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"What's Right and What's Wrong with Hyde Park-Kenwood?"

A 'Conference in Action' Public Discussion October 19, 2005 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club

This page is presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website www.hydepark.org. Join the Conference: support and participate in our work. (Ask for a copy of the Autumn Reporter.)
1513 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615. 773 288-8343. hpkcc@aol.com.
President George Rumsey

This page is in progress. Also, expect expanded reports and an action White Paper in the future.

Special thanks to HPKCC board members Irene Freelain, Joanne Howard, Trish Morse, Gary Ossewaarde, M.L. Rantala, and James Withrow for their help and participation.

From the Autumn 2005 Conference Reporter

On October 19, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference hosted a "public discussion" on the question "What's Right and What's Wrong with Hyde Park-Kenwood?" Three dozen interested participants attended the workshop, including Alderman Hairston, Alderman Preckwinkle, and State Senator Raoul.

Participants were divided into five groups, each group sharing a table that was identified by a color. Participants at each table discussed three questions and came up with three consensus answers for each question. The meeting was moderated by James Withrow, and responses were tallied by M.L. Rantala (both vice-presidents of HPKCC.) The three questions posed to participants were:

  1. What about Hyde Park-Kenwood would you like to see maintained and not lost?
  2. What would you like to see changed in Hyde Park-Kenwood?
  3. What should the HPKCC be doing? What are the important issues that the Conference needs to be addressing?

One frequently mentioned positive feature was the diversity and character of the neighborhood. The most common suggestion for improvement was the need for better commercial choices (more businesses, better incentives). The main suggestion for the Conference was to provide more information to the community. Each table's responses were posted for the entire group to review; the full list is reported.

At the end of the session, participants filled out an evaluation in which they were asked to rate the meeting; 90% stated they liked the format. Participants were also asked to list other concerns they have that did not make it off their table. The results of the evaluations are shown.


What's Right and What's Wrong with Hyde Park? A public discussion sponsored by HPKCC

1. What about Hyde Park-Kenwood would you like to see maintained and not lost?

Table 1 (Black)

Table 2 (Purple)

Table 3 (Green)

Table 4 (Blue)

Table 5 (Red)

2. What would you like to see changed in Hyde Park-Kenwood?

Table 1 (Black)

Table 2 (Purple)

Table 3 (Green)

Table 4 (Blue)

Table 5 (Red)

3. What should HPKCC be doing? What are the important issues the Conference needs to be addressing?

Table 1 (Black)

Table 2 (Purple)

Table 3 (Green)

Table 4 (Blue)

Table 5 (Red)

Additional Feedback from Participant Evaluations

1. Do you like the format of this discussion?

Yes 26 89.7%
No 2 6.9%
No answer 1 3.4%

Why?

Initially skeptical, I saw the value of communicating with others to obtain a consensual identification of areas of strength and weakness in Hyde Park/Kenwood.

Very interactive if someone wanted. They could make their voice heard.

It was much easier to discuss among small groups with facilitated questions rather than a large group open forum.

I didn't expect this to be a forum for the continuation of the HPKCC.

It as organized and focused. Everyone got to speak and give their perspectives in a way that was efficient and productive.

By moving into groups, every attendee can have their say, discussions can happen.

People talked with each other; had to make choices.

Like the ability to discuss issues with others.

Good discussion

vs I would like a little discussion.

You are doing a great job.

Only as an introduction.

This was NOT a discussion. I was a gathering to list pros/cons of the community.

Being able to discuss issues, concerns, and so on, and have these points shared--and something come of these points--a.k.a. a "white paper" to be shared with legislators, aldermen, an so on.

Small group discussion works, but no time to explain posted issues to other groups.

(1) Promotes discussion; (2) avoids deteriorating to gripe session.

Not enough time is both good and bad-ice thaws quickly--ideas generate fast and lead to others--problem is follow up/results--how to summarize--next steps, conclusions.

(1) Good questions; (2) encourage(s) discussion; (3) promotes diverse opinions--prevents dominance by one group or person.

You can remain anonymous or not if you wish.

Work to get a broader cross-section--e.g., leadership from Chamber, SECC, interfaith and other active community groups. It was great to have aldermen and State Sen. Raoul.

It was very structured. Everyone got a chance to make their concerns voiced in small groups and then shared in large groups. I was very impressed.

It was not a 'gripefest.' We ended on a positive note with concrete ideas for action. I also liked the small groups because they gave us a chance to really discuss.

Because you'll begin to change Hyde Park's reputation.


2. How did you find out about this meeting?

5 Website
7 HPKCC Reporter
21 HP Herald
4 Co-op Evergreen
4 Posters and flyers
6 Word of mouth
7 Other

3. What other issues affecting Hyde Park-Kenwood do you feel strongly about that were not presented in tonight's discussion"

SAFETY (6)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING (5)

DENSITY (5)

TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING (9)

PARKS (6)

UNIVERSITY (2)

SCHOOLS AND TEENAGERS (7)

COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT (7)

OTHER COMMENTS (7)

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By Gary Ossewaarde, not from the Reporter:


Breakdown by topics

Responses from “What’s Right, What’s Wrong” discussion,
by committee or mission focus--note duplication/overlap. GMO 12/11/05


Development-density-preservation-affordability

Like:
· Table 2 Character
· Table 3 Character
· Table 5 Variety of housing

Change:
· Table 1 Retention of businesses
· Table 2 Commercial development (hotel, movie theater, notions-on appropriate streets
· Table 3 Entertainment for older children and adults
· Table 3 More Affordable Housing
· Table 3 Variety of stores
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public space….cleaner business district
· Table 4 Lack of business incentives
· Table 5 More small businesses
Conference should:
· Table 5 Have more development/preservation forums

Individual comments-other issues not presented
AFFORDABLE HOUSING (5)
· Stronger emphasis on affordable housing and displacement of poor
· Affordability
· Affordable Housing
· Landlord and home owners should receive breaks on water bills
· Combating odious (onerous?) ordinances for high rises (unwarranted masonry inspection soon after major construction).

