I have just read your articles about improving the South Marion area [Could South Marion redo get the fast track? News, Oct. 13]. You should know I just moved into the area from River Forest. My wife and I bought a condo at Soho on South Boulevard and Home over a year ago when the project was only on paper. Unfortunately, she died this past summer, although she saw it after it was finished. We had experience in renovation and in improving neighborhoods. While there isn’t space in a letter to the editor to review our experience in that field, we felt the neighborhood had a lot to offer and would keep on improving.

As for Soho, itself, the building is well built, but suffers from the mortgage drought like all others. But I want to direct my thinking to improving the business district. What the stores south of the viaduct need is more foot traffic. There are two ways to get it. One is to look for new stores that are destination retailers who have the ability to pull in customers, and not rely on passersby. If I were in charge, I would do a survey of the commuter traffic on the el and the train. Where do they come from? From how far? I have two shots a day to sell them, one in the morning, and one in the evening. What would appeal to them? Can I make some changes that would expand the number of commuters? Can I bring some in from towns farther away?

Finally, I would explore the possibility of providing more commuter parking. Why is there a mostly vacant parking lot on the corner of South Boulevard and Harlem? Why can’t it be used for commuters? My daughter lives in a suburb of New York City. She pays $35 a month to park at the commuter lot. She had to wait three years to get her spot. If you erected a commuter parking garage on the vacant lot and charged commuter parking rates, you could also use it for neighborhood parking for shopping on the weekends. I suspect such a facility could pay for itself.

Ferdinand Isserman
Oak Park

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