Friday, December 7, 2007

Save Lincoln Square!

Yeah I know another part of the city, but worth looking at. Actually I want to hone in on this aspect of this story from the Sun-Times...
And the process is jamming up Nick Toma, who bought the burned-out historic-looking building next to Walgreens for a million bucks. He planned to fix it up -- rent out the storefront and sell four condos with two parking spots each.

"I buy nice building to preserve it and make it nice like old Chicago," Toma says in fractured English.

But he says Schulter's office told him there are plans to tear his property down, and refused to sign off on the permits he needs to fix up the place.

"I'm starving trying to pay the mortgage," he says. "I lose money because of alderman. It's a good building. I could have been done by now. I don't know what I'm going to do."

Schulter denied holding up Toma. In fact, Schulter says there is no development plan, yet. That's something that the community has to come up with and agree on before he even starts a search for a developer.

How that happens exactly is anyone's guess -- possibly over beers at Huettenbar?

But Schulter won't wait to create the acquisition list until there's a plan the community supports. The process has to start now because doing nothing might allow big-box stores to set up shop in the ward's quaint European village. So on Dec. 12, the City Council will probably approve it on Schulter's recommendation.

"There are concerns about government and trusting government," he says. "But it's trusting a person that's concerned about you, and is going out of his way to make sure the community goes in the right direction."
So what's the process...
In Mean Gene's 47th Ward, "the community has say-so in the future of the neighborhood," the ward boss says.

Well, about 70 neighbors marched to Schulter's office in the bitter cold Wednesday night following a community meeting to say they're not so pleased with the Lincoln Square strategic plan the alderman is pushing.

It's the only plan anyone has seen. And it calls for giving the city authority to condemn buildings near Western and Lawrence, call in the bulldozers and give the cleared lots to big-money developers who will put up six-story condo buildings with storefronts and indoor parking garages.

"Those are just hypothetical ideas," Schulter says.

So, why did building owners in the 4800 block of Western get notified that their properties were put on a city acquisition list that's now set to get the City Council's rubber stamp on Wednesday?

"It's the very beginning of a lengthy process," Schulter says.
Well it looks linke Gene Schulter is listening. Yeah he's the alderman who represents these property owned who aren't happy with the idea that the city can just take their land. I hope they don't and I hope that Mr. Toma can make a return on his property!

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