DENSITY (5 of 6- Noise is a quality issue)
· Too much density
· Continue to fight for low-rise zoning—Our community doesn’t need to be a south side Sheridan Road
· Keep “Doctor’s Hospital” (and low density—no high rise).
· HP must decide how much density this community can absorb w/o undergoing major personality change—very important and imminent decision(s) for very near future
COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT (2 of 7)
· Entertainment for adults 25+
· More variety of restaurants


Parks, recreation, beautification
Keep
· Table 1 Save the Point and the Southside lakefront
· Table 2 Parks
· Table 3 Maintain parks and beaches
· Table 4 The Point

Change
· Table 1 Increase early evening activities for teens and adults, make sure they can get there safely
· (? Table 3 Entertainment for older children and adults)

Comments
PARKS (6)
· Permitting loud rock music in Jackson and Washington Park at private and public functions
· Park District should look into re-establishing basketball at Farmers Field and at the east send of 54th Street
· More (crime?) prevention needed in parks
· Need a dog park
· Combating noisy festivities in parks near residential areas
· Landscaping to beautify each block


Safety
Change
· Table 1 Increase early evening activities for teens and adults and make sure they can get there safely.
· Table 1 Police courts and ? in schools and community
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public spaces, e.g., no bike riding on sidewalks, no panhandling….

Conference should
· Table 2 Community outreach/WhistleStop

Comments
SAFETY (6)
· Crime
· Crime
· Safety, better lighting
· Crime and safety in West Hyde Park
· Drug issues
· Parents and children trained in Neighborhood Watch

PARKS (1 of 6)
· More (crime?) prevention needed in parks
SCHOOLS AND TEENAGERS(possibly 4 of 6)
· control of high school students who are “acting our.”
· Noisy, foul-mouthed teenagers who have no sense of shame
· HP/Kenwood students who are arrested have to participate in major community service activities.
· ? Reorganize (which) school boundary

Schools, teens
Change
· Table 1 Police courts and (?) in schools and community
· Table 2. More local kids at Kenwood High School
· Table 4. Youth involvement

Comments
SCHOOLS AND TEENAGERS (7)
· …I really believe that Kenwood Academy High School should be a “magnet” school. A high school that sits in the Hyde Park Kenwood community should be the best in the city of Chicago.
· Lack of youth involvement/embracement
· Control of the high school students who are “acting out”
· How to engage Kenwood Academy
· Noisy, foul-mouthed teenagers who have no sense of shame
· HP/Kenwood children who are arrested have to participate in major community service activities.
· Reorganize (?) school boundary.

COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT (1 of 7)
· ….the sad state of Blackstone Library…didn’t make it to the list on the wall.

Transportation, parking
Change
· Table 2 Paratransit and coordinated transportation
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public spaces, e.g., no bike riding on sidewalks…
· Table 5 Better transportation at night

Comments
TRANSPORTATION (9)
· Transportation within HP
· Parking issues, street cleaning
· Parking difficulties
· Need cab service
· Parking
· What happened to taxi cab service?
· More parking
· Double-parking should be immediately punished by (towing, fines)
· 52-54 Lake Park Parking Lot (what about it?)


Quality of life, character of community, “broken windows,” involvement/engagement
Like
· Table 1 Involved and responsible leadership and neighbors
· Table 1 Community involvement, concern, and communication
· Table 2 Character of neighborhood
· Table 3 Maintain character of neighborhood
· Table 3 Maintain diversity
· Table 4 Public debate
· Table 4 Diversity
· Table 5 Ethnic diversity and Interfaith Council

Change
· Table 1 increase early evening activities for teens and adults, make sure t hey can get there safely
· Table 2 Commercial improvement
· Table 3 Entertainment for older children and adults
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public spaces, e.g., no bike riding on sidewalks, no panhandling, cleaner business district (count as 3?)
· Table 4 Youth involvement
· Table 5 Better communication of what’s available (a process issue?)
· Table 5 Better transportation at night

Comments (Most of what’s in Safety, Affordable, Density, Transportation, Parks, Schools are really quality of life issues.)
COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT (7)
· Entertainment for adults 25+
· More variety of restaurants
· Filth
· Lack of community-wide pride
· A forum/training session on how to be a good neighbor: --Keep your front/alley clean;--What to do/how to respond if you see a crime; --Curb your dog.
OTHER
· ? Lack of alderperson(s) taking reins (if means in general rather than this mtg.)
· Addressing racism and classism
· …too many Hyde Parkers are snobs about some stuff and choose to ignore important issues.
· Umbrella calendar needed
· (Gestalt: organizations like HPKCC, University not engaged and pushing, doing)

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