28th Ward community meeting-New Roosevelt branch library proposal

Please plan to attend a 28th Ward meeting, hosted by Ald. Jason Ervin, on the proposed new Roosevelt branch library, and housing to be developed on Taylor St. as part of the Roosevelt Square redevelopment of the CHA’s ABLA Homes site.

The meeting will be this Thursday, August 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at St. Basil’s church at 733 S. Ashland Ave. (corner of Polk St. & Ashland Ave.; enter at the back of the building which has a small parking lot for those who need to drive).

The renderings and floor plans of the building, shown here, Roosevelt Sq. Branch Library & Housing, depict a beautiful new public library with 73 units of mixed-income housing stair cased above the library.

There is a small group of people in our community who intend to try to delay the Chicago City Council Committee on Zoning hearing for this development in hopes, apparently, of stopping it because of concerns about the mixed-income housing. Some people have also complained about the height of the building.

This strategy is, however, very short sighted, and a bit naive for the following three reasons: The first is that there is a federal district Gautreaux Court Order that mandates that the CHA build 1,048 units of low-income housing, in addition to affordable, and market-rate housing, on the CHA’s ABLA site, while less than half of the low-income housing has been developed, so the approximately 15 acres of the ABLA site on Taylor St. will receive some number of additional units of low income housing. The second is that one of the primary issues that came from the extensive community meetings hosted by the Roosevelt Sq. master planning team that developed the new Roosevelt Sq. master plan, for which Connecting4Communities successfully advocated to add 500 new market-rate homes to the Roosevelt Sq. plan, was a desire for a much nicer Chicago Public Library branch than the one that currently serves our community.  The third is that reducing the height of this building simply means that with an additional approximately 2,500 units of housing remaining to be developed on the ABLA site, any floors chopped from this building will simply be added to other mid-rise buildings that will be developed for the Taylor St. CHA parcels, and parcels between 14th St., and Taylor St.

That is not to minimize community residents’ concerns about subsidized housing, but the ability of a small group to stop what is mandated by the federal court in landmark civil rights litigation that dates back to August, 1966 is non-existent, and the issue is really one of effective management of that housing. This is why Connecting4Communities has worked with tenant leadership in various subsidized housing developments in our community, including at the Barbara Jean Wright Homes, to get better management in place. We have also worked extensively with the CHA, the Chicago, and UIC Police Departments to get more effective crime prevention measures put in place. These efforts have had success, and are ongoing. Obstruction will accomplish nothing.

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  1. Pingback: New Library On Taylor Street Needs CHA Units Or It Won't Happen: Developer - Gaceta Chicago

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