Neighborhood and Community News and Developments
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This page gives or directs you to hot local news, developments

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website, www.hydepark.org. Compiler Gary Ossewaarde
Help support our work: Join the Conference and feed us NEWS and what you want us to find out more about.


To Summary of the big stories of 2008 by Gary Ossewaarde
Drastic school cuts, serious reforms- see in School News page.
Key Harper updates!!!. Harper Court homepage. July 12 2010 presentation and fund request. July 12 TIF meeting.
5th Ward Fall 2010 Newsletter

Return to Hot Topics and Community Issues homepage. Reports from public officials.
Latest/last on the 61st Garden (demo starting March 21) and new going forward- 61st Garden page.
Important news for condo boards and owners- April 19 2010 seminar page. Committee home and news.

ELECTION
2011 (11 in the 4th, 10 in the 5th) AND QUESTIONS ASKED OF THEM BY HPKCC.
CANDIDATE RESPONSES TO QUESTIONNAIRE. February 5 debate.
About the campaign.
Shirley Newsome has been appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Toni Preckwinkle in the 4th Ward.

5-SCREEN THEATER, 5 GUYS HAMBURGER FOR HARPER THEATER

Visit report on HPKCC's April 19, 2010 "Keeping YOU and Your Computer Safe" seminar. Watch for next Oct. 16
(parent-child)

Other sites and blogs- see Neighborhood Links page- newest is 1537.
Here:

Quick bits and breaking-ALERTS. News and bulletins , THIS WEEK and the weeks before
Blackstone Bicycle Works trailer burned with the inventory of 400 bikes, and they need financial help.
Contact Experimental Station, http://www.experimentalstation.org.
Hearing that affects TIFS-affordable housing
*******HARPER COURT Vermilion asked and WAS VOTED $23.4 m (20%) of phase I Harper funding in unveiling updates; community meetings held, much clarified July 19 and 20. PDF of July 12 presentation is in http://www.hpherald.com.
Harper Theater 53rd facade was spruced up and prepared to display art for the July 25 festival (a smashing success!!!) and an ongoing facade art show, to open in October.
Woodlawn Promise Zone fails to be selected for federal funding.
HYDE PARK NEIGHBORHOOD CLUB REMODELING, CHANGING FOCUS TO YOUTH-SHAKING THE GROUND IN HYDE PARK- see in News from Collaborers page.
Michael's Fresh Market held its Grand Opening July 23 - at last! reuse of the former Co-Op at 1300 E. 47th St.
Beach pollution/swim bans (all closed late July after series of monsoon rains)
Is Elm Park again on the block- as neighbors form new advisory council, organize Neighborhood Watch
Shoreland over half way through city hearings- about to be landmarked and set rehab.
And Antheus hires Heartland Alliance trainees to work in building maintenance-
Sutherland bought by Antheus (Visit Antheus page and click Sutherland), complexities in housing, affordability revealed. A row with an advocacy org arose over degree and conditions of help to the former tenants. Historic ballroom renovation complete
Safe child drop off successful at Shoesmith School. Antheus to build new drop off drive at Harte next summer.
Harper Ct. moving, nuances, more-
Harper Ave. opening traffic study endorsed meeting of TIF subcommittee June 14- Harper Court
Daley proposing revised gun control legislation after Supreme Court rebuff
After much inconvenience to a few, the 53rd currency exchange has reopened.
Hyde Park Neighborhood Club is turning into a youth-only center
Schools in crisis; state budget cut more by Quinn; students and teachers hit back at perceived politics and irresponsibility, CPS pulls back on big class size- maybe. Education/Schools News.
Good News- most of the lost teachers and programs have been restored at Ray and Murray, including Ray's World Language Magnet Cluster status and cachet English as a Second Language (the only such offered near the University of Chicago). Bret Harte and others also had partial restorations.
Kenwood LSC passes budget, some sides taken on what to save in budget crisis. But the school, like so many in Illinois, can't keep up with NCLB, goes on watch list.
LSC elections and law changes
Parking steams up locals- both Park District and City
Meadville in partnership with Andover and others, intend to stay in HP or at least Chicago; facilities still for sale
CHICAGO THEOL. SEMINARY/Milton Friedman Inst./Seminary Coop issues SEE MORE IN PRESERVATION HOT.
(A full assessment will be done before work starts)
Logan Center ready for May 12 groundbreaking
Burns expected to be appointed to succeed Toni, some think the election itself will be hotly contested.
Rumsey announces June 30 for 4th ward alderman
HPKCC key player in organizing two major informational seminars in the community;
HPKCC announces new head of its schools committee
Walgreen's adding beer and wine- big deal or not?
HPKCC releases structural study on Harper Theater-facade work underway.
More in Theater RFP page.
Anger over parking charge and machines in Lakefront parks boiling over, Ald. Hairston convenes meeting.

21st Century Artisans-- new incarnation of the Community Art Fair
SECC selects new director, new mission under study and initiatives under way
Toni wins primary big for County Board President

Vermilion selected for Harper Ct
-vetting starts
schools news

Historic African American literary and historic/architecturally important houses and library landmarked- see History and Preservation.
Doctors Hospital and Lab School Expansion- see in its page.

A news navigator: links to subject and topic pages in this website that expand on the news


Get breaking news on Hyde Park Herald's site, http://www.hpherald.com, give at g.piemo@hpherald.com.
Send to us at hpkcc@aol.com. Visit Neighborhood Links for the lively blog scene- newest Hyde Park News Blog, (note that this is in an unstable web domain)
http://hydeparknews.co.cc, send to tips@hydeparknews.co.cc. http://www.chicagotribune.com/breakingnews.

Seeking more, more diverse news?- visit links to the websites in our community, plus learn about a new grant opportunity to help develop new sources and means of delivery from Chicago Community Trust: our Neighborhood Links page.

Breaking:

ALERTS:

A young woman was reportedly shot Memorial Day c11 pm. near Museum of Science and Industry/lakefront. It was not certain late Tuesday whether the woman died, or was yet on life support. She was a recent graduate of NIU living in Calumet City. She and a companion had just turned away from a "bad situation" when Ms. Rogers was shot in the head. A male youth was also shot but in good condition.

Hyde Park loses lifetime anchors Hans Morsbach and Alice Chandler; Ray gains a new principal in Tatia Beckwith.

U of C President Robert Zimmer announced on April 18 that Ann Marie Lipinski has left the position of Vice President for Civic Engagement to head the Nieman Journalism Foundation at Harvard. No replacement or interim has been announced for this position that is pivotal for planning and action in Hyde Park.

In the Harper Theater/Herald Bldg., Five Guys restaurant-emporium will occupy the west half of the 53rd facade, New 400 Theaters will build a 5-screen movie house in the theater, and new tenants are being negotiated with or new uses sought for the upper part of the building. Need for art and artists spaces was acknowledged by Ms. Campbell at a Meeting of the HyPa alliance for arts and culture.
Across the street at 1451 Clarke's diner will open in a building just bought by U of C.
Whole Foods signed in May with Antheus to move into Village Center when that opens in 2014.

Businessman, activist, and curmudeon Hans Morsbach died in May 2011 at age 79.

Giordanos and holding companies have filed for bankruptcy mid February 2011. The restaurant stores are expected to stay open.

Shirley Newsome has been appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Toni Preckwinkle in the 4th Ward.

Will Provident close emergency care by ambulance? That was the decision of Bill Foley and the Cook County Health and Hospitals system. Mid January Cook Co. Board President persuaded the Health board to delay this a month until Feb. 15 2011 to consider area hospitals' accommodation of this-- especially after UC Medical Center refused to accept the ambulances.

HPKCC has been praised by the Herald for securing responses to seven questions from about half the candidates for alderman in the 4th and 5th Wards. The Herald will be publishing them, and so will the Conference. They are now online at hydepark.org (click here)

5-SCREEN THEATER COMING TO HARPER THEATER 53RD AND HARPER, UC ANNOUNCES. Forwarded by 1537 News Feb 2011. This is in addition to earlier announcement of Five Guys Hamburger, negotiations with other prospective tenants.
Learn more at the HYPA meeting March 2, 10 am 5226 S. Harper or the March 14 TIF 7 pm Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone.

New five-screen movie theater coming to 53rd Street
The University of Chicago is bringing The New 400 Theaters, an independent movie operator that will offer a mix of art, children's and wide-release films, to the soon-to-be renovated buildings at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue.

The 10,149-square-foot theater plan includes five screens with state-of-the-art digital projection. One screening room will have tables placed between the seats for future lunch and dinner options.

The New 400 Theaters plans to discount tickets for students, seniors and children. General-admission seating will be below market prices.

"The theater, along with other strategic revitalization efforts, will bring added value to the area. It is one more piece of our ongoing conversations with the City and the neighborhood to build Hyde Park as a key destination on the South Side of Chicago," said Susan Campbell, Associate Vice President of Civic Engagement.

The New 400 Theaters opened its first venue in Rogers Park in July 2009. That site, built in 1912 near Loyola University and formerly known as Village North, is one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the country.

Tony Fox, owner and operator of The New 400 Theaters, said the Hyde Park location was ideal due to its close proximity to the campus and the overall commitment from the community to upkeep its neighborhood.

"We are proud to bring our theater to Hyde Park, a place where people really care about their community," said Fox. "My passion is community service, and we hope to continue in the same tradition as we have done in Rogers Park -- to bring safe, reliable and sound entertainment to the area."

Fox said his business partner, Tom Klein, will serve as general manager in Hyde Park. Klein is also the general manager for The New 400 Theaters in Rogers Park.

He said they are interested in talking with Doc Films, the University student group that screens diverse films each quarter for students, faculty, staff and the community, to see if there are potential partnerships that could work in the new theater model.

The movie theater has a targeted opening date of fall 2012.

Crisis at Kozminski School?

According to the Herald, Kozminski LSC meets this Saturday, Jan. 15. But the time was not given. The school number iws 773 535-0980.

The LSC had a meeting and CPS presentation aka part shouting match, according to the Herald, last Thursday January 6. Leonard Moore (a 30+ year principal and chief area officer who is now an urban education consultant at DePaul) is ACTING principal and Bordelon is "indefinitely removed" do to an ongoing investigation into (Herald quoting Monique Bond) "based on allegations of improper oversight and reporting mechanisms of corporal punishment." The latter is realted tot he April 2009 removal of a security guard and music teacher for allegeldy beating students-- all still under investigation.

CPS sent a minimalist letter to parents, saying the principal was replace because of personnel issues, which certainly got parents' attention--they are naturally concerne about a mid-semester change just a few weeks before ISAT testing.

The Thursday meeting had a double agenda-- Ms. Coates made a presentation to parents on Kozminski's declining scores and probation, a presentation she said Bordelon had prevented her from making. The other agenda was the leadership change, but the two got mixed together, and went together in the change decision Coates sadi. Lots ot shouting ensued, including by the Ms. Chantelle Allen, LSC vice chair who said at parents that their focus hould be on preparing studenets, not on change in leaership-- the LSC is supporting CPS because that's the leadership is what's in place.
Mr. Moore said that only a week convinced him that the school needs lot of changes, well beyond scores avaing gone down from 65% meeting standards to 59%. Others defended the school as "not a disster school."

From the January 10, 2011 TIF meeting

Harper Court hitting stride. By Sam Cholke

Financing is nearly secured for the major redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center. The developers said they would be back in the neighborhood in the next two months to show updated building designs. "We're checking off milestones," said Dave Cocagne, president and CEO of Vermilion Development, the lead partner for the new office and retail complex.

Cogagne said a bank has agreed to to term sheet to finance the $114 million project. he said a hotel operator for the project would be announced in February. He said leases for 60 percent of the retail spaces are being finalized, but declined to name any tenants. "We're looking forward to getting a shovel in the ground by the end of the year," Cocagne said.

University: Theater building to be spared. By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago announced Jan. 10 it will renovate the exterior of the historic facade of the Harper Theater and has identified a tenant for a portion of the retail spaces fronting East 53rd Street.

"I think the rest of the building once renovated wil show well," Susan Campbell, associate vice president for civic engagement at the university, said at a meeting of the 53rd street tax increment financing district advisory council. For the past week, crews removed art installation from the storefronts and began cleaning up the interior of the entire structure at the corner of East 53rd Street and South Harper Avenue. Renovation of the facade is expected to begin in two weeks.

The university purchased the 13,00 square foot theater, office and retail spaced in 2003. In 2006, it hired Baum Realty and Brinshore Redevelopment to rehab the building as an office building with retail and restaurants. The university and the the two firms had a falling out in 2008 and the building has sat vacant until last year when the retail spaces began being used for art installations.

The spaces were cleared of their second-run of installations last week in preparation for the clean up. The university ha hired OKW Architects to lead the renovation and HSA Commercial Real Estate to manage the property.

Campbell said a lease has been sent out to a tenant for the retail space, which would be identified next week. She said no tenant has been found for the theater space and the university is considering splitting up the interior for multiple tenants.

Also at the TIF meeting, Antheus Capital said it would close next month on the purchase of a vacant lot at 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue. Peter Cassel, director of community development for Antheus, said the previous owner, L3 development and its investors, have turned over all community studies done when the site was slated for a high-rise residential building.

"I think it's most appropriately residential," Cassel said of Antheus' intentions for the site, adding that retail would likely be included to tie any development to surrounding retailers on either side of the Metra viaduct. The site will not be left as a vacant lot, he assured. "East Hyde Park could use more parking and that lot could work very well for parking if there's an extended holding period before development starts," he said. Cassel said Antheus has begun discussing ideas with neighbors, but rental housing was an appealing option."I don't hesitate to say the for-sale market remains very, very difficult," he said.


 

South East Chicago Commission announced on Nov. 1 its annual neighborhood beautification grants (up to 10,000 for nonprofit locations). Contact Wendy Walker Williams at SECC wendywilliams@uchicago.edu, 773 324-6926 or raymonde_secc@sbcglobal.net. Attendance at info session Jan. 6 required.
Check also with Harper Court Arts Council for its next round of grants for nonprofits.

The next regular TIF meeting is January 10 2011. 7 pm, Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone.
Annual report, ANTHEUS CAPITAL ON THE 53RD CORNELL SITE, and regular business.

Arnold Randall has left the U of C Civic Engagement to serve as Superintendent of the Cook County Forest Preserves.

At the July 12 53rd TIF council meeting, Vermilion presented updated Harper Court Area redevelopment concepts and financials and asked the TIF for $23.4 million of the $114 million cost of Phase I of Harper Court Area. More details, representations, and Q and A were held at a set of TIF and other meetings. At a special TIF meeting and presentation July 26, with plenty of time for questions, the full council voted to grant the request with proviso that the developer continue to consult the community.
Details of the July 12 presentation and questions (separate page). Harper Court homepage.

Alderman Preckwinkle decided to recommend to Mayor Daley that he appoint only a caretaker as alderman ahead of the February election. Meanwhile 11 have filed in the 4th Ward and 10 in the 5th. Preckwinkle has picked many heavy hitters in the city and local area to help with the Cook County transition. The Herald pushed again in a December 22 editorial for appointment of an interim, citing need for an on the ground knowledgeable person who can deal with city departments, especially if something goes wrong, especially with delicate developments.

Infrastructure work on Lake Park Avenue, particularly concrete bus pads, is complete.

Artistic, youth and disadvantaged needs, and African American culture and history icon Margaret Burroughs has died at 95. A public remembrance will be held in the new year.

For budget of 2011, City to account for TIFs in the budget, declare $180 M (really $478m) from $25 TIFs surplus and send it to the taxing bodies, and to merge Housing-Zoning-Planning into one department (zoning inspectors would be under Buildings. Hearing dates set. (the following is a release from Chicago Rehab Network)

Using a variety of strategies and cost-saving measures, Mayor Daley released the $6.1 billion balanced City budget yesterday. Most notable in this document is the inclusion of a new Fund 0B21 which details TIF administrative expenses and a list of each TIF District noted with its available balance and drawdowns--a measure which CRN has repeatedly called for in the budgeting process. [See 2011 Preliminary Budget Testimony]. As a critical part of the City's finances and operations, the inclusion of TIF in the city budget makes sense and we recognize this effort by the City to further increase transparency and accountability in city government.

Mayor Daley has proposed declaring a surplus on 25 TIF districts worth $180 million to help close the budget gap. Per State law, other taxing bodies are entitled to this surplus. The City's share is $38 million with the lion's share of $90 million to go to the Chicago Public Schools. This move also releases $15 million for Cook County, $12 million for the Park District and $6 million for City Colleges.

While the large budget deficit has deemed TIF as a necessary source of funds, we hope that this is a precedent that does not continue -- pulling those dollars into the City corporate fund makes them no longer available for neighborhood housing and economic development.

Another important change is the consolidation of the Department of Zoning and the Department of Community Development as part of cost-cutting and streamlining of city functions. The merger will form the new Department of Housing and Economic Development. Zoning inspectors will be placed under the Department of Buildings.

Departmental hearings will begin on Monday, October 18th. The Department of Housing and Economic Development hearing will be held on October 25th at 9:00 am at City Council Chambers. See the full schedule here.

A public hearing is set for November 3rd at 9:00 am at City Hall and the final budget vote will be held on November 17th.

Stay tuned for CRN's Full Budget Analysis and other budget updates. Contact CRN for more information at 312-663-3936 or visit www.chicagorehab.org

Hearing that affects TIFS: held July 7, and will come up again as soon as early August. There was a hearing on requiring 20% of TIF funds to be spent on affordable housing annually. Here are some details and one set of suggested alterations. Local groups such as Coalition for Equitable Community Development are examining the proposal. The proposal was held in committee.

The July 6 Sun-Times carries an editorial on the use of 20% of TIF funds for affordable housing. The editorial strongly endorses and gives reasons to recommend, but suggests a number of changes.

Note that the proposed ordinance is for 20% of total TIF money, NOT 20% in every TIF. Not said here is whether this is retroactive to all money in tifs when it goes into effect but it appears the transfers and requirement would be annual. Not said here is whether such units would have to be inside a TIF district. It would not be just for building new housing, but could also be for preserving or rehabbing existing housing for affordable or converting foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

Recommended changes by Sun-Times:

Reporting requirements said to be weak, esp. that the developers alone would verify family eligibility.

For rental half of apartments in each development would be for families earning 50 percent or less of area median (+$38,000 for family of 54) with 40% for families earning under 23% Sun-Times fears this would derail development or lead to projects that don't enhance property values (which is a main source of increment in the first place). ST would change the percentages to 30% and a bit under 40%.

Homeownership rules: Proposed is that 50 percent of for-sale units be for families making under $60,000. But this is the group that most heavily took the now mortgages in the bubble and then lost them. It might also raise costs to the point that financing could not be obtained. S-T does not suggest an alternative.

The proposal lacks a means to prevent the city form concentrating affordable developments in certain (challenged?) neighborhoods. At least some affordable development should go into TIFs in neighborhoods that are not "challenged" (read Hyde Park 53rd and Cottage Grove TIFs?)

Weeks that were- fall 2010

Mid-late October into November

Assaults - robberies by crowds of men on students, others south of the Midway and by 53rd and University/Greenwood.

Protests over lack of a South Side trauma center etc.

Controversy continued to swirl over plans for the present Chicago Theological Seminary buildings.

The Herald and others are pushing for more local support, resources and coordination for best schools. Meeting called for November 7 3 pm at Neigbborhood Club.

Jump starting continues for the community from festivals, pop up galleries and events, to proposals for various kinds of destinationing and marketing.

1537 News online paper-talk-events post gains traction.

Venues (though scattered) for both seniors and youth slowly gain footing and umph after Neighborhood Club changes focus.

Week of September 19

The TIF planning committee met and heard design concepts so far from Vermilion on Harper Court. There was as much criticism as support.

