53rd Street Vision Workshop December 8 2007
Excerpts from final Report in vision53.org plus tally of votes
Presented in simplified format by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Development Committee, and its website hydepark.org.
p 1. 53rd St. and TIF district within the city and within Hyde Park-Kenwood
Close to 200 Hyde Park and South Side residents packed the gymnasium of Canter Middle School on December 8 2007 for a half-day workshop to discuss future development of 53rd Street, the community's primary commercial business corridor and the development of a vibrant shopping hub for the mid-south side of Chicago.
The 53rd Vision Workshop was sponsored by 4th Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and a coalition of local institutional and community organizations including the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council, the University of Chicago, the Hyde Pak Chamber of Commerce, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Council, Interfaith Open Communities, and the South East Chicago Commission (SECC).
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) provided technical assistance and worked with a local committee to plan the workshop. In addition, CMAP facilitated the workshop and introduced the community to the use of electronic had held key pad devices that allowed participants to see the group's responses in "real time".
The objectives of the workshop were to:
1. Seek input from the community to help guide future development on 53rd Street.
2. Develop a set of priorities to share with the 53rd sTreet TIF Council, local elected officials and te Department of Planning & Development to utilize as they develop the RFP for Harper Court, make decisions regarding the use of TIF resources and consider development proposals for the TIF district.
3. Understand the types of places and activities the community wants in the 53rd Street business district.
This document summarizes the responses that individuals note on worksheets. Please not that not everyone completed every worksheet or answered every question.
The information gleaned from the worksheets is discussed in this document.
[Streamed along bottom of this and next two pages are overhead view of 53rd St. from Woodlawn to S. Hyde Park Blvd.]
The actual responses collected at the event are available at www.vision53.org. The days' polling revealed several themes for the future of 53rd Street. But there was a universal desire for:
- A much greater range of retail options
- More restaurants and entertainment venues, including a first run movie theatre, cultural venues and nightlife.
- Infill development with retail on the ground floor and office or residential above
- A visually clean, welcoming and attractive environment
Organizers held the workshop in the Canter School cafeteria. The room had 15 table set for groups of10. Every participant received a table assignment and an electronic key pad. Each table had a facilitator. Organizers recruited facilitators in advance. CMAP provided an hour of training to facilitators prior to the workshop.
After an overview of the day, participants completed a 'warm up' exercise called, "Who's in the room?" utilizing the key pad devices to find out the demographics of the participants.
Each group then completed a table exercise where individuals answered questions about "where they live, work, shop, and play," what they value about Hyde Park, and why do they leave Hyde Park. The responses to these questions are summarized later in this document. The facilitator then asked a few groups to share responses.
Mr. Sam Assefa, Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development gave a presentation called, The Benefits of Density. This presentation is available at www.vision53.org.
Then everyone in each group answered the following questions on worksheets:
- What should the street look like?
- What should go in the buildings?
- What should the buildings look like?
- What activities will people engage in?
Facilitators led brief discussions of each question and noted responses to each question on a flip chart. Then each group utilized colored dots to vote for their top choices. This was repeated for each question. When all the groups completed the exercise, CMAP staff then reviewed the top choices from each group, summarized and reduced the responses to each question to a list of ten choices. Then the entire group used the keypad devices to identify their first choice form the listed options. This exercise was repeated, to identify people's second choice by eliminating the 'winner' as an option in the next vote. The results were visible to the group instantaneously.
What do you value about Hyde Park?
Respondents consistently indicated that the aspects of Hyde Park they valued most were the:
- Diversity of the community -Remarks centered on the diversity of people in the neighborhood.
- Strong sense of community -Typical comments included: "the neighborhood feeling", active neighborhood, family friendly, stable, urban neighborhood with a small town feel, and "nice people who don't move". "It is a real community where people know each other."
61% of workshop attendees have lived or worked in Hyde Park over 10 years, including 43% who had lived or worked in Hyde Park for over 20 years! These high rates of tenure in the neighborhood contribute to the sense of community that people value. These numbers indicate the stability of the neighborhood and suggest a level of satisfaction with living in Hyde Park. These were typically followed by mentions of many of the community's assets:
- Parks and lakefronts
- Cultural and educational institutions (U of C, MSI, etc)
Participants also noted a smattering of additional attributes like: location, transportation and convenience, walkability, quality of architecture and housing, and mix of commercial and retail services.
Pedestrian-friendly - Over 60% of workshop attendees indicated during the "live" polling that they do not use their car to get around the neighborhood and consistently expressed a desire for a pedestrian and bike friendly community.
[From pie chart: Over 20 years 43%. 11-20 years 19%, 6-10 years 10%, 2-5 years 12%, less than 2 years 9%, do not live or work here 8%.]
What can't you do in Hyde Park?
