To the editors:
Sculpture Chicago and the city of Chicago should be commended for their work on Pritzker Park in the South Loop. Contrary to what Joseph Sullivan thinks about Pritzker Park (June 12), it is an innovatively designed, attractive, and useful public open space that meets a critical need in downtown Chicago.
Aesthetically, the park is a beautiful combination of trees, grass, and seating that serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the el tracks and buildings that surround it. The rolling landscape and winding footpath lend a sense of serenity to an otherwise bustling and chaotic environment, and there are, in fact, plenty of places to sit. In addition to the formal seating areas, the lights lining the walkway double as small benches, characteristic of the innovation inherent in the park’s design. In addition, the sloping grassy areas invite people to sit down around the edges of the park. It is not a place where you have to stay between the lines.
During good weather at lunchtime, the park is invariably packed with people who don’t appear to feel the same kind of inhibition about using it that Mr. Sullivan does. That so many Loop workers and visitors are drawn to the park on a consistent basis testifies to the fact that the park is a valuable resource for the city’s center.
While the city of Chicago deserves credit for allowing the vacant lot to be transformed into such a public asset, the future of Pritzker Park remains in doubt because it is only temporary. The city should take a good look at the amount of use the park gets and consider making it a permanent feature of the South Loop. As an oasis of open space in a part of the city that sorely needs it, Pritzker Park can be an important and creative ingredient in the revitalization of the South Loop.
Gerald W. Adelmann