|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||February 13, 2013|
|Contact:||Lynn McClure, National Parks Conservation Association, C: 312-343-7216, P: 312-263-0111|
Advocates Urge Support for Creating Chicago’s First National Park at Historic Pullman District
Background: America’s national parks include some of the most beautiful places on Earth as well as places that honor important parts of our culture and heritage. They are the soul of America, illustrating the stories of our past, and few sites preserve the history of American industry, labor and urban planning as well as Pullman – all just 15 miles south of the Loop.
Pullman is already recognized for its historical significance including the critical role of railroads in America’s industrial past, the formation of the first African-American labor union, and development of the country’s first model industrial town. The convergence of these uniquely American stories of undisputed national significance makes Pullman worthy of national park status.
National parks are economic generators supporting more than a quarter million jobs, and attracting more than $30 billion in spending each year in communities across the country. Every dollar invested in park operations generates approximately $10 in gross sales revenue and every two Park Service jobs yields one outside the Park.
“As we look to the 2016 centennial celebration of the National Park Service, diversifying our national parks to include more urban areas and to more fully reflect stories of cultural diversity is of great importance,” said Lynn McClure, Midwest regional director, National Parks Conservation Association. “And creating Chicago’s first national park at Pullman will provide important steps forward for diversifying and advancing our National Park System.”
“The Pullman community believes a national park designation for our neighborhood would be a welcomed addition, bringing tremendous benefit for the local economy,” says Lorraine Brochu, President, Pullman Civic Organization (PCO). “Recent studies of the Pullman community have pointed to the need for small business development and a national park would help be a catalyst for that growth.”
“The Pullman Historic District should be a National Historical Park because it is an excellent place to tell the many stories of railroad travel, industry, labor, urban planning and civil rights in the development of our nation’s history,” says Michael A. Shymanski, president of the Historic Pullman Foundation.
“Across the country, the arts and national historical parks work hand in glove. Designating Pullman as a national historical park would help our community fulfill its dream of converting an abandoned factory into a vibrant space where artists live and work,” says Arthur Pearson, Chair, PCO Artspace Committee. “In return, a Pullman Artspace would help anchor the Pullman National Historical Park; its artists building upon the rich tradition of beauty, art and craftsmanship that epitomized the luxurious train cars and the model town that George Pullman built."
“National parks boost cultural tourism and highlight the historical legacies of the community,” said Sherry Williams, President, Bronzeville Historical Society and Pullman resident. “And national parks are well known to stem much-needed local job creation.”