Jackson, Jr. takes first steps to bring $4 million in earmark funding to the Point

I have been urging Congressman Jackson to do this for some time,” said Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston

By Ivy Perez

Following a federal grant of $4 million to renovate the city’s shoreline, including Promontory Point, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. said last week he plans to seek an evaluation of the proposed shoreline construction next year, the first step in rebuilding the Point. The evaluation would review the proposed renovation’s adherence to historical preservation standards.“I have been urging Congressman Jackson to do this for some time, and I wrote him a letter to that effect prior to his announcement,” said Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. “We will continue to urge representatives in Washington to get funding. I have been spearheading this issue for some time and am glad to see movement.”Jackson will submit the request for funds for the 2010 fiscal year to the Committee for Appropriations subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. A provision for the third-party review, which would be performed by the Army Corps of Engineers, was authorized in 2007 by then-Senator Barack Obama. The provision of $450,000 for the review was previously delayed by budgetary complications during the Bush administration.Senator Dick Durbin and Mayor Richard M. Daley defended the $4 million of earmarked federal funds for the Chicago Shoreline project at a press conference last month. “What major earmarks we put in the bill have to do with major problems,” he said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “This is an investment in the future of the major asset of the city of Chicago.”Controversy has surrounded the Point’s renovation since 2001, when some community members were outraged over city plans to renovate the national landmark with concrete as opposed to limestone, which was used in the original 1920s construction.Since 1991, about $354 million have been spent on restoring the city’s shoreline, more than half of which was federal funding. Thus far, 5.8 miles of the targeted 8 miles have been restored.