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The Lawndale Alliance

Contacts: Valerie F. Leonard, 773-521-3137, valeriefleonard@msn.com


Joe Ann Bradley, 773-450-2400, joebradley@yahoo.com

Highlights from TIF Meeting


Held Thursday, August 30, 2007

The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, in cooperation with Alderman Sharon D.
Dixon and Alderman Ricardo Munoz held a public meeting on Thursday, August 30, 2007 at the Lawndale
College Preparatory Charter High School. The following persons were seated at the front of the auditorium
to present and/or respond to questions pertaining to the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski-TIF (It should be noted
that I arrived about 15 minutes late, and the meeting was in progress).

1. Mary Bonome, Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Planning and Development


2. Patrick Brutus, Project Manager
3. Hon. Sharon D. Dixon, Alderman, 24th Ward
4. Chip Hastings, Assistant Commissioner, Chicago Department of Planning and Development
5. Kim Jackson, Executive Director, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation
6. Angela Pace Moody, Program Officer, Steans Family Foundation
7. Eric Strickland, Executive Director, Lawndale Business and Local Development Corporation

Alderman Ricardo Munoz was not in attendance during the time in which I was in the meeting.

The presentation team provided an overview for the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF, including a general
overview of tax increment financing districts; calculation for the equalized assessed value of any given
project area (EAV); small business programs and programs for home repairs and proposed budget. The
team touched very briefly on the underlying Acquisition Plan, Redevelopment Plan, Eligibility Report and
the Housing Impact Study for the Proposed Ogden Pulaski TIF. The floor was then opened for questions
from the audience.

Members of the audience raised a number of issues as follows:

 The proposed $100,000,000 redevelopment budget was developed without any input from tax
payers within the Project Area of the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF. The budget does not provide
any support for direct economic development activities that would foster entrepreneurship. There
is more money in the budget for child care than job training. The budget does not address the
Digital Divide issues as they relate to infrastructure, education and/or workforce development. It is
not clear that members of the general public would have the opportunity to provide input into the
final budget. It is not clear whether or not the City would entertain changes to the budget. (The
Lawndale Alliance will prepare a letter voicing concerns about the redevelopment plan and
budget).

 The redevelopment approach seemed to foster gentrification versus developing the capacity of
long term residents.
 The proposed redevelopment plan calls for the construction of 300 units of new housing while the
underlying Acquisition Plan calls for the taking of over 1,600 properties.

 There are over 300 inhabited housing units that could potentially be subject to displacement due to
the implementation of the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF. Displacement could stem from a change
in land use (the consultants recommended re-zoning of certain areas around Kedzie and Cermak
from residential to commercial/light manufacturing to connect the commercial node on Cermak and
Kedzie to Kedzie and Ogden (approximately 1800 south); acquisition or dilapidation.) This could
result in the displacement of up to 1,200 homeowners and renters, assuming an average
household size of 4 people.

 A woman and her son voiced strong concerns over the fact that their property was
included in the list of properties that could potentially be displaced due to the
implementation of the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF. They were frustrated with the fact
that they. The City did not articulate what was meant by the word “displacement” or
“impact”.

 At least 600 housing units are subject to building code violations. This could result in further
displacement of people, beyond the 1,200 people potentially displaced by the implementation
of the TIF.

 There is a desire to have a TIF Advisory Council, community benefits agreements and to re-
activate the Lawndale Conservation Council. Alderman Dixon indicated that she supported the
TIF Advisory Council and community benefits agreements. She said the Lawndale
Conservation Council was subject to federal legislation, and that Congressman Danny K. Davis
would need to extend the life of the legislation that governs the council. Alderman Dixon
indicated that would pick her “own people” for the TIF Advisory Council, which was a cause of
concern among some of the members of the audience.

 (As an aside, there is a strong desire for an open and transparent process that
includes a broad cross section of North Lawndale stakeholders, regardless of
political affiliation. There is an even stronger desire to mitigate potential conflicts
of interests by ensuring a separation of roles of developers (including nonprofits),
planners, investors, advisory council members, elected officials and persons or
nonprofits that have made significant financial and in-kind contributions to elected
officials or developers (including nonprofits). Any potential conflicts of interest
and/or in-kind and cash contributions from participants in the community planning
and development process should be publicly disclosed in an ethics statement or
disclosure statement of some sort.)

 One member of the audience expressed her opinion that neither the members of the
development team, nor the elected officials representing the project area truly represent the
interests of the community. She also expressed concern that the City’s delegate agencies
have not shared information about the redevelopment plans or how City programs could be
used to increase the capacity of long term Lawndale residents.
 The police were heavy handed in their methods of crowd control.

 Joe Ann Bradley, a local community activist, indicated that the police stopped her
to question who she was and why she wanted to take pictures during the public
meeting. (It should be noted that this did not occur at the Mayor’s Budget hearing,
in which photographers, reporters and others with cameras and notepads were
allowed to move about freely with no questions asked).

 Mark Carter, another local community activist, made comments concerning the
proposed redevelopment plan. When Mr. Carter mentioned “the Alderman” and
“Lawndale Christian Development Corporation”, a heckler from the rear of the
auditorium disrupted the meeting for a prolonged period of time. Mark Carter
calmly waited for the heckler to finish making his comments. The police
approached Mark Carter, took away the microphone and escorted him out of the
auditorium. The police did not attempt to curtail the heckler’s outbursts.

The meeting continued for about 45 minutes more. A number of members of the audience indicated that
they would like the Alderman to host another public meeting so they could learn more about the TIF. It is
not clear whether or not this would be possible, as the Alderman characterized the meeting as
“unproductive.”

Respectfully submitted,

Valerie F. Leonard