Southport Wolfram Construction / Lathrop News – 32nd Ward Newsletter

From Alderman Waguespack’s 32nd ward newsletter:

Streets under construction

The Department of Water Management will be installing a water main at N. Southport Avenue, from W. Wellington Avenue to W. Diversey Parkway, and W. Wolfram Street, from N. Southport Avenue to N. Lakewood Avenue.

This work is expected to be completed by early June 2013; this includes restoration. Dates may change depending on weather and other factors.

Traffic will flow on N. Southport Avenue and W. Wolfram Street outside of working hours. When crew members are working on the street, they may have to close it to traffic for reasons of safety.

“No Parking” signs will be posted when needed during work hours.

If you have any questions or information, contact Tom LaPorte at (312) 742-1021.

Lathrop Homes project

Last week, Lathrop Community Partners (LCP), the developers for the Lathrop Homes public housing site, and the Chicago Housing Authority met with South Lakeview Neighbors at their monthly meeting to present the results of surveys they collected at two November open houses following a similar meeting with Hamlin Park Neighbors in January. LCP has indicated that they intend to finalize a plan for the site in March of this year. This week myself and other representatives that are recognized as consulting parties met with State and Federal officials to discuss the planning process and the future of the site. Due to the fact that Lathrop Homes is included on the National Register of Historic Places, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is required to administer something called the Section 106 process, which is designed to identify whether proposed changes to historically significant sites would have adverse effects and, if so, whether there are acceptable ways to mitigate them. The 106 process is designed to discourage actions that would compromise historic resources. The process does not prohibit changes to a historic site, but it does require alternatives to demolition and consultation with all concerned parties.

This week’s meeting included a summary of the planning process to date and the three scenarios shown at the two open house events held in November of last year. Members of LCP presented the results of surveys collected at the open house events and also discussed the condition of existing vacant and occupied buildings. Consulting Parties were invited to make comments and then asked for written input within the next two weeks.

Discussion topics at the section 106 meeting included the need for a serious effort to be made on the part of CHA to rethink their overall process of redevelopment and come back to the table with realistic plans for the redevelopment of the site. To date, one of my arguments has been that the developers and the CHA have administered the planning process in a way that does not allow for true input and revisions based upon the concerns of neighborhood groups and community residents. Several attendees stressed the need for the CHA and LCP to take input from neighboring communities seriously and develop designs reflecting this input before moving forward with a final plan.

The present designs call for up to 1,300 units with high rise towers of up to 28 stories in scenarios that retain some of the existing buildings or a campus comprised of multiple 8 to 12 story buildings in the scenario with all new construction. Each of the scenarios also includes 70,000 square feet of retail development. Surrounding neighborhood community organizations have consistently rejected these levels of residential density, building height, and retail development. Serious concerns about the traffic created by 1,300 residential units (900 exist now with only 170 in use) and the addition of 70,000 sq.ft. of retail, including multiple new roads accessing Damen, Diversey and Clybourn, have not been addressed. Additionally, no responses to questions regarding increased CTA service to the site or the lack of school options for the multitude of families expected to move to Lathrop have been provided. Furthermore, LCP is proposing to establish a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district that would siphon off all property tax revenue from the redeveloped site for 23 years to pay for development costs rather than support school, park, and other public services that would be required by this newly redeveloped site.

We have been working with the surrounding neighborhood community organizations to convey serious concerns to the CHA and the Mayor’s Office with both the redevelopment process and the resulting plans. We will continue to advocate for an approach that is capable of revitalizing the site in a way that makes it an asset for the surrounding communities rather than detracting from them. We appreciate your continued input to HUD, the City and CHA. For more info on the process, please visit my website at

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