In the not-too-distant past, a joint effort by Chicago and Oak Park produced a North Avenue revitalization plan. Oak Park made progress with several small residential developments. Mayor Emanuel promised a library on North Avenue. Seritage, aka Sears, executives met with the community about a planned development on the Sears property. They promised to listen to the local homeowners.
Was this a smoke-and-mirrors illusion? I don’t know, but it seems that way now. The library was quickly a no-go! There were several community meetings about the North and Harlem property. The developer and the contractor answered the attendees, not Seritage. Was Seritage present at all the meetings? If so, it wasn’t obvious.
At these meetings, grand plans were presented with promises of high-end grocers and a health club. No business names were given; the alderman didn’t know either. It seemed odd that community questions weren’t being answered by the property owner.
As the Sears building was being taken apart, Seritage sold the property. All these months later, the site is a huge, dusty vacant tract with numerous reasons for nothing being built.
The only Chicago development is in the building phase at 6700. Once again a North Avenue library is in the works, but the same issues as before are becoming a block to the library. North Avenue needs the library to attract residential development.
Galewood, as a community, needs this library.
Longtime Galewood resident