- Shop - There was no question here. Over 40% of respondents mentioned shopping of one type or another, with "apparel" shopping specifically mentioned the most frequently as the activity one could not do in Hyde Park.
- Eat, drink and be merry or entertainment: Entertainment is defined broadly here and includes: going to the movies ,dining out, having a beer, and additional recreational activities. The lack of a first run movie theater was mentioned the most as the form of entertainment unavailable in Hyde Park. There were also requests for a greater variety of restaurants, including what some people referred to as "date" restaurants.
What should 53rd Street look like?
Participants' individual answers to this question clustered into the following categories:
- Green! - A desire for tree-lined streets and abundant landscaping - as much of the year as possible. There were some specific mentions regarding Nichols Park including suggestions regarding improved accessibility from 53rd Street and providing seating areas closer to the street. Neighborhood parks, open space and the Lakefront are highly valued assets to participants.
- Busy and active, with lots of choices! - People expressed a desire for a vibrant street life, lots of different activities, outdoor cafes, community gathering spaces, mixed use buildings, "more buildings, less vacant lots", more shops, more restaurants, more housing, space for offices and business services, diversity, shops with broad appeal. Participants indicated a longing to have options to choose from.
- Attractive and inviting! - Attendees expressed the importance of physical improvements and elements designed to create an attractive and inviting environment. Comments pertained to the public elements like the trees, sidewalks and lighting, and also to the storefronts, window displays, building maintenance and quality of architecture,
People identified amenities to support and encourage a "pedestrian" friendly environment like wide sidewalks, brick pavers, lighting, and outdoor cafes.
Participants repeatedly expressed a desire for attractive storefronts, interesting window displays and well maintained buildings.
- Convenient and easy to get around - Workshop participants noted the importance of improving circulation patterns and for the need for adequate parking, although preferably above, below or behind buildings. Comments also mentioned needs for directional signage and way finding and increased sensitivity to the accessibility needs of the community, particularly as it ages. There were suggestions for trolleys, elimination of traffic on 53rd st., and opening of Harper Avenue.
[From the pie chart: Mixed use buildings 24%, Variety of retail 24%, Green with trees and landscaped 15%, Visually clean and attractive 13%, Sidewalk cafes 7%, Stores close to the curb 5%, Off street parking in the rear 5%, Upper floor residential 4%, Buildings in good repair 2f%, Green al year round 1%.]
What should go into th buildings?
Participants emphasized their desire or mixed-use development; retail on the ground floor with office or residential above, throughout the business district. Specifically people mentioned an interest in more restaurants including suggestions for more outdoor cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, ice cream and suchi.
Participants provided numerous comments about the overall business mix Some people simply stated the desire for more shops and a greater diversity of shops, while others gave specifics regarding the type of merchandise they wanted. First and foremost in terms of specific retail desired is apparel and shoes (including resale and discount). As mentioned earlier, apparel shopping was also cited specifically as something participants cannot do in Hyde Park. Attendees expressed preference for locally owned and independently owned businesses.
Participants stated an interest in more entertainment options including suggestions for comedy and dance clubs, movie theatre and other cultural venues and options to foster more activity throughout the day and night.
Attendees also noted that they valued the convenience of having doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc located in the community's prime shopping district.
[From the pie chart: Mixed use retail & residential 53%, Unique shops and specialty stores 18%, 24 hour activities and late night options 10%, Trader Joes 5%, Small-scale entertainment 4%, 3% Higher density retail, Clothing stores 3%. Mixed income housing 3%, Mix of national chains 1%, Restaurants 1%.]
What should the buildings look like?
People stressed that building should be of good quality, design and well maintained, and had a strong desire for all buildings to be compatible with the neighborhood character and scale. In this context people specifically mentioned the use od brick and limestone, and a mix of styles, both old and new, was important. Specifically 44% ranked "a mixture of historical and well designed modern buildings" as a priority.
Building heights -The individual written comments and workshop discussions reflected a wide range of views on this topic, with some preferring low-rises, others mid, and some high-rises.
Later in the workshop, meeting facilitators provided definitions for low-rise (1-3 stories) and mid-rise (3-12 stories) and then asked participants to indicate via the electronic keypad devices whether they would accept a mid-rise building somewhere in the 53rd St. district. Approximately 63% said yes, 26% said no and 11% said unsure.
[From the pie chart: Mixture of historical and well designed modern buildings 44%, Mixed use 17%, Height limitations 8%, Continued use of traditional buildings 7%, Underground and off-street parking 7%, 3-4 story tall buildings 6%, Patios atriums and balconies 4%, Rooftop gardens 3%, No visible security gates 2%, Retail 1%.]
What activities will people engage in?
