Short-sighted on North Ave.

Opinion: Editorials

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Last week we wrote about the future of North Avenue. The two-mile stretch will never again be all retail and offices, we said. Mixing in new residential is essential and we cited a proposal for an upscale 80-unit apartment complex on an expansive site in Galewood.

This week, caving to citizen pressure, Ald. Chris Taliaferro said he would turn down the project. This is a mistake, based on unfounded fears from residents. And it sends a bad signal to prospective investors about this sad sack of a street. 

Reader Comments

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Tom Drebenstedt from Chicago  

Posted: November 2nd, 2017 9:34 AM

Multiple open meetings in Ward 29 were held to gather input from Ward residents on this proposal. The Ward's Galewood Business Development Committee (of which I co-chair) was formed earlier this year to evaluate proposals such as this in addition to evaluating Galewood's commercial district. Our work is in progress. I disagree with the "sad sack" comment. All commercial strips in all cities, even villages such as Oak Park, need to change due to the rapidly changing retail/service industry environment. It will require many, many hours of dedicated volunteer efforts working with governmental agencies to be the change.

William Smiljanich from Chicago  

Posted: November 1st, 2017 8:46 PM

I disagree with your characterization of Alderman Taliaferro caving in to citizen pressure. While the alderman has ultimate say over all zoning change decisions, he ceded this power over to the democratic process. Ultimately, we, the citizens, made the decision that this was not the right development for North Avenue. This is our important first step in articulating our rubric for the planning, development, design, and implementation of our dreams for North Avenue, Harlem Ave, and Grand Avenue. Everyone now knows with clarity, we lead, not developers. Our alderman has let us know that, unequivocally. This is important win for the citizenry of Galewood, we have been reeling after a string of local development decisions that completely went the opposite of what the community wanted. We have been fatigued and have felt defeated. Ultimately, this decision gives us a renewed sense that we can shape local development. This win gives us confidence to go into the comprenhsive planning process for North Avenue and the old Sears site with power and vision for our future.

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: November 1st, 2017 8:00 PM

Let's remember that The North Avenue District also has several strengths, including many fine medical-related offices, restaurants and other businesses. Five were nominated for OPRF Chamber of Commerce Spotlight awards, and Dr. Mary Ann Bender's Advanced Physical Medicine won for outstanding customer experience. The district's traffic volume is an asset as well as a challenge. The neighborhoods on either side of North Avenue--diverse, middle class, well-maintained and safe?"are assets as well.

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