the streets, arguing this once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he said.

Earlier this month, Lucas’ wife Melody Hobson issued an emotional statement regarding the opposition to her husband’s museum. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago,” Hobson said. “If the museum is forced to leave it will be because of the Friends of the Park and that is no victory for anyone. . . . As an African American who has spent my entire life in this city I love, it saddens me that young black and brown children will be denied the chance to benefit from what this museum will offer. . . .In refusing to accept the extraordinary public benefits of the museum, the Friends of the Park has proven itself to be no friend of Chicago,” she said. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the first of its kind will feature an unprecedented collection of fine art, popular art from illustration to comics and an insider’s perspective on the cinematic creative process. It’s an opportunity for Chicago youth to learn about digital art, movies and animatronics.