Monday, March 18, 2013

Sun-Times: Mayor’s ‘strategic vision’ for seven neighborhoods

Recently Uptown Update took a look at recent plans Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made for seven neighborhoods around the city. Of course UU had something to say because these plans involved the Uptown neighborhood.

Today we look at communities on the south side that includes Englewood and Pullman which will be our focus. Of course we can provide an honorable mention to the Bronzeville neighborhood.
A “permanent farmer’s market” that could rival Seattle’s Pike’s Market. The nation’s longest protected bike lane. An Uptown Music District. A pedestrian bridge over Lake Shore Drive at 35th Street. An elevated, boardwalk bike trail at the Drive’s north end.

Those are just some of the ideas that could become a reality, thanks to a $3 billion plan that shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking Daniel Burnham’s, “make no small plans” mantra to heart.

Emanuel has identified seven geographic areas brimming with either development or promise — Bronzeville, the Eisenhower Corridor, Englewood, Little Village, Pullman, Uptown and Rogers Park — and targeted those “Opportunity Planning Areas” for the City Hall equivalent of a full-court press.

With a combined, $2.65 billion in private sector and university projects on the drawing board, Emanuel wants to pump an additional $350 million in city money into those areas to accelerate the progress.

The city’s contribution would come in the form of federal, state, Park District and city land and transportation funds, as well as general obligation bonds and tax-increment-financing (TIF) districts.

“Usually, we’ll put in a train station. We’ll pave a road. We’ll put [in] some streetscape. And that was it. This is a more nuanced, coordinated effort … to make a series of investments in neighborhoods in a strategic vision,” Emanuel said in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
Here's what's said about Englewood & Pullman:

ENGLEWOOD: City Hall wants to belatedly build around the $254 million Kennedy-King College and its Washburne Culinary Institute. City land would be converted into at least three more urban agriculture sites. TIF funding would be used to attract commercial development to a city-owned site kitty-corner from the college on the northwest corner of 63rd and Halsted.

In between the “new farms,” as Mooney put it, there are plans to convert two unused rail spurs — on 49th Street and between 58th and 59th Streets — into “elevated” bike trails.

“These could be used as a way to spur redevelopment in Englewood similar to what’s going on with the Bloomingdale Trail on the North Side,” [Housing and Economic Development Commissioner Andy] Mooney said.
PULLMAN: Local Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) fought for years to get a Wal-Mart Supercenter at 720 E. 111th St. Now, the city hopes to use that Pullman Park development as a catalyst for development. Plans include: pursuing a national park designation for the Pullman National Register District; resurfacing Corliss Ave.; rehabilitating the Pullman Wheelworks Apartments; developing a “live-work” space for artists in North Pullman, and marketing the residential and historical cultural assets of Pullman. 
Here's hoping these plans will come to fruition. Also more was said about Englewood but it was earlier than the neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown:
In Englewood, you have Kennedy-King. It’s becoming the center for hospitality and culinary. But, there’s a lot of open land. So, we’re gonna be investing a lot in urban agriculture that … takes advantage of Kennedy-King’s strength. In Bronzeville, we’re having the Gospel Fest that’s gonna be down there now on a regular basis. There’s a cultural element. We’re talking about marketing it as the ‘New Harlem,’” Emanuel said.
I was confused at first, is Englewood the "new Harlem" or is Bronzeville? I do like the idea of RAGE activist Aysha Butler who refers to Englewood as the "Brooklyn of Chicago". Let's see how these plans will pan out in the future.

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