Jackson Park Advisory Council president Ross Petersen resigned citing park district policies, incompetence, and unwillingness or inability to back up persons including volunteers who encounter trouble or violence in the park. Here is the Herald interview in its Sept. 22 issue, by Sam Cholke

President of the Jackson Park Advisory Council Ross Petersen is fed up with the "incompetence" of the Chicago Park District and has cut all his connections tot eh park in protest. "At one time there were really competent people at the Park District - now they have no idea," Petersen said. "I feel the only recourse I have is to resign. I'm not into depressing myself anymore."

Petersen was president for the park's volunteer adviser council for nine [sic] years and has been involved as a member for 15 years. He said he is canceling all remaining workdays for volunteers at the park. Petersen complained that the Park District and its contractors are actively undermining the work of the volunteers. He said the Park District isn't maintaining saplings and bushes volunteers planted and invasive species volunteers worked hard to remove are being allowed to re-infest the park.

Petersen said the Park District and its contractors' own plantings are being so poorly done that the saplings and bushes will die within five years. "Not only are they digging a hole and pouring money in it, they're doing every five years.

Petersen said an incident where he was attacked in the park also contributed to his resignation. "I don't feel it's safe to continue working," he said. Last October, Petersen was struck in the back of the head with a baseball but while moving a trashcan. He said the same man who struck him has repeatedly harassed and threatened volunteers.

"I signed a pledge indicating that safety would be our first concern," Petersen said. "I'm not going to go out there and get my head busted in there again." Petersen said the police have been a firm presence in the park and did arrest the man who attacked him, though his attacker was later sentenced to parole.

"I'm just exasperated and the last straw was they [the Park District] didn't back me up in court," he said. "It's like watching a train wreck on a regular basis, adn I'm tired of watching these trains crash."

[The last sentence inaccurately says the current secretary, misidentified as vice president, would likely take over.]

Week of September 13 2010

At the TIF meeting widespread skepticism was expressed about how deeply the U of C practices either diversity or use of local businesses; there was some consternation that city bodies have approved Harper "plans" before TIF committee has seen them.

Week of September 6 2010:
MAYOR RICHARD M. DALEY ANNOUNCED SEPT. 7 THAT HE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION.

Week of August 30

University of Chicago Police procedures were criticized in a Independent Review Committee report on an incident at the Library February 2010.
"The UCD must make improving its investigative procedures a priority going forward," the Herald quotes. This was a situation, the report says, involving escalation until an arrest-- and a record for the arrestee-- is unavoidable. Recommendations are included, some of which are already being implemented.
Neighborhood Club change to youth focus largely praised, but concern remains about senior programs-- some being relocated.
A former Blue Gargoyle program's emulation at Chicago Childcare, GenTech camp and more show how agencies can gain traction despite recession.
New director for School of Dance has deep experience.
UC Charter high aims to show how Mayor Daley's extended hours computer learning can be done well.
HP Jazz Society damaged by hold on rezoning of Room 43 (owned by Norman Bolden, challenger to preferred successor to Ald. Preckwinkle).

Ald. Hairston announced in July 2010 that funding has been received to complete the rehabilitation of the 56th viaduct and to restore the "Spirit of Hyde Park" mural on the south side of the 57th St. viaduct.

The rehab as pseudo bridges of the streets crossing Midway Plaisance started at the end of July 2010.

Many residents suffered basement flooding in the rains of mid July 2010.

In the news: beach pollution/swim bans and ways to detect and reduce these. Visit about and how to find out if your beach is safe today. Several times this season for most south side beaches as heavy rains wash what's in the lakefront parks into the Lake.

Is Elm Park again on the block for conversion for parking for Kimbark Plaza-- said to be so by staff in 4th Ward Office. Would there really be a gain for the area? But neighbors are going ahead forming an Advisory Council to revitalize the park and forming a Neighborhood Watch. Details in Elm Park.

Closure, after the owner's death, of a currency exchange on 53rd popular especially with seniors has caused many people problems as $300,000 in orders were blocked. However, the owner of the Exchange at 1400 E. 47th is honoring the money orders (bring ID and copy of the canceled money order or notice of bounce) and will reopen the 53rd exchange in a few weeks.

Alderman Hairston called a public update meeting June 21 2010, 6:30) to show her and community support for Antheus/Silliman refined proposal and for city landmarking of the Shoreland Hotel (5440 South Shore) and its requested change to the planned development. Silliman seeks both to make the project viable. Repeated adjustments may not have satisfied all neighbors, but the Alderman (and community organizations that have weighed in) are reported to fell the positives far outweigh the negatives. The proposal is on the docket of the Commission July 1. HPKCC reiterated its support. The alderman also described her partial solution for the lot south of 55th St.

Antheus/MAC Properties has hooked up with Heartland Alliance for a part of its building maintenance crews (10 persons). This is due to the state's "Putting Illinois to Work" program. Antheus will train. The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce pointed Antheus to Heartland, which administers at least part of the state program. Not said is whether this for a term or whether the crew members will or may become MAC employees.

Safer child drop off and pick up being tried at end of Shoesmith school year 2010. (June 2-16) - limits traffic on 5oth St. to school drop off and pick up only for each 15 minute peak periods (morning 8:45-9 am). It will be one-directional to encourage kids to get out and into the car on the sidewalk side. Proper notices are being given. The test is cosponsored by the Kenwood Park Advisory Council. Said to be very successful.

Herald, June 2, 2010. By Daschell M. Phillips. The Kenwood Park Advisory Council and administrators from Shoesmith Elementary School have developed a new pick-up and drop-of system for parents. The new system will address the child safety and traffic congestion -- concerns the Hyde Park community has expressed for more than 40 years. Neighbors said on school days in the morning between 8;45 p.m. and 3 pm. the streets around Shoesmith, 1330 E. 50th St., are clogged with cars. Parents- many who are rushing to get to work or get other kids to different schools - pull up on 50th and 49th streets, which are both two-way streets, and let their children out of the cars. They said kids running across the street, parents stalling or double parking to make sure their children get in the building safely and community members trying to get around the traffic makes the streets surrounding the school, which is connected to Kenwood Park, chaotic and dangerous places. The Kenwood Park Advisory Council (KPAC) invited community members, Shoesmith administrators and the University of Chicago Police Department to a meeting last Wednesday to come up with an orderly way to handle school day traffic.

"I have seen so many bad drop offs it's shocking," said Ellen Rosenberg, wlho lives across from the school on 50th St. "And in teh afternoon its' a nightmare -- traffic is completely stopped." Julie Marie Lemon, vice president fo KPAC who lives across from the school on 49th street, said she's also seen some near-mishaps while watching children dodge traffic to get across the street to the school.

Long time Hyde Park residents Gary Ossewaarde and Margaret Kennedy said the community has been trying to solve the Shoesmith school traffic safety issue since the '70s, but they are hopeful that permanent resources will be put in place to make pick up and drop off a safe process.

Queenola Smith, sergeant with the University of Chicago (U. of C.) Police Department, said for two days she monitored traffic on 49th and 50th streets and noticed one main element missing from Shoesmith that schools such a Bret hart, Ray and the U. of C. Lab School possess. "They have volunteers and parents helping with traffic," said Smith, who regularly monitors Kenwood High School and Canter Middle school. She said teh schools also have crossing guards and "some have two or three depending on the streets the schools are near."

Patricia Watson, principal of Shoesmith, said that the school once had a crossing guard but the guard was cut from five days to three days then removed completely because she was told "the school did not have enough volume." Second District Crossing guard supervisor Dorothy Brown was unable to return calls by press time, but 21st District Crossing Guard Supervisor Linda Heart said evaluations of the number of students crossing the street and the amount of traffic on street surrounding the school must be done by a crossing guard supervisor and a police patrol division officer before a crossing guard is assigned to a school. Sabrina Gates, vice principal at Shoesmith, said after seeking advice from Bret Harte administrators, teh school reached out to teh U. of C. Police department and received temporary use of four, three-leg barricades that it plans to use to direct traffic during drop off and pick up.

The meeting concluded with the group deciding to block the north side of 50th street between Kimbark and Dorchester Avenues with barricades and have volunteers direct parents to drop their children off on the curb near the entrance of the school. The group designated the last three weeks of school June 2 through June 13 for a trial run of this process. During the summer months a committee will be assigned to look into obtaining permanent resources to direct school traffic on both 50th and 49th streets in the fall.

A partial budget only (Senate went home with no pension solution and likely gutting of schools despite some restorations) and only gimmicks are being thought of. Our schools are in deep crisis, with budget cuts threatening to undo all the efforts of the past several years. Students and teachers have been marching from the schools to the offices of elected officials. Visit School News. Editorials have been flying, and a side issue seems to be a feud between the Herald and Sen. Raoul, who defended his efforts on behalf of school funding in the May 26 Herald.
June 28: CPS AT THE END OF JUNE BACKED OFF 35/37 CLASS SIZE AND WENT BACK TO 2010 although high schools will still have to go from 31 to 33. Separately, Supt. Huberman wants the teachers to surrender this year's 4% raise (a third of the value of remaining deficit if the following happens). Huberman indicated CPS MIGHT get enough from the state board of ed "categorical" funding (such as special ed) to return to 28 per class for K-3, 4-8th to 31, and high school to go up "only" from 31 to 33 and full day Kindergarten may be restored. This would be from an additional $57 million plus $18 million in new cuts. For things to really get better, Gov. Quinn would have to sign a bill to pay the $352 it owes CPS and pay future bills on time.

July 1, Governor Quinn signed the partial budget and moved quickly to cut esp. mental health and developmental services while protecting only some school and preschool funding. According to the Sun-Times web version,

Gov. Quinn today approved a partial budget that slashes state spending by $1.4 billion.

Quinn, in signing portions of the budget for the 2011 fiscal year that begins today, cut spending on schools by $241 million. But he maintained current funding levels for general state aid, early childhood programs and special education.

The state’s Department of Human Services experienced the largest cuts of any state agency. In all, DHS will see a $312.6 million cut from the just ended 2010 fiscal year.

The bulk of those funds, $262.8 million, will come through the reduction or elimination of mental health and developmental disability programs that aren’t tied to Medicaid.

