The criticism has also flabbergasted Mayor Stephen C. Waluk, who heads the seven-member city council. Waluk wonders whether "any other place in America" would be fighting a multimillion-dollar gift to improve public property.

Waluk says the project that will result will be "a more inviting place for residents and visitors," and predicted the city council will approve the plan. Nonetheless, at least one councilman, Charles Y. Duncan, opposes it, saying the critics "are not a bunch of quacks."

Further, the council now will allow more public discussion, scheduling an open workshop December 7. Originally, the council was to dispose of the issue at its regular December 14 meeting, first taking public comment on a revised park plan (which reduces the scale of Lin's foundation-installations), then holding an up-or-down vote.

Mayor Waluk says the interim workshop will help dispel misconceptions about the proposal, demonstrating that the park will remain public, provide more open space, and won't burden taxpayers.

"When these facts are out, this becomes a debate over art," Waluk says. "That's a fair debate, but not one that should make or break the project."

Critic Sidney Long sees the added workshop as a sign of hope for the opposition.

"The pressure is getting to them," she says.

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