CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago parks protection group sued the city on Thursday over a planned museum by "Star Wars" filmmaker George Lucas, saying the site is on a lakefront spot that cannot be handed over to a private entity.
The Friends of the Parks said in its federal lawsuit that the proposed "Lucas Museum of Narrative Art," which will include artifacts from his hit science fiction film series, violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due process clause.
The museum was to be located on the same lakefront area as Chicago's Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.
By allowing the development, the suit said the nation's third-largest city and its park district will interfere with the right of citizens to "use and enjoy property held in trust by the state of Illinois as a natural resource and pristine physical environment."
The lawsuit sought to block the land transfer.
Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the administration hasn't yet seen the lawsuit and could not comment. He said the museum will be treated like others on the lakefront museum campus and comply with all laws.
"This museum is a generous gift that will expand the rich cultural and educational opportunities for children and families in every neighborhood, and visitors from around the world," said Collins, who said the museum would also create jobs.
The museum will feature the director's collection of paintings, illustrations and digital art, including works by Norman Rockwell, John Tenniel and Maxfield Parrish.
Lucas had wanted to build it in San Francisco, but the proposal was rejected by a trust that governs the land it was intended to be on. Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago.
The museum said it selected its site near Chicago's Soldier Field because of its accessibility to public transportation as well as its central location.
A white, space-mountain-like design for the proposed museum was released last week, and has already caused controversy in a city known for its architecture.
A representative for Lucas was not available for comment.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Doina Chiacu)