June, 2010. Vermillion Development and the University of Chicago say there are close to signing an agreement on redevelopment of Harper Court. "We've reached agreement on major deal points," the Herald quotes David Cocagne of Vermillion. One element still being determined is hotel plan. Recovery Zone designation is being sought and is a key, as is amount of UC will commit to space lease. Housing is on the back burner. Vermillion, U of C and city are expected to present at the July TIF meeting substantially revised plans that they will bring to the the city review process in the fall.

A meeting on developer's request/need for a traffic study on opening Harper Avenue and on Harper Ave. E. Hyde Park to 53rd was held by the TIF planning and development subcommittee and recommends a design engineering study of opening Harper Avenue and what that will entail
(contracted out by CDOT)-- regardless of Harper Court. $86,000 would come from TIF. It is apparently typical for such to come from outside the developer, but the developer will have to do the broader traffic and other impact studies of their development- and be driven in that by any studies the city has done. Consensus at the meeting was that this should be funded and should proceed on its own merits .

See more in Harper Court.

Affordable Housing: See Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD) July 2010 Newsletter.

Kenwood Assistant Principal Michael Boraz has been selected principal of Lincoln Park High School.

Missing person report filed April 29, 2010 (missing since afternoon April 28)

Woman Missing From Hyde Park CHICAGO (CBS) ? Click to enlarge1 of 1
Marcia Schulien, 48, is missing from the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Anyone with information is asked to call (312) 747-8385.
Chicago Police Dept. [Picture: contact the number above or per www.Chicagopolice.org.]


Police are looking for a missing woman last seen Wednesday in the South Side Hyde Park neighborhood.

Marcia Schulien, 48, is missing. She was last seen in the 5200 block of South Cornell Avenue in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

She is also known to frequent the 200 block of East Washington Street in suburban West Chicago.

Schulien is described as a Caucasian female, 5 feet, 8 inches and 140 pounds, with blonde hair, green eyes and a light complexion.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a dark blue T-shirt and a dark blue hoodie jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call Chicago Police Wentworth Area Special Victims Unit detectives, at (312) 747-8385.

Volunteer speakers are needed to motivate high school students and tell them how you reached your career or other dreams. June 15, 9:30-11:35 am, Kenwood Academy Decision of the Decade Career Fair. Contact ASAP Debra Reid at 773 535-1370 or dareid@cps.edu.

Dr. Wake et al's Hyde Park Animal Clinic has at last relocated to 1363 E. 53rd St. He thanked Sue and Paul Freehling and the University of Chicago (the latter his recent landlord, which paved the way for move in advance of reconstruction of Harper Court), particularly Jim Hennessy. All equipment is up to date, and next year HPAC will open an additional clinic for surgery and boarding near 71st and Stony Island.

June 14, the TIF Planning subcommittee supported funding a traffic study of reopening Harper EHP Blvd. to 53d. the full TIF voted it July 12.

Read UC President Zimmer's April 15 Strategic Update in UC Press Releases.

South East Chicago Commission, changing directions and with a new executive director, held a fine reception honoring long-serving executive director Bob Mason and former board members.

Depending on which way you look at it, seniors lucked out or again fail to pull their weight as a state Senate committee fails in April 2010 to pass return of seniors to half fare except those who qualify for circuit breaker tax relief.

Blackstone Library is starting Landmarking process.

Michael's Market is soon to open (early-mid June?) in the old Co-op store 47th and Kimbark. Some hard feelings were raised over the store's apparently not knowing it was committed to return to the North Kenwood-Oakland Comm. Conserv. Council with final plans and to talk with the city MOWD people downtown. The owners the store, similar to their other stores or to Pete's, say they will hire 60 to 80 mostly from the neighborhood. It's expected to have 42,000 sq. ft., and include a deli and bakery, and is seeking to lease the upper floor.

SIPAAA (school improvement planning for advancing academic achievement) is passed by the LSC in May 2010. This plan sets school goals and determines use of resources over a 2-year period.
SIPAA represents the voices of all contributing stakeholders- students, parents, teachers, community members -- all stakeholders are welcome.

Over the Kenwood SIPAAA, there were slightly different visions for dealing with the distressful budget circumstances, one stressing saving as many teacher positions as can be saved, the other saving essential support for students. With student support for the latter, the tilt is in favor of the latter, and in trusting the school administration. The SIPAAA, passed by the LSC, becomes a living document July 1, from that time adjustments are possible.

Herald coverage of the May 1 meeting and more, May 5, 2010. By Daschell M. Phillips

Funding allocation for teaching versus non-teaching positions was discussed Saturday during the Kenwood Academy High School local school council's School Improvement Plan for Advancing Academic Achievement (SIPAAA) budget town hall meeting last weekend.

Due to state budget cuts and Chicago Public Schools' $1 billion deficit, public schools must cut funding from $770 to $735 per child and boost class sizes to 35 students per class. CPS has also mandated Kenwood, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., to close 11 teaching positions. The school is expecting to lose three teachers to retirement but must chose which remaining positions it will close.

Elizabeth Kirby, principal at Kenwood, said no decisions have been made on which teachers will be cut. "The fact that we have to cut four or five is going to be hard for us next year," said Kirby, who said she highly anticipates that the state will give teh schools more money and the positions will be back open.

Community members were concerned with the local school council's or LSC, budgeting of a high number of security guards and other student support staff and wondered if that was at the expense of keeping teachers.

The SIPAAA budget, roughly $1.5 million of the school's $13 million budget, is set by the LSC each year. According to Kenwood's projected budget, $71,000 is spent per teacher, one in math and a new position this year for science; tow On-Track support staff members are paid $74,000 each a year and the security budget includes $288,0000 in salaries for six guards and a additional $83,000 for overtime and special events.

Cynthia Leung, a teacher at Kenwood, said, "It's important to protect and support teachers because if there are no teachers, there is no school. Kirby said that the cutting of the teaching positions were an order from Chicago Board of Education and "if we don't choose which positions get cut, the board will come in and choose who goes."

Aileen Gamez, assistant principal at Kenwood, said she is thankful that CPS called for teacher cuts and not for security cuts because that would not benefit the school's climate. Each year there are a multitude of reports of school violence, many resulting in the death of CPS students. So far, none of these incidents have involved Kenwood students. Kirby said the school wants to continue to take preventive measures.

Students and parents spoke out in support of the freshman and sophomore On-Track coordinators and Michelle Jackson, Inez Jones and teh postsecondary coach Julie Stanton to assure the community that these student services are as equally important as having teachers in the classrooms.

In response to the high dropout rate among CPS students, the Freshman On-Track program was developed to provide tutoring and study support and to help students understand the quarterly and class credit systems. The Sophomore On-Track program was recently added as a continued support targeting second year students, and the coach helps students with the college enrollment process.

Ashaki Howard, junior class president at Kenwood, said losing the On-Track coordinators goes against the school's goals, described in the motto "Our Mission is College." "If we don't have them, we don't have college," Howard said. So losing them is not an option."

Rakia Davis, sophomore at Kenwood, said she was a good student in the 7th and 8th grade at Kenwood Academy, but once she came to the high school, Jackson helped her to become an excellent student by motivating her to improve her attendance and turn in her homework, and Jones helped her by challenging her to take advance placement classes. Since working with them Davis said, "my GPA increased from a 3.0 to a 4.24."

Shannon Gray, parent of a sophomore and senior at Kenwood, said losing the On-Track programs would be a huge disservice to the school because many of the students wouldn't know about the post secondary opportunities available to them if it weren't for the On-track programs. Gray reminded the community that recent Kenwood graduate Derrius Quarles, who received national press recognition for being awarded over $1 million in college scholarships, wouldn't have done it without the help of the On-Track coordinators.

Sheila Wesonga, president of the parent advisory council (PAC) at Kenwood, said teh debate between supporting teachers versus non-teaching staff may be averted if teh LSC goes after the Title I funding they were supposed to receive from the state earlier this year. "I'm surprised to find that Kenwood did not get funding for teacher," Wesonga said. "The PAC received its funding, so it is my understanding that teh school wil get it for teachers." In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Illinois would receive $1.4 billion as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Kenwood was awarded Title I stabilization funding in which 95 percent would go to the school for teachers adn 1 would go to the PAC for parent involvement projects. PAC received its funding in February but, according to the LSC, Kenwood has not received its part of the funding. LSC President Ismail Turay said the LSC was not aware that they were supposed to receive the funding and would investigate.

Herald editorial may 5 2010- Sorting the facts at Kenwood

Rumors were flying across the neighborhood last week about Kenwood Academy's budget for teh upcoming year. Kenwood's principal, Elizabeth Kirby, had planned a Saturday town hall meeting to coincide with the local school council's completion of its portion of the school's budget last week. Talk on the street was of a swollen administrative budget and teacher layoffs.

The reality, it turns out, as is so often the case, is not quite in line with the gossip surrounding it. Two unrelated events coincided to create the appearance of a problem. CPS CEO Ron Huberman has instructed all Chicago public school principals to write budgets for the next year that assume 35 students per classroom in them, just like every other public school in Chicago. Meanwhile, the staff supported by the budget is clearly perceived by the dozens of students who attended Kirby's Saturday morning meeting as invaluable to their development. really, that should end the matter -- anyone working in teh schools who is beloved by students deserves the support of the community.

Kirby suspects Huberman's directive is political, that making the threat of packed classrooms will inspire parents and others to contact their political representatives and pressure them to get COS teh money it needs to close its budget gap. We are inclined to agree with her. The intersection of public education and politics is an ugly one. We might wish that using our young people to score political points would be beneath our elected and appointed officials, but that's just not the reality.

We applaud the parents and community members that are beating the drum to get their neighbors to support local public schools. These schools are a critical resource in our community, and everyone is affected when they are victimized by politicians and bureaucrats. Let's keep our eye on them.

Kirby has proven an effective principal in all sorts of ways. She's asking us to accept her judgment about how best to budget for the school and handle CPS politics. We have every reason to trust her. We should.


Alderman Preckwinkle says budget crisis not a reason to cut support at Kenwood (although others say keeping teachers first it the top priority and consolidating tasks should be tried, like fewer asst. principals not teaching could buy more teachers fort the buck).

