Schoolchildren visited the White House this week for the latest installment of the administration's "Every Kid in a Park" initiative. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined the fun, tweeting some pictures along with the program's basic mission: "to help more kids experience nature, outdoors ... #FindYourPark."
The timing of it all was rather ironic. Because Chicago kids trying to #FindTheirPark may soon have one less park to choose from, thanks to President Obama.
On Tuesday, the Obama Foundation announced that the Obama Presidential Library will be built in the South Side of Chicago.
Specifically, it will be built on top of one of Chicago's historical urban parks, as the Chicago Tribune's editors explain:
[T]he Barack Obama Foundation and the city of Chicago must hammer out an agreement to put the museum on one of two sites named in the University of Chicago's winning bid. That requires a long-term lease of roughly 20 acres in either Jackson Park, along the south lakefront, or Washington Park, near the university.
Both are priceless settings, designed by famed landscape planner Frederick Law Olmsted. Appropriating those public acres is a big ask. To make it happen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel engineered a land swap between the city and park district, and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure meant to pre-empt a lawsuit by parks preservationists.
Charles Birnbaum, CEO of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, has put the point a little more bluntly: "Will Part of Chicago's Historic Washington Park Be Confiscated for the Obama Presidential Library?" Unsurprisingly, plans for the presidential library have sparked outcry among residents and preservationists for months.
Bulldozing a local park might make it harder for South Side kids to #FindTheirPark. But maybe the administration can tie it in with another one of the Obamas' projects.
For the last few years, Mrs. Obama has told kids, "Let's Move!" When it comes time to dig up Washington Park or Jackson Park, she can tell the kids, "Let's Move ... Away From The Bulldozers!"
And Sally Jewell can live-tweet it.