My friends in astrophysics have worked on equipment in its basement machine shop that is now in space. All of them credit Yerkes with motivating them to enter or stay in the field. There is enormous backlash on social media, and a glimmer of hope that Yerkes might operate in substantially the same way independently or under different ownership.
I’m deeply skeptical of historic preservation, but if there were ever a place that needed to be landmarked, it’s this one.
But what really puzzles me is that how this great resource cannot be put to better use. Yes, the telescope may "no longer contribute directly to the research mission" but it still blows your $300 home telescope out of the water! I, for one, would pay at least $250 a night for a modest room if I am allowed to use that beast (with supervision, of course). I guess there would be tons of amateur astronomers who would feel the same.
I understand U of C does not have the bandwidth to do this, but why doesn't a local startup/philanthropist/whatever step up?