Emanuel heads to court to save Lucas Museum plan

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel goes to court to resolve the lawsuit that's blocking plans for the Lucas Museum.

The parties had been waiting for a judge to rule about whether the museum project can proceed. But the discussion deteriorated on Tuesday, leading to the announcement that the Lucas Museum was considering another city to be its host.

The parking lot between Soldier Field and Lakeside - McCormick Place is the topic of more legal action between the City of Chicago and Friends of the Parks regarding the Lucas Museum.

"It's not like there aren't buildings there. There's a parking lot," Emanuel said.

On Wednesday, the city filed a petition to have the Friends of the Park lawsuit thrown out. The petition argues: "Federal litigation should not be allowed to thwart local land-use decisions" and goes on to argue "....plaintiffs' federal due-process claim....is frivolous."

The Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry told ABC7 on Tuesday that the organization wants to see the Lucas Museum in Chicago, but to go someplace away from the lakefront, like the Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville.

"We do have many folks in our midst that would love to see the McCormick Place East building go, but we don't think that should happen in a trade for another building built on the lakefront," said Irizarry.

Mayor Emanuel took the legal action to expedite a decision to move forward with the museum as it appears the offer by George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson may be slipping away.

"The Lucas Museum is going to be built. The question to us is whether it's going to be built in Chicago or L.A.," Emanuel said.

Friends of the Parks is neither commenting on the petition nor clarifying its position today.

Mellody Hobson is out of town and was unavailable for an interview on Wednesday.
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