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Lucas Museum Saga Continues As Federal Judge Sides With Friends Of The Park

By Lisa White in News on Mar 13, 2015 4:15PM

(Image courtesy Lucas Museum of Narrative Art)

It was a small victory for Friends of the Park on Thursday, when U.S. District Judge John Darrah ruled that the nonprofit has standing to sue in the ongoing saga surrounding the Lucas Museum. Darrah agreed that the matter is controversial and judicial intervention is needed since “case law suggests action by the Illinois General Assembly is required to initiate the transfer of public land held in trust for all the citizens of Illinois.” Darrah went on to express concern about the lack of information regarding whether the Park District would remain the owners of the property and his concerns over public land being controlled by private parties.

After Darrah's ruling, museum officials stated that they are remaining focused on building the museum in Chicago. There is always Oakland, George. They would love to have you.

The city's Department of Law shared their disappointment that the matter was not resolved and reassured the public that they are looking towards the "next phase of the public process" as they continue forward attempting to make Chicago's museum campus the future home of the Lucas Museum. Meanwhile, Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, released the following comment, that kept true to their stance regarding the location:

“We believe the siting of the Lucas Museum in this lakefront location contradicts the public trust doctrine and its central principle that the general public is the beneficiary of this public lakefront parkland. The Lucas Museum is not a public use.”

The Sun-Times points out that regardless of the court battle, the fate of the museum likely depends on the outcome of the April 7 runoff election. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long been a supporter of the Lucas Museum setting up shop on the Chicago lakefront and will likely push to make it a reality, regardless of what some Chicagoans and state lawmakers think. But if Jesus "Chuy" Garcia wins on April 7, the Lucas Museum and their prospective trajectory might as well pack their bags and head west. Garcia had clear and strong words regarding the project when he gave the following feedback to newspaper questionnaires:

“I loved the ‘Star Wars’ movies, but building a museum to Darth Vader on our lakefront is a terrible mistake. I strongly oppose the $400 million vanity project, which Mayor Emanuel is building for his backers from Hollywood.”