2020 Year in Review
Dear Neighbors,

2020 began with opportunities for continued growth in economic development, public safety, and reform.

Then the pandemic hit, accompanied by unprecedented civil unrest, leading our country, and our city, into uncharted territory.

We are still in it.

As the pandemic hit, our office quickly pivoted to a fully on-line office, and continued to provide our full suite of ward services.

You learned how to order parking permits on-line and are communicating with us more than ever. Our office handled more than 15,000 constituent service requests. In the wake of pandemic, natural disasters, and social unrest, we dramatically increased our communications with residents. We issued more than 113 newsletters, doubling our usual annual rate.
Helping Others

Our generous community contributed so much to help our city in 2020. In addition to the many personal charitable contributions of time and treasure, this community and our office:

Thanks again to our staff and the many volunteers who created, organized and contributed to these efforts.
Ethics Reform and Legislation
Even in this challenging year, we made progress on important issues of ethics and city finances:

  • The City Council Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight, which I chair, unanimously voted to defeat an attempt to water down a lobbying ban we championed. We lead the nation in banning aldermen from lobbying the county, the state or any other local government units, and prohibited any other elected officials in the state from lobbying the City Council, the mayor or other units of city government.
  • After a pre-pandemic hearing about short-term "party houses," we passed an ordinance further regulating short-term rentals that gives neighbors the power to ban Airbnb's in their precincts.   
  • Even in this unprecedented financial crisis, the city continued reform on city finances: improving oversight of the parking meter contract, TIF programs, city assets, and contracts.
  • Most importantly, Mayor Lightfoot overturned the most egregious parts of the police contract that imperil police accountability and have led to a billion dollars in legal costs and court judgments for poor policing. The implementation of these changes will lead to savings of hundreds of millions of dollars - and a safer city.
  • After much study, I joined as a co-sponsor the GAPA (Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability) ordinance in 2019. I continue to support this critical ordinance.
  • My committee held the first oversight hearing in the history of the City Council based on a report of the Inspector General - about our very flawed juvenile justice system. We expect this hearing to result in substantial changes to the system.
  • City’s Commission on Landmarks gave preliminary approval to landmark four buildings at the corner of Willow and Halsted. 
  • Our proposal to give the city more power to stop illegal demolitions of buildings in landmark districts became law. 
  • We passed a resolution asking the FBI to form a task force on hate crimes.
Public Safety
Our city was rocked by peaceful demonstrations, and then looting, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, imitating a pattern set across the country.
Two weekends of looting occurred, from which many communities have yet to recover. The Area 3 Looting Task Force is still at work combing video of looters, resulting thus far in more than 100 felony arrests and many firearms taken off our streets.
Throughout 2020, our office worked with you and the police to keep you informed:

  • Held Virtual Public Safety Meeting in September
  • Announced new safety strategy with Area Commanders
  • Neighborhood safety walk at North and Clybourn
  • Used ward "menu" funds to place four additional police cameras in Old Town, the Gold Coast, and Lincoln Park, and we helped fund security cameras with parents at Alcott Elementary.
  • Arrests were made in a series of neighborhood arsons.
While I feel confident that we have seen the last of widespread looting incidents, street crime, and particularly carjackings have surged. Unless all parts of the criminal justice system work together to address this crime, more people will be hurt and more will leave the city.

We held a forum on February 2nd to address carjackings and will continue to call those in law enforcement and our legislature to account.
COVID-19 Response
We promoted mask wearing, kept you up-to-date on the latest developments and informed you about the best practices to keep you safe.

  • Gave away 5,000 face masks in Oz, Jonquil and Lincoln Parks
  • Distributed 2,000 Masks to our CHA seniors
  • Collected and distributed hundreds of home-made masks
  • We helped Lincoln Park High School secure the use of the Lincoln Park Zoo parking lot for their "drive through" graduation
  • Participated in a safe Juneteenth celebration with our seniors
Help for Businesses

Business outreach increased dramatically in 2020 as we helped many local businesses apply for financial relief and permits for new programs, like outdoor dining.

We promoted our local businesses aggressively and encouraged residents and visitors to buy local.

City Council:

  • Reduced Business Fees by 75%.
  • Extended Sidewalk Café Footprints beyond the front of the property.
  • Issued Permits Faster without needing to be introduced as an ordinance to City Council but with aldermanic approval.
  • Capped at 15 percent the total fees that third party delivery companies can charge restaurants. 

Thanks to the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, which paid the cost of closing Lincoln Avenue for two months to allow outdoor dining for eleven restaurants. A block of Schubert east of Halsted also closed to vehicular traffic for "Patio on Schubert." Our neighborhood groups helped us get the word out to local restaurants to generate interest and encourage applications for extended sidewalk cafes and outdoor dining.

Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, more than 70 new businesses opened in the 43rd Ward in 2020, aided by our office to obtain necessary licenses, permits, obtain inspections, and troubleshoot issues. Some of the new businesses that opened are:
  • Target
  • Neighborhood Hotel
  • Children's Empirical (day care)
  • French Quiche
  • Maison Parisienne
  • Stray Hen Cafe
  • Jibaritos
  • Go Grocer
  • Luft Balloons
  • Lincoln Park Juice
  • Maison Parisienne
  • Play4Day
  • Kizami Sushi
  • Beacon Doughnuts
  • Blush Boutique
  • Brideside, Inc.
  • Brown Bag Seafood Co.
  • Chef Karyn
  • Dolce Kitchen
  • Evette's Lincoln Park
  • Herb-N-Juice Co
  • The Kismet Table
  • Mr. Dumpling Inc.
  • Pegasus Protein Bar
  • Mugsy Boutique
  • Sugar Me Chicago
  • Sweetland Bakery
  • Verve Wine
  • King Chicago Indian Cuisine
  • La Vaca Margarita Bar
Our community considered proposals at popular virtual meetings, including:

  • Covent Hotel (2653 N Clark),
  • Belden Stratford renovation (2300 N Lincoln Park West),
  • Second Church of Christ, Scientist redevelopment (2700 N. Pine Grove),
  • The Neighborhood Hotel (2616-18 N Clark)

Our community also banded together and successfully stopped development of cannabis dispensaries in two locations close to our ward.
Outdoor Space and Recreation
Our Fragile Lakefront
COVID showed us how precious our outdoor resources are - and how fragile they are. First, the pandemic necessitated closure of our crowded lakefront.

The spring revealed enormous damage to the lakefront, pummeled by winter storms and high water.

The Chicago River overflowed its banks, flooding nearby parking garages to the roofs.
Then the "derecho" hit in August, with 100 mph winds, uprooting thousands of trees in Chicago.

These events emphasized the need for

  • more open space for the health of our citizens
  • reducing reliance on the lakefront alone as the source of green space on the North Side
  • investment in our tree canopy
  • investment in storm water mitigation strategies near our lakefront and Chicago River

Athletic Field for Lincoln Park High School

After a four year effort, we broke ground on the new turf athletic field in Lincoln Park for Lincoln Park High School sports. Located just east of the Diversey Driving Range, the field is being funded by Chicago Public Schools. While the field will be used by the high school for practice during regular after-school practice hours, it will be available to the general public at all other times.

The entire field is a storm water drainage system, which will reduce flooding across a large adjacent area of Lincoln Park.
Dickens Shared Street

To accommodate outdoor recreation during the pandemic, we announced the Shared Streets program, The Dickens shared street was well used by almost 1000 pedestrians and cyclists a day, with no accidents.
General Iron Ceased Operations - We Continue to Seek a Park There

Throughout 2020, we continued to advocate to convert the General Iron site on the Chicago River, into public open green space to alleviate the overcrowding at the lakefront and give additional breathing room to a public that now appreciates the need for passive and active recreation space, bringing us closer to nature and our beautiful Chicago River.

Additionally, a park is the perfect way to bring natural storm water management to this part of the river, which is still characterized largely by concrete, construction, and retaining walls. The North Branch Park & Preserve will bring the Chicago River to all of us, not just some.

General Iron closed for good on December 31, 2020. We will continue to work to make a public park a reality.
Constituent Services
Capital Improvements

The Derecho storm in August took down hundreds of trees and caused a huge amount of damage.

Special thanks to the neighbors of the 43rd ward who immediately worked together in clearing streets and yards of debris into piles on the curb lane and parkways, making the pick-up coordination much swifter.
Streets Resurfaced
  • 1800 & 1900 N Burling
  • 2400 N Lakeview
  • 2400 to 2700 N Orchard
  • 1700 N North Park
  • 1800 & 1900 N Howe

Alleys Resurfaced
  • 900 W Willow
  • 950 W Armitage
  • 1800 N Cleveland
  • 517 W Drummond

Water Main Replacement at 2600 & 2700 N Dayton

Four Curb and Gutter projects completed to eliminate street flooding
Other 311 services completed in 2020:
  • 1765 Graffiti Removals
  • 542 Potholes Filled
  • 619 Rodent Baiting Services
  • 192 Sewer Cleanings
  • 98 Sidewalk Surveys
  • 60 Stumps Removed
  • 216 Tree Removal (Outside of the derecho damage)
  • 56 Tree Trims (Outside of the derecho damage)
  • 117 Water Quality Tests

Painted 42 fire hydrant curbs

Five sidewalk replacement projects
Our Community
2020 Began With A Women's March

In January, we participated in the 2020 Women's March; for equality, social justice and the freedom to make our own medical decisions for our bodies - many of the same issues that compelled women worldwide to insist on change beginning in 2017.

And Ended With Graduations and
An Election

Our community showed its resilience in reconfiguring our lives to adapt to the pandemic. From e-learning to drive-by graduations, