LP Chamber hosts annual event
by Felicia Dechter
Published: January 26, 2006
The Lincoln Park Community Shelter and the intersection of Fullerton, Elston and Damen avenues were among the hot issues touched on by Aldermen Vi Daley, D-43rd, and Ted Matlak, D-32nd, at last week's State of the Ward Luncheon.
The event, sponsored by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, was held Jan. 19 at the Adobo Grill in Old Town.
Daley spoke about the role of Lincoln Parkers in the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina aftermath. "I am very proud of the effort that was put forward here in our community to help those around the world who were struck by these tragedies," she said.
Daley recognized Bruce Longanecker, a past chamber chairman and owner of the Lincoln Park Market, for his, "remarkable humanitarian spirit."
Longanecker initiated a relief program and Lincoln Parkers adopted the community of North Gulfport, Mississippi. Longanecker headed there in December with a load of supplies and Christmas toys for 1,000 children, Daley said.
Daley spoke about the controversy over the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, "a highly recognized program that has helped many people who are homeless to become self-sustaining, responsible citizens." She anticipates the shelter hearing with the city's Zoning Board of Appeals will continue for several more months, and welcomes suggestions in the matter.
Daley also worked with the chamber on the consideration of new Special Service Areas (SSAs) in the ward. An SSA is a special district where an additional levy on the property tax bill is collected to fund programs for properties in the district.
"In 2001, we successfully established an SSA for Clark Street," she said. "That SSA has been successful in promoting and maintaining Clark Street in order to appeal to residents who patronize the businesses on the street." This year, she said, will see the finish of the Clark Street Streetscape Project.
She added that an SSA for Lincoln Avenue from Webster to Diversey was also recently established. "The SSA will insure consistent maintenance throughout the district," she said.
The retail landmark district of Armitage and Halsted has continued to be successful, the alderman also said, and has attracted the attention of many national retailers. This has prompted the Armitage Merchants to raise the issue of Formula Businesses, a term applied to chain stores that have uniform practices, products and designs.
Cities like San Francisco have adopted regulations that force these types of businesses to modify their stores to adapt to the local community, she said, adding that this type of regulation has not yet been implemented in Chicago.
The Chicago Clean Air Ordinance went into effect for most businesses, Daley told the crowd. Hundreds of the ward's businesses and residents gave their opinions to her. "That input was very beneficial in the development of my position," she said.
The Brown Line CTA improvement project has also been underway. Those affected in the 43rd Ward are Sedgwick, Armitage, Fullerton and Diversey stations, with Diversey being the only one closed for a significant period of time. Daley has worked with the CTA to develop programs to help businesses that may be negatively affected, she said.
Last year, the alderman introduced an ordinance to extend the sidewalk cafe season from March 1st to November 30th. Businesses should get their sidewalk cafe applications in as soon as possible.
The alderman also announced the Lincoln Park Community Art Initiative's fifth year, a program where sculptures are installed throughout the neighborhood. She is currently requesting submissions from artists for consideration.
Daley said she is also "anxiously waiting," to hear from Children's Memorial on its future plans. "They have been a very good neighbor, and we hope that they remain an active member in our neighborhood," she said.
Alderman Ted Matlak, D-32nd then briefly took the podium. Matlak said businesses were helped by the redoing of the city's zoning code, and working on capital improvements, which he and Daley helped to accomplish. He also said this summer will see work begin on the North Avenue bridge, which will stay open with a cut-around bridge while a new, four-lane, $20 million bridge goes up.
Matlak also said there will be new traffic lights at Marcey and Courtland, Fremont and North Avenue, and an additional light at Kingsbury and North Avenue, privately-funded by Circuit City, "These should help traffic flow," Matlak said, adding that those intersections currently are bottlenecks. He also said hopefully, when the Division Street bridge is fixed, traffic will also be alleviated.
Matlak said he will put a tunnel under two lanes at Fullerton, Elston and Damen, and that 40 percent of traffic in the area on Fullerton is between the highway and the lake. He named the project as one 6,000 critical projects in the country, and said that federal and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) would help fund the project.