Hyde Park Herald May 12 2010- by Ald. Preckwinkle

Everyone who is concerned about public education has watched the current round of budget cuts at the Chicago Public Schools with deep frustration. I share th is concern not just as an elected official but also as a former teacher and the grandmother of current CPS students.

Kenwood Academy is a particular focus of concern for me because of what the school has been able to accomplish for a large and diverse student population. Kenwood provides a fast track to academic excellence for students entering its Academic Center program. The test scores posted by the 'preppies', seventh and eighth graders, could not get any higher. (All of the Academic Center students meet or exceed state standards.) Students entering through this program go on to excel at Kenwood. Other students enter though the school magnet program that requires strong test scores. Still other students enter because they have graduated from the eighth grade and reside in teh attendance area.

Some students enter Kenwood insufficiently prepared for high school. But they still have a meaningful opportunity to succeed. Kenwood has put programs in place to retain male students, to encourage mid-tier students to tackle harder classes and to keep students on track to graduate.

Many of us have been disappointed by CPS' failure to lower class size. Many Hyde Parkers who choose private schools cite class size as a major factor in their decision. Ironically, class size is higher at some of our best performing elementary schools than it is at some of the lower performing. Traditionally, schools such a Ray and Murray do not qualify for the funding streams that have been used to lower class size in other schools. The large classes have not limited student achievement, but they are still a legitimate concern.

Looking at the high schools, we see that the teacher/student ratio is important and deeply affects teh quality of life for staff and students but it is not the only factor influencing student success. Regardless of class size we need effective teachers and effective support. Supports include professional development , clerks adn miscellaneous staff to help around the building with things like copying, help control students during periods and in the lunch room, extra security guards, freshman an sophomore on-track coordinators, computer leases, a post-secondary coach and college test consulting.

Using discretionary funding to retain teachers could improve the ratio by one or two. But would also wipe out all funding for the desperately needed supports for students and teachers. Completely removing all supports would do far more damage than allowing the ratio to increase slightly.

The current administration at Kenwood is committed to making the effects of the cuts as small as possible. Elizabeth Kirby is the principal of Kenwood Academy. Kenwood has more than 1,600 students. Nevertheless Ms. Kirby teaches African history. Mr. Boraz, an assistant principal, teaches an AVID section. I deeply respect the AVID program which, if properly implemented, provides mid-tier students with a clear path to academic achievement, the honor roll and college. The other assistant principals and certified staff are also prepared to pick up classes next year if need be.

Chicago is full of high schools with less than three hundred students whose administrators would never consider teaching a class. Kenwood's administration actually believes that teaching is the most important activity at a school and acts on that belief. They expect to be teaching more classes this fall if more funding does not come through.

Let's work together to support student achievement. You can help by supporting Kenwood's 1st Annual "Save Our Sports" Golf Outing at Joe Louis Golf Course in riverdale on June 12. For more information contact C.J. Rodgers at 7873 220-0238. Top

 

Meanwhile, the legislature passed a change to the makeup of LSCs, adding a non-teaching staffer and eliminating a parent majority.

LSC Elections winners 2010

As known April 27, more coming:

Kenwood.
Parent: Walter Miller, Chuck Smith, Ismail Turay, Rowena Hamer, Kenety Gee, Connie Straughter
Community: Camille Hamilton-Doyle, Rebecca Janowitz
Teacher: Adam Kubey, Elizabeth Brown

Bret Harte: longtime teacher rep. Debbie Hampton was not returned.

Murray: Community: Ed Keller (only candidate)

May 1 parking charges on the lakefront went into effect. People are steaming over this, and expressed this at a public meeting May 15. FEELINGS ARE RUNNING HIGH OVER THE CITY PARKING METER DEAL ALSO. At the May 2010 TIF meeting, it was proposed to seek $20,000 from LAZ parking to pay for snow removal around the machines.

Re the lot in 5500 South Shore: Ald. Hairston has bought and is distributing to neighbors 1st come 1st serve 100 stickers for free parking 7 pm-9 am in the lot. The PD has submitted a plan for lot rehab and signage. There are 100 spaces in the lot. Also, the Ald. has set aside 100 spaces daytime in the 63rd St. beach lot.

 

 

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Some bulletins and news. Gary Ossewaarde

2. Yesterday, Wednesday April 23, the scaffolding at the Theater bldg. was removed on the 53rd side (only). What this means, and the future of scaffolding on Harper is not known and was not revealed in an email from Jim Hennessy to Jay Ammerman. I will leave it to the observer as to whether the 53rd storefront looks any better without the scaffolding.

3. Latest updates on the lakefront parking meters from Ald. Hairston's office. Meter activation in the lot in front of the 5500 block of South Shore is delayed at least two weeks while they fix up and clean the lot-- extent of repairs at this time was not clear to the Ald's aide. THE APRIL 27 WARD MEETING WAS DEVOTED TO THE PARKING ISSUE AND A FLAP OVER LIQUOR LICENSES ON THE LAKEFRONT as per passed ordinance (they are for restaurants such as the 63rd coast guard station, not pushcarts). The 5th Ward meeting is Tuesday, April 27, 6 pm, Original Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 6614 S. Blackstone.

Here is an email from the Ald. Office:

"Hello Friends,

On April 15, I met with representatives from the parking meter company and the Chicago Park District to discuss impending charges for parking along the lakefront. We made some progress on this important issue, as I believe residents should not be charged for parking when they want to enjoy activities by Lake Michigan. However, if charges are inevitable, I advocated for a number of improvements to parking facilities to make the situation more equitable.

Requested Improvements:
Expanded lighting along the lakefront
Pothole repairs
Repainting parking spaces

The company has agreed to consider making improvements, and will not require residents to pay parking fees along the lakefront until an agreement for improvements has been reached. I remain committed to this issue, and will keep you updated on the situation.

Sincerely,

Leslie A. Hairston"

(Policing of parking violations and the 5500 So Sh lot have not yet been addressed.)

4. 4th Ward residents can bring their property tax info (PIN and a picture) for tax appeal to reps from the Assessors office Saturday, April 23, 11 am (regular ward meeting is at 10), Monumental Baptist, 729 E. Oakland, and Monday, April 26, 6 pm at Kenwood Academy.

5. Police have issued an appeal to residents to call 911 about illegal and rowdy parties-- there have been a lot recently, apparently.

6. Tomorrow, April 22--- E. Hyde Park will be shut to traffic in the morning due to helicopter lift to the Hyde Park Apts. bldg (not MAC properties). So the #6 and #X28 will use 53rd St. and Lake Park between 53rd and 51st.

7. The horrible advertising signs being nailed up around the neighborhood-- call ward offices, they are going around removing.

10. It's official. Drs Hospital will come down as part of lab school expansion, early learning center.

11. Those in the 4th ward at least can buy stickers for their cars at the 4th ward office, 4659 S. Cottage Grove on June 11 10 am-4 pm.


Meadville Theological School is in substantial agreement on partnership with Andover Newton Theological School, with intent to stay in Chicago or Hyde Park with the institutions combined organizationally and in partnership with other seminaries. The Hyde Park property remains for sale but no buyer has yet been found. The new approach, intended to save financially threatened seminaries nationwide, involves cross-faith seminary training.

Meanwhile, dispute over the replacement of Chicago Theological Seminary replacement with and renovation for Milton Friedman Institute have flared up again, including 1) gutting much of the structure likely under future plans from newly-appointed architect Ann Beha of Boston, including removal of at least part of the stained glass to (as naturally desired) the chapel of the under-construction CTS building south of the Midway negating the historic and classy religious character of the structure (Coolidge firm?) 2) alleged corporatization of the University and distortion of mission and funding in favor of those departments that bring in money, 3) governance and accountability issues. Other questions might be lack of public meetings etc. to a project adjacent to the university but (presumably) outside its planned development area, such non-communication possibly setting a new precedent.
Meanwhile, Seminary Co-op Bookstores is looking at its likely move to the current dorm and office building of CTS north of Robie House as an opportunity to redesign and become ADA accessible. More in Preservation Hot.

Report by Jack Spicer, Chair, Preservation Committee, Hyde Park Historical Society. (Distributed to the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference board June 3, 2010, after distribution at the June 3 public-recommendations hearing of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and interpolated with letter version in Hyde Park Herald June 16, 2010.

Chicago Theological Seminary Buildings
5757 S. University Avenue, north side of E. 58gh Street between S. Woodlawn and S. University Avenues, Directly west of the Robie House and north of Rockefeller Chapel and the Oriental Institute.

Herbert Riddle, Riddle and Riddle 1923-28

The University of Chicago has recently purchased the Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) buildings on the north side of 58th Street between Woodlawn and University avenues. The university intends to reuse these buildings and reuse them as the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.

There are three buildings in the group -- a small chapel at the northeast corner of 58th Street and University Avenue, a dormitory on Woodlawn Avenue facing the Robie House, and the main building on University Avenue where the Seminary Co-op Bookstore occupies the basement. A tower and bridge straddle the alley between the two main buildings. The buildings were designed by Herbert Riddle and built between 1923 and 1928. Riddle was teh architect for Mather Tower in the Loop, as well as many buildings in New York. He lived in Hyde Park at 5626 S. Woodlawn Ave. in a house he designed and built in 1912.

There are four immediate architectural concerns regarding the planned major renovation of these important [Orange Rated] historic buildings:

Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts holds a vibrant pageant for May 12 groundbreaking. More in UC Press Releases.

As in the May 5 Herald: By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago will break ground May 12 on the last project in a massive south campus expansion. The university will host as day of arts events to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $114 million Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts.

Artists at Midway Studios, 6016 S. Ingleside Ave, will open their workspaces to the public at 4:30 p.m. The artists will move out of their space int the historic Lorado Taft house and Midway Studios once teh new arts center is complete. The University has not yet determined how it will use the historic studios once vacant.

A reception and groundbreaking ceremony will follow at 5:30 p.m. at 60th Street and Ingleside Avenue across from Midway Studios.

The new arts center, scheduled to be completed by Spring 2012, is one of the last of 11 major south campus construction projects. The arts center is the largest of the new construction at 184,000 square feet, including an 11-story tower next to the Lorado Taft House. Crews will start on the tower first because of the care required of construction next to a historic landmark, according to Eric Eichler, project manager for teh arts center. Construction crews will monitor vibration levels both at the Taft house and in the adjoining neighborhood and will stop work if there is a danger of harming any structures, according to Eichler. The building will be constructed largely of cast concrete. "So much is concrete because of teh acoustical separation needs," Eichler said.

The new center will be home to the university's now-scattered arts, theater and music programs.

Turner Construction has been selected as the general contractor for teh project. Turner was also the contractor for the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery and the Booth School of Business. Turner wil not complete any of the work itself, but will subcontract all construction jobs, according to Eichler. The university has mandated that Turner subcontract 25 percent of the work to minority-owned business and 5 percent to women-owned businesses.

U of C Medical Center will be selling its dialysis center to DaVita, with some consolidation and moving. Meanwhile, Comer Children's Hospital has opened a new kid-friendly clinic .

Whether intentional or not, the news leaked that Ald. Preckwinkle (4th) intends to recommend current State Rep. Will Burns as her successor in City Council. If Toni wins the Cook County Board Presidency in November, sometime thereafter her successor would have a temporary appointment- the election is in Feb. 2011, a runoff if necessary in March or early April, with installation in April. Meanwhile, if Mr. Burns is selected and he has been re-elected in November, his position will be appointed to serve as much as two years. And, it's not over folks- others indicate they are running regardless... Thought to have their hats in the ring or getting ready to toss although it's far from petition or filing time: Al Bowden, Will Burns, George Rumsey (out there-- tell us your scoop on who else). Word is that Mr. Rumsey will announce in the June 30 Herald.

Here is the Herald April 14 2010 take (by Sam Cholke)

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said she has recommended state Rep. Will Burns (D-26) to the mayor to replace her in the City Council if she wins her bid for Cook County Board President. If she wins in the November election for Cook County Board president, it is at Mayor Richard M. Daley's discretion to appoint a successor until the next general election.

Preckwinkle said she was looking for someone who would be more than a steward of the 4th Ward seat until next year's aldermanic election. "Will is someone who I've held in high regard for a long time," Preckwinkle said on April12. "I think he's going to be a real asset."

Burns was elected state representative for the 26th District in late 2007 [?8] and is currently running unopposed to maintain th seat. Prior to his election as state representative, he was deputy chief of staff for Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. he earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and has resided in the ward since 1991.

"I want to see the development work that Toni has started continue," Burns said. "Alderman is where you have a real impact on development."

Burns declined to comment on next year's aldermanic election, but Preckwinkle said she was not considering recommending someone for the appointment who did not intend to pursue the post in the general election. "When you inherit a ward as I did that had so much vacant property you kind of have to think in decades," Preckwinkle said. "It takes a good while to accomplish anything."

Preckwinkle said she thinks Burns is the best person to see through longterm projects like the redevelopment of the former Michael Reese Hospital and the Harper Court Shopping Center. "Will is smart, talented and hard working," Preckwinkle said. "I have confidence in his judgment and work ethic."

Interest in the aldermanic seat was heated after Preckwinkle won th Democratic primary in February. In the first week after her victory, she said she had already turned down several potential successors. Preckwinkle said she will bring Burns' possible appointment tot he community in the coming months and will campaign for him during the next aldermanic election should those interested in the appointment decide to run. "I will do my best to discourage them from running," Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle will remain the 4th Ward Democratic committeeman and will continue to lead the 4th Ward Democratic Organization.

Burns declined to comment on how his state representative seat would be filled should he get the mayor's appointment. "I'm not clear how all this works out, but I don't take anything for granted," Burns said. "There are going to be some steps down the road, and I don't have a crystal ball." Burns said he has not yet been in contact with the mayor, but continues to meet with community members. "I've talked to some of the community stakeholders -- it's important to touch as many bases as possible," he said. Top

April 24 2010 Will Burns talked before the 4th Ward monthly meeting. Among his priorities: continued revitalization of neighborhoods, independence, opposition to privatization of city services he believes are inappropriate for privatization. Burns cites his experience working for then state sen. Obama and senate leader Emil Jones. In a column in the Herald, cited among accomplishments protecting funding for schools and services, reforms in state government including campaign finance (saying corporate money has to be gotten out of politics), the Urban Weatherization and jobs bill, wake-up to union apprenticeship programs on diversity, and incentives for non-violent 1st-time offenders sentencing to service

The Herald devoted its April 28 editorial to aldermanic succession. It called current Alderman Preckwinkle's remarks that she would discourage anyone other than Burns from running and lack of interest in the race and having a contest disturbing, citing Hyde Park's independent heritage. Anyone seeking public life should be regarded an asset, the Herald said, until proven otherwise.

____________________

The Census has come to Hyde Park to recruit, test and train people, principally to do the follow up in surrounding neighborhoods where the return rate is a as low as 50%. Office, under Josh Watkins, is in the UC Community Service Center, 5525 S. Ellis and in First Baptist, 935 E. 50th St. High rise buildings are a challenge. To learn the jobs and nearby testing sites, visit census.gov.

March 30, 2010, the firm of Klein and Hoffman, hired by the University, began simple facade repairs and evaluation of need for further facade work for the Herald and Theater buildings. It the latter is not too extensive and expensive, they will proceed to further work then remove the scaffolding, which was generally considered an eyesore.

HPKCC Organizes Condominium associations seminar with leading attorney. April 19 2010, Monday, 7 pm. The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Condos/Co-ops Plus Committee, the law firm Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, and the offices of Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) presents a Public Seminar on issues of importance to Association boards and owners, by Attorney John H. Bickley III. CONDOMINIUM AND HOMEOWERS ASSOCIATION LAW- A SPECIALIZED SEMINAR FOR BOARD MEMBERS.
TOPICS INCLUDE MAJOR CHANGES IN THE LAW FOR 2010 WHICH AFFECT CONDOMINIMUM ASSOCIATIONS, CHANGES IN ILINOIS BANKING/LENDING CRITERIA WHICH AFFECT THE ABILITY TO OBTAIN FINANCING FOR CONDOMINIUM UNITS IN 2010; COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENTS, AND ANY OTHER ISSUES RAISED BY THE PARTICIPANTS. EXTENSIVE Q & A. Come and learn what other association board members are doing to meet the GROWING CHALLENGES OF ASSOCIATION OPERATION.

Extensive handouts by Mr. Bickley and the law firm of Kovitz Shifron Nesbit available to attendees. $10 HPKCC members, $20 all others. At Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood. 773 288-8343, hpkcc@aol.com. Printable flyer with important additional information. Mr. Bickley can be contacted directly at 847-777-7301 or jbickley@ksnlaw.com, or visit www.ksnlaw.com.
This was an eye opener! A report will be posted in our Condos and Co-ops Plus page.

HPKCC, Older Women's League and five computer or internet related firms coordinated a safety seminar on internet safety.
April 24, Saturday, 1 pm- Keeping YOU and Your Computer Safe. On-Line Security, Viruses, Scams, Preventive Measures. For Professionals, Parents, Seniors.
Featured Speaker Charmaine Strong, Chicago Police Department Community Relations. Panel Discussion and Q and A with organizer personnel. Sponsors HPKCC, OWL Illinois. Organizers Hyde Park Systems (Richard Buchner), Computer Resource (George Rumsey), Wooded Isle Consulting (Charlie Havens), Tektite Group (Jean Pickering), Teffecx Web Design (Rod Sawyer). Kenwood Academy Little Theater, 5015 S. Blackstone. Contact rbuchner@hydeparksystems.com.
Another eye-opener!

and Older Women's League will hold a program on End of Life decisions and what is and isn't private about your health records- May 1, Saturday, 1 pm at 1st Unitarian, 5650 S. Woodlawn,

Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference picks Camille Hamilton-Doyle to head its Schools Committee. Hamilton-Doyle will continue to head the Community Safety Committee. The Schools Committee is one of the most active Conference committees. (Note that this announcement is a little premature and this is as prospective appointment since the HPKCC President elected in October appoints committee chairs, usually at the Board's first meeting of the year in October.)

Hyde Park Herald, April 14, 2010. By Daschell M. Phillips

Camille Hamilton-Doyle will become the new chairwoman of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, or HP-K CC, schools committee starting Oct. 201o. It is HP-K CC policy that board members serve two 3-year terms then take a year off and after the year decide if they want to run for office again. The term of service for current chairwoman, Nancy Baum, will expire, so she has to relinquish her spot on th board and any committees in which she serves as chair. [The latter is not accurate.]

Hamilton-Doyle, who has been a HydePark resident since age of 5, is a retired Illinois Bell employee, and a Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and Kenwood Academy High School staff member. She is currently a local school council member at Kenwood and is a member of several hyde Park organizations including the Hyde Park Kiwanis Club, University of Chicago Service League, 57th Street Children's Book Fair, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and a 4th Ward Democratic Organization volunteer. She also serves on the security and the 4th of July committees of the conference [4th of July is not a committee of the Conference-- its committee Nichols Park Advisory Council co-directs the 4th on 53rd].

Baum, who recommended Doyle for the position, said she might use her time away from the board to take some courses at the Oriental Institute, where she serves as a docent, and resume her piano lessons. Top

 

Walgreens seeks to return sales of beer and wine to four stores in area-- is this a big deal or not; are new licenses needed or not?

The Herald headlines in the April 7 2010 issue "Walgreens seeking liquor for four local stores." Which is true, but it may matter that, as one read's in the issue, it is beer and wine only, not hard liquor, that Walgreens seeks to bring back. Previously, when concerns were raised about behaviors allegedly associated with sales in at least some of these stores, it seemed to be more in relation to hard liquor sales, particularly small-package sales, and have varied from store to store. There have seldom been such allegations regarding stores in Hyde Park that sell been and wine only such as Treasure Island and indeed regarding stores that also sell hard liquor such as Binny's and Kimbark Liquors and Wine Store.

On the other hand, at least one local district of the Chicago Police Department is vigorously opposed to any alcohol sales return to the Walgreens; Alderman Preckwinkle is opposed but willing to talk about sales in the store on King Drive. Their specific reasoning was not specified in the article. Nor did the article explore whether plans are afoot to return beer and alcohol sales to Walgreens in the 3rd, 5th, or 20th Wards. Apparently some kind of permit or public hearings is necessary for the changes.

Also of interest is looking at this in light of retail options and selection in the neighborhood and retailing and customer demand changes, and what this may say about neighborhood changes. Walgreens' said it is responding to customer demand, presumably from market study and sales analysis and experience, particularly that people now want one-stops-- Clearly, the 55th Walgreens has added or expanded many lines including food and apparel, that either are of limited availability nearby or in other cases seek to compete directly with nearby stores such as Treasure Island. (Often, it appears, at cost to selection within departments-- and that might become marginally more apparent with addition of another department in a store where some aisles are rather narrow.) When the alcohol sales were originally removed, the reason given was that Walgreens was reconfiguring stores to in line not only with market studies but profit margins per lines-- citing particularly the need to expand its more profitable cosmetics section.

The four stores are at 1554 E. 55th St, 3405 S. King Dr., 1320 E. 47th St., and 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Here is the article:

A proposed plan to sell beer and wine by national retail chain Walgreens Drug stores in four locations in and around Hyde Park is facing stiff opposition from the local members of the Chicago Police Department as well as the powerful Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th).

"Walgreens is proposing to sell liquor again," said Genessa Lewis, commander for the 2nd District of the Chicago Police Department. "Let them know we don't want this. I've written them a letter to let them know the police department 100 percent doesn't want this."

A spokesman at Walgreen Drug Stores downplayed the move, saying the addition of beer and wine would be a modes one and is a response to customer demand. "We're responding to customer demand -- we've learned that our customers want more of a one-stop shopping experience... What we're talking about here is just beer and just wine -- we're looking at less than 2 percent of the total shelf space in our stores," said spokesman Robert Elfinger.

Preckwinkle, however, is opposed to the addition of alcohol to the other four locations, 1554 E. 55th St., 3405 s. King Dr., 1320 E. 47th St. and 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave., citing problems in the past when Walgreens sold liquor. "We have community issues that preclude us from having alcohol there," Preckwinkle said, adding that the only spot she would even begin to discuss adding alcohol was the King Drive location.

Preckwinkle's Chief of Staff Mae Wilson said the office had already taken steps to prevent the change. "We sent a letter already to the Department of Buildings asking them not to give any licenses to sell liquor to Walgreens," Wilson said.

Elfinger said the addition would not be the large liquor departments Walgreens had until the m id- '90s but instead would simply bed adding new product to the store. "What we're talking about today is a pretty limited selection but beer and wine," Elfinger said.

The city's liquor commission did not respond to Herald calls by press time.

_____________________

The Fair Trader on 55th St. is among businesses hoping to gain from City Council's declaration of Chicago as a Fair Trade City.

Harper Theater Structural Engineering survey and report released by HPKCC

SPAF (already a Committee of the Conference) in 2009joined in request to Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference and Hyde Park Historical Society asking they send letters to the University of Chicago requesting access to structural studies done on the condition of the Harper Theater/Herald buildings and undertake and contribute a small amount in addition to the funding by SPAF of a new structural study based on those for the former selected developer. (All done June 2009). Stearn-Joglekar Ltd., the firm that did an earlier assessment for the former UC-appointed developer was commissioned and The University of Chicago, owner of the buildings, was notified. The structural study was done in summer-fall 2009 and the document and conclusions shared with the University as of December 2009. (The firm was not given access to the structure for this study and told SPAF that this was not essential.) The University asked for time to absorb, indicating that under consideration is commissioning historic tuck pointers for masonry repairs (reputable firms were forwarded and the University is said to have accepted or at least taken bids), after which the scaffolding, of serious concern in the community, would likely be removed. And meanwhile, the University continues to pursue tenants for both buildings and holds open historic adaptation.

While the committee meeting with University representatives- Jay Ammerman, HPKCC President; Ruth Knack, Hyde Park Historical Society President; George Rumsey, immediate past president of HPKCC; a member of a leading historic restoration and adaptive reuse firm Gunny-Harboe PC, and principals of Stearn-Joglekar Ltd.- offered the option of a joint announcement with the University, the resolution was that key persons from the SPAF and affiliated team met with the Hyde Park Herald and the University lead spokesman Steve [Kloehn] commented on the record to the Herald, not about the study but about intent of the University, confirming that it is indeed undertaking facade repairs (which need only to be minor), looking to removing the scaffolding, and making every effort to find tenants and keep the buildings.

A major finding of Stearn-Joglekar is that additional floors could be supported in the theater structure, reducing need for its demolition.

Hyde Park Herald, February 17, 2010. Harper Theater OK: HP-K CC study finds the historic site sound

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, or HP-K CC, made public last week a document that rates the Harper Theater and its adjoining commercial and retail space "in sound structural condition."

"Routine maintenance is required for the exterior walls including tuck pointing of masonry walls and inspections and on-going repair of terra cotta decorative elements," according to Stearn-Joglekar Ltd. heads Howard C. Stearn and Milind R. Joglekar. Stearn, a licensed architect, and Joglekar, who has a doctorate in civil engineering, concluded, based upon their study of the buildings, that "the existing structure can be effectively renovated and... the existing structure is capable of supporting additional interior floors..." This last finding refers to the Harper Theater in particular, which some thought might have to be gutted to be adapted for use by a new entity other than a theater operator. Instead, stearn and Joglekar demonstrate in their report a technique whereby additional interior floors might be constructed.

While releasing this report to the Herald last week, HP-K CC representatives said they had also shared the report with representatives from the University of Chicago, or U. of C., the buildings' owner. While U. of C. spokesman Steve [Kloehn] declined to comment on the study, HP-K CC President Jay Ammerman describe the conversations as "encouraging." None of the HP-K CC representatives would divulge the names of the U. of C. officials they spoke to on the record. [divulge for the record the names of...]

[Kloehn] confirmed the study's conclusion that the only safety considerations on the exterior of the building were superficial and said the U. of C. was was looking for a company to repair the facade so as to remove scaffolding that has been wrapped around the property for months -- a source of alarm for many Hyde Parkers. Former HP-K CC President George Rumsey said he originally commissioned the report because the scaffolding had sent rumors of "imminent demolition" rippling through the community.

[Kloehn] said, in addition to the repairs, the university wanted to bring new tenants to the property. "We're doing everything we can to find tenants for that building," he said.

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Another trend in 2010- the big players cite increased rental demand and demand for living in Hyde Park. No word on whether rents are on the rise. But some smaller landlords say demand is down as perhaps soured condos create a shadow rental market and perhaps renters have more choices.

Feelings boil over over Lakefront parking machines, charges. Ald. Hairston convenes meeting April 15.

Regular parkers, park volunteers and event goers and presenters are upset; park councils and stewards worry about grass as parkers seek to evade paying. Alderman says promises broken and plans not conveyed. The "no exceptions" policy has caused inconveniences to say the least for park volunteers, birders etc. The two meetings were April 14 Park District Board and April 15 Ward-convened meeting 6:30 at Montgomery Place.

The overflow that could not get in the room was even more testy than those inside. Many reasons were set forth indicating why this is a bad idea for our parks and for high-density lakefront areas, especially impacting service workers for buildings and families who want to visit the lakefront, and special facilities that have large events. And people were not buying that paying to visit the lakefront is proper or that there are not other ways to meet shortfalls.

Herald, April 14, 2010.

Ald. Leslie hairston (5th) is declaring war on the Chicago Park District over parking meters being installed in the park's lots along the lakefront despite vocal protest of Hyde Parkers and others. "It's, 'citizens be damned -- we're going to do what we want when we want,'" Hairston said.

Hairston said letters and phone calls are coming in from all over the ward from residents who are shocked and confused about parking meters popping up in park district facilities along the lakefront. "Our residents have not had the opportunity ... to [know] even what the exact fees [are]," Hairston said.

The park district, however, says none of this is news. "The Chicago Park District announced the implementation of a pay-and-display parking system on Chicago's lakefront parkland in November of 2008, as part of the 2009 budget announcement," spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. "Since the original announcement in November 2008, the plan was widely publicized and received a great deal of press coverage. The Chicago Park District advertised a competitive bid process in search of managers of the pay-and-display parking system."

hairston said she is looking into reigning in the park district and their ability to charge residents for parking. Hairston said she is researching a way "we can take away some of the park district's ability to act unilaterally." Hairston says installing the meters "discourages people from using the parks."

Hyde Parker Richard Merton's letter to Hairston reflects the attitude of many Hyde Parkers about the meters. In his letter, Merton focuses on the parking lot abutting the entranceway to Promontory Point on 55th Street. "...I see no necessity to begin charging for parking in the 55th Street lot," the letter in part reads. "Doing so will only cause inconvenience and expense for people least able to afford it. I urge you to stand up for local residents and stop this."

Maxey-Faulkner sid the scope of the installation would include 4,000 parking spaces along the lakefront -- virtually every park district lakefront parking space. The revenue, Maxey-Faulkner said, wil be use to "support Chicago Park District parks." [At the meeting one question will be how much will do so and how much remains after the upfront funds were used to plug last year's deficit.]

[Picture caption:] "That's going to get out all th fun," says fisherman paul Allen as he watches employees of Horizon Contractors install pads and electrical wiring for new parking pay boxes in the Jackson Park parking lot on the south side of the Museum of Science and Industry lagoon on a recent Friday morning.

Herald says meters must go

The Chicago Park District, to the surprise and alarm of many Hyde Parkers, is in th process of installing parking meters in their lakefront lots. Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is rightly expressing dismay at this additional fee levied on park goers. We agree with her concern and urge the park district to reconsider this move.

Chicago's parks are a central part of the city's appeal and are unparalleled in their beauty and sweep. we are lucky enough to be surrounded by what is perhaps the centerpiece of this beautiful network: the elegant Jackson Park runs along our lakefront, just south of the majestic Promontory Point; the Midway Plaisance connects those landscapes to the sweeping Washington Park. All of these parks have fine pedigrees, having been designed by some of the world's finest landscape architects. They were designed as a symbol of the city's commitment to providing quality of life to all Chicagoans; no matter how dreary the work a resident performs to put a roof over his or her family and food on their table, everyone can visit the parks and recreate with their loved ones.

For years, the park district has been chipping away at that legacy, adding fees for programs and cutting away services at some park facilities, but it has always been possible to go to the parks and make your own fun for free.

No longer. Perhaps it is the security of a park district salary and position that has blinded officials to the consequences of their actions, but it is certainly the case that, for some families, having to pay to visit a park might cause them to think twice or rule out entirely the possibility fo a family excursion.

We urge the park district to revisit this decision, and we urge Hyde Parkers to let their voices be heard on this subject. Representatives will be in the neighborhood tomorrow.. Hyde Parkers can also drop in on today's Park District Board Meeting...

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Community Art Fair June 5-6 saved by Artisans 21 as '21st Century Artisans 'thanks to IRS expediting of petition

Hyde Park Herald, April 28, 2010. By Sam Cholke

Artisans 21 Gallery has started its own nonprofit, 21st Century Artisans, to keep the Hyde Park Community Art Fair alive. "The Community Art FAir had been a project of the Harper Court Arts Council [and before that of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, which was given the opportunity to resume its fiscal agency], but with their change of mission the art fair lost its sponsorship," said Pat Rosenzwieg, a volunteer who is helping the new nonprofit get on its feet.

The Hyde Park Community Art Fair is an arts and crafts fair that runs concurrently with the 57th Street Art Fair. The art fair will be June 5-6 this year. To be part of the City of Chicago's Neighborhood Festival Program, the organizers must be a nonprofit organization.

Rosenzwieg said a group of artists and volunteers at the Artisans 21 Gallery asked the Internal Revenue Service for an expedited hearing of its application to get set up in time for this year's art fair. The group became an official nonprofit one month ago.

Twenty-First Century Artisans will be an advocate for crafts in the neighborhood and at local schools, according to Rosenzwieg. The nonprofit is currently doing an assessment of available crafting options from the South Loop south to South Shore to find its niche in the South Side arts community. Once the group has identified its role in the arts community, 21st Century Artisans will hire a full-time director and seek city, state and foundation grants, according to Rosenzwieg. "Once we have an initiative, a clear view of what we want to do, it will be fully staffed, Rosenzwieg said. "It's not going to happen as just volunteers."

"In the meantime, we're doing some experimentation," Rosenzwieg said. The group hosted and art day for kids to make jewelry out of recycled materials earlier this month and will host a knitting group on April 25.

The nonprofit is a member of Hyde Park Alliance for arts and Culture and the South Side Arts Council.

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South East Chicago Commission selects planner as new Director, February 2010

From University of Chicago News Service

News Office Homepage
Experienced city planner to lead SECC as it broadens economic development scope February 9, 2010


Wendy Walker Williams, an experienced city planner who has worked on economic development projects on the South Side and throughout Chicago, has been named executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, one of the city’s most enduring community organizations. She begins on Monday, March 1.

Williams, a resident of the Grand Boulevard neighborhood, most recently worked as assistant commissioner in the Chicago Department of Community Development. Before that, she served as deputy director at Gallery 37, The Arts Matter, where she was responsible for the financial administration of a $6 million job-training program.

Williams comes to the SECC as the organization broadens its geographic scope and puts new focus on economic development. Founded in 1952 by the University of Chicago, the organization was created to enhance the quality of life in the Hyde Park–South Kenwood area by tracking crime, documenting city ordinance violations, and sharing information of public concern. Recently, the SECC has expanded its efforts to include the Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods.

Williams will work with a newly composed board of community stakeholders, business owners and residents from the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Chicago. Their mission is to identify, initiate and advance a set of common economic and community development priorities that will make these communities even more attractive places for residents to live, learn, work and play.

“The SECC is poised to serve as an ambassador,” said Williams. “The Organization also serves as a change agent within the area by bringing together individuals from the community who are dedicated to making these communities safe and prosperous.”

Williams succeeds long-time director Bob Mason, who now serves as Public Information Officer for the University of Chicago Police Department. During his 28 years of leadership, the SECC initiated programs such as the troubled-building initiative, a crime scene witness assistance program, a thorough analysis of area crime statistics and a regular inventory of commercial spaces in Hyde Park, monitoring the physical appearance of public spaces.

Shirley Newsome, SECC Board Chairperson, expressed her delight at having Williams aboard. “I am sure that Wendy will bring excitement, energy and expertise to our organization and help it to be a real asset to our communities,” Newsome said.


Hyde Park Herald February 17, 2010. U. of C. names new SECC head. By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago has named Wendy Williams, an assistant commissioner in the City's Department of Community Development, to head the South East Chicago Commission. The South East Chicago Commission, or SECC, was founded in 1952 by the university to track quality of life issues in Hyde Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Early in its life, the commission focused on real estate development during Urban Renewal. In it's more recent history, the commission has tracked crime patterns in Hyde Park and Kenwood.

As former director Bob Mason moves to the University of Chicago Police Department to continue the crime tracking he did for the SECC, the commission will likely turn its focus away from crime and back to other standard of living issues.

The board of the SECC is also currently being revamped to include more community members.

"It's an interesting time to work with an organization that is at a crossroads," Williams said during a Feb. 12 interview. Williams will leave the Department of Community Development March 1 to officially take over as director of the SECC. Prior to her current position, Williams worked for teh Chicago Housing authority, or CHA, with Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center founder Zenobia Johnson-Black during the turbulent early years of the Plan for Transformation, a program that resulted in the demolition of high-rise public housing buildings and a now-sputtering effort to replace them with mixed-income developments.

Susan Campbell, associate vice president for civic engagement at the university and a member of the SECC committee charged with hiring a director, said she met Williams at CHA and was impressed by her ability to manage emotionally charged public meetings. "I found her approach in meetings to be very thoughtful and often firm -- she's not a pushover," Campbell said. "She's also very respectful, which is a treat to have."

Williams, who now lives in Grand Boulevard, said she learned at CHA that dialog is a key to building trust an engagement in the community. "If we can't be perceived to deserve trust, we're going to have a problem," said Williams. She said "you just kind of know" when to move from deliberation to action on issues. She said she looks forward to starting the dialog in the commission's expanded area, which now includes Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn and Washington Park.

Campbell said the board will likely address a limited set of issues in the next year as it begins rebuilding trust in the community and determining its function in communities peppered with oversight boards. Williams said she's looking forward to "digging in" to the issues with community groups. "I'm a straight shooter - I'm just going to be really honest," she said.

 

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle won the February 2 2010 Democratic Primary for Cook County Board President with close to half the vote. The big next question is who is selected to replace her as 4th Ward Alderman (appointed by the Mayor).
In the only major local contests (other than judicial, not yet revealed), local congressmen were re elected and Jerry Butler was reelected for 3rd district County Board. Notable also are that there are Green as well as Republican challengers for many offices.

Murray wins right to restore 7th and 8th grades-- what does it mean for Canter and for a neighborhood schools vision? See in School News page.

Vermilion chosen to head up Harper Ct/53rd-Lake Park redevelopment- see in Harper and Development Hot Topics pages. Watch for HPKCC, other reactions. *******A major presentation was held and many questions answered at a special TIF meeting February 8. The plan is now referred to the Planning subcommittee for public review- MARCH 1 (moved from February 22), 6:30 PM HYDE PARK ART CENTER.

Shoreland renovation going forward- Ald. sends favorable letter and application filed. See in Shoreland.

It struck Feb. 7- major service cuts on CTA. Metra fares also rising.

The Op Shop will be back late March, in the former Hollywood Video, 15__ E. 53rd St.

SCHOOLS- Murray seeks to return 7th and 8th grade to the school. See in School News.
Kozminski, Revis and Shoesmith School were placed on academic probation in November 2009 for failure to make adequate yearly progress and for some for failure to meet the 95% daily attendance ratio. The stall out or worse is serious and means are being initiated to address at once attendance and (one gathers) gradually, progress. But the meaning of "probation" has changed since it meant on the slope to closure and cleanout and schools can be burned for normal wobble in statistics.
Senator Meeks seeks to end LSC powers, vast increase in charters and vouchers.

Back on the burner? Promontory Point dispute between Rep. Jackson and Chicago Park District over who pays for Point shore revetment feasibility study. Or is this finger-puffing? See in Point Latest.

Flu Alert updates. Visit http://news.uchicago.edu/btn/swineflu.php,
http://www.cdc.gov/travel, (updated CDC link:) http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/

People are needed to conduct the 2010 Census-- and few are applying from this area. These are paid positions. Re how to find testing etc. locations visit www.2010censusjobs.gov. How to apply: 1-866-861-2010. Also, if anyone knows places here that can be used for testing and training, call us for a contact at hpkcc@aol.com.

THE OLYMPIC BID WAS DENIED IN THE FIRST ROUND ON OCTOBER 2. PEOPLE WILL BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT REMAINS AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR CHICAGO'S AND SOUTH SIDE NEEDS NEXT.

Meadville may be leaving its buildings (but says it is unlikely to leave Chicago or suspend enrollment) due to shrinking resources and costly structures. It is in negotiation with Andover Newton Seminary for merger or partnership.

Parking meters are said to be undergoing changes-- are they sufficient? Really creating anger.

 

 

The News Navigator- links to subject and topic pages in this website that expand the news

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To University and Community and University Plans
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To UC Schools/Charter Schools initiatives.

 

Looking for the big picture on the neighborhood?

Navigate from Hot Topics and Community Issues homepage or from Site Contents.
Find HPKCC news and positions: HPKCC home. Site Contents.

Visit Tracking Community Trends pages for in depth discussions. Visit also Urban Renewal and the UR/neighborhood redevelopment Timeline and the topic resource pages linked in Home or in Neighborhood navigator.

Read
Neighborhood Profiles of Hyde Park-
what resonates or doesn't, what's missing? Alternatives?: Development and Policy. Track Trends.

Attend Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference forums and now classes (condo association issues, gardening!) on such topics as public transportation, community development, zoning reform, town and gown relations, parks issues, condos+ governance issues.
To what the Conference is doing.

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