A federal judge ruled today that a lawsuit filed to prevent the construction of George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art will be allowed to proceed.
Controversy has swirled in the Windy City over the proposed $400 million project, which was approved by the Chicago Park District in October. The museum would be built just south of Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, in public parkland along the shore of Lake Michigan. Friends of the Parks is the organization attempting to stop the museum from utilizing the current site, claiming that the Chicago Park District didn’t have the authority to lease parkland reclaimed from Lake Michigan to private developers—that’s the Illinois state legislature’s responsibility, they claim. If Friends of the Parks wins the suit, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art likely would be killed entirely.
Supporters of the museum have pointed to the fact that the proposed site is currently occupied by a parking lot and pointed to the increased revenue it would introduce to the city. Detractors call the museum a Lucas “vanity project” unworthy of taking up green space on Chicago’s pristine lakefront, and they’re especially rankled by the proposed design of the museum, which rather resembles two blobby volcanoes. It doesn’t help that mayor Rahm Emanuel, the latest in the city’s proud line of near-autocratic political bosses, has supported the project from the get-go, effectively rendering the public voiceless in the process.
Little is yet known about the future contents of the Lucas Museum, except that it will include a treasure trove of Star Wars memorabilia and some works by Norman Rockwell.