A range of activities that participants would expect to see on 53rd Street were shopping, dining, socializing, living, working, playing, walking etc. In other words, people would like 53rd Street to become a lifestyle destination that served as the community's 'downtown' and offered an array of activities and choices for people.
[From the pie chart: Shopping 40%, Nightlife (bars, dancing, movies, etc.) 12%, Interactive entertainment (music/poetry/art) 10%, Eating 9%, Recreational entertainment options 8%, Personal use-walking-churches-sitting 7%, Youth programs and activities 6%, People interacting 5%, Residential living incl. dormitories 2%, Groups meeting in town square 1%.]
Comments and feedback
Participants were given an opportunity to provide feedback and comments for the organizers. There were a total of 70 comment/feedback sheets. Most included comments like the ones below:
"Had a wonderful time sharing ideas"
"Great work getting people to event"
"Great working with neighbors"
"Enjoyable, energizing event"
"Wonderful opportunity to voice" within an appropriate venue
"Uplifting vision of the community"
"Felt I contributed to the meeting by voting (first time)"
There were six critical comments that generally pertained to the last question, lack of transparency and a perception there was a hidden agenda.
Suggestions - There were additional comments that reflected further thoughts on a range of topics and attitudes.
- Progress: People wanted to know what are next steps? People want to see something happen. Some voiced concerns regarding the potential for piecemeal development. Others expressed interest in seeing an overall development plan. Audience demographics - People noted and recognized the need for more African Americans and young people to accurately reflect the demographics of the community. For example:
"Hyde Park Kenwood is part of the South Side; whole demographics are rather different from people attending the meeting. Even if the neighborhood becomes whiter or richer we should not strive to increase our island status. We need to consider the greater south side as well as our own few blocks. I want to see 53rd st. as welcoming to all people."
- Issues that were not discussed sufficiently: transportation, parking, environment and economic viability of proposals. Some requested a more in-depth look at density specifically in terms of Hyde Park.
- Concerns about the viability of small independent businesses.
- Promote change!
Specific comments about the event agenda and logistics included:
- Well planned
- Great exercise
- Groups lost focus
- Noisy environment; hard to hear.
- Tables and benches uncomfortable
- Great food [Pizza Capri)
- Mixed reactions to slide show--some really liked, some didn't
- Voting methodology--some duplicates within lists
Appendix: Remaining Keypad Polling Charts
Age: 50-59 25%, 60-69 20%, 40-49 17%, 30-39 15%, 70 or better 12%, 20-29 8%, Under 20 3%
Gender: F 59%, M 41%
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian 64%, African American 23%, all others incl. decline to answer 13%
Connection to Hyde Park: Comb of live-work-bus-play 61%, Live 27%, Work 4%, Shop-eat-play 3%, Business 2%, Student 2%
Zip: 60615 68%, 60637 18%, 60653 4%, 60649 2%, others 8%
Do you live in a... Single family home 35%, multi 4 plus 24%, High-rise apartment bldg. 17%, other 13%
How do you get around Hyde Park? Walk 54%, Personal car 31%, bike 7%, bus 2%, Don't live here 6%
How do you get to work? 29%, Combination 28%, Walk 13, CTA train 8?%, Bike 6%, Metra 5%, Bus 4%, Carpool 2%
How did you get to the workshop? [It was a cold day]. Walk 46%, Personal car 31%, Bike 2%, Combination 2%, Bus 1%
List of sponsors and participants
Tally of Votes at the December 8, 2007 53rd Street Vision Workshop at Canter School, attended by over 150 residents. Cosponsored by Ald. Preckwinkle, 53rd TIF, City of Chicago, and CMAP official planning agency as well as several community organizations. Courtesy of Irene Sherr, Community Counsel.
|Question #||Choice #||Correct Answer||All Participants|
|Have you ever lied to your mother?|
|1||I have never lied to my mother||16||13.8%|
|5||Too many times to count!||40||34.5%|
|What is your gender?|
|What is your age?|
|7||70 or better||14||12.1%|
|What is your racial or ethnic background?|
|1||African American / Black||27||23.3%|
|3||Caucasian / White||74||63.8%|
|4||Native American / Alaska Native||0||0.0%|
|5||Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander||0||0.0%|
|6||Hispanic / Latino||2||1.7%|
|8||Other racial background||1||0.9%|
|9||Decline to answer||4||3.4%|
|What is your zip code?|
|How long have you lived or
worked in Hyde Park?
|1||Less than 2 years||11||9.3%|
|2||2 5 years||14||11.9%|
|3||6 10 years||12||10.2%|
|4||11 20 years||21||17.8%|
|5||Over 20 years||51||43.2%|
|6||I do not live or work here||9||7.6%|
|What is your connection to Hyde Park?|
|1||I live here||33||27.0%|
|2||I work here||5||4.1%|
|3||I am a student||2||1.6%|
|4||I am a business owner||2||1.6%|
|5||I come here to shop, eat, play||4||3.3%|
|6||A combination of the above||75||61.5%|
|7||None of the above||1||0.8%|
|How do you get to work?|
|8||Combination of the above||31||28.2%|
|9||None of the above||7||6.4%|
|How do you get around the neighborhood?|
|7||I don t live in Hyde Park||7||5.9%|
|How did you get here today?|
|8||A combination of the above||2||1.7%|
|Do you live in a:|
|2||Two or three flat||13||10.9%|
|3||Multi-family home (four or more)||28||23.5%|
|4||High-rise apartment building||20||16.8%|
|5||None of the above||16||13.4%|
|Which statement is true?|
|1||The image on the right is more dense||25||22.3%|
|2||The image on the left is more dense||34||30.4%|
|3||They have a similar density||53||47.3%|
|Which block has the highest density?|
|What should the street look like (1st Choice)?|
|1||Green with trees & landscaped||16||15.5%|
|2||Visually clean & attractive||13||12.6%|
|3||Upper floor residential||4||3.9%|
|4||Off-street parking (in the rear)||5||4.9%|
|6||Green all year round||1||1.0%|
|7||Buildings in good repair||2||1.9%|
|8||Variety of retail||25||24.3%|
|9||Mixed use buildings||25||24.3%|
|10||Stores close to the curb||5||4.9%|
|What should the street look like (2nd Choice)?|
|1||Green with trees & landscaped||23||20.9%|
|2||Visually clean & attractive||35||31.8%|
|3||Upper floor residential||7||6.4%|
|4||Off-street parking (in the rear)||23||20.9%|
|6||Green all year round||0||0.0%|
|7||Buildings in good repair||5||4.5%|
|8||Variety of retail||0||0.0%|
|9||Mixed use buildings||1||0.9%|
|10||Stores close to the curb||8||7.3%|
|What should go into the buildings (1st Choice)?|
|1||Mixed income housing||3||2.8%|
|2||Mixed use retail & residential||57||53.3%|
|3||Higher density retail||3||2.8%|
|4||24-hour activities and late night options||11||10.3%|
|5||Unique shops and specialty stores||19||17.8%|
|10||Mix of national chains||1||0.9%|
|What should go into the buildings (2nd Choice)?|
|1||Mixed income housing||7||6.3%|
|2||Mixed use retail & residential||1||0.9%|
|3||Higher density retail||7||6.3%|
|4||24-hour activities and late night options||21||18.9%|
|5||Unique shops and specialty stores||37||33.3%|
|10||Mix of national chains||6||5.4%|
|What should the buildings look like (1st Choice)?|
|1||Continued use of traditional buildings||8||7.3%|
|3||Mixed use (retail on ground, office/residential above)||19||17.4%|
|4||Underground and off-street parking||8||7.3%|
|5||Roof top gardens||3||2.8%|
|6||Mixture of historical and well designed modern buildings||48||44.0%|
|7||Patios, atriums and balconies||4||3.7%|
|8||3 4 story tall buildings||7||6.4%|
|9||No visible security gates or shutters||2||1.8%|
|What should the buildings look like (2nd Choice)?|
|1||Continued use of existing buildings||4||3.8%|
|3||Mixed use (retail on ground, office/residential above)||43||40.6%|
|4||Underground and off-street parking||23||21.7%|
|5||Roof top gardens||2||1.9%|
|6||Mixture of historical and well designed modern buildings||0||0.0%|
|7||Patios, atriums and balconies||8||7.5%|
|8||3 4 story tall buildings||9||8.5%|
|9||No visible security gates or shutters||2||1.9%|
|What activities will people engage in (1st Choice)?|
|1||Personal use, walking, churches, sitting around||7||6.7%|
|3||Recreational entertainment options||9||8.6%|
|4||Interactive entertainment (music/poetry/art)||11||10.5%|
|5||Residential living (including dormitories)||2||1.9%|
|7||Groups meeting in town square||1||1.0%|
|8||Nightlife (bars, dancing, movies, etc.)||13||12.4%|
|10||Youth programs and activities||6||5.7%|
|What activities will people engage in (2nd Choice)?|
|1||Personal use, walking, churches, sitting around||4||3.7%|
|3||Recreational entertainment options||6||5.6%|
|4||Interactive entertainment (music/poetry/art)||9||8.4%|
|5||Residential living (including dormitories)||8||7.5%|
|7||Groups meeting in town square||4||3.7%|
|8||Nightlife (bars, dancing, movies, etc.)||39||36.4%|
|10||Youth programs and activities||5||4.7%|
|Would you be willing to accept a mid-rise building (8-10 stories) somewhere in the 53rd Street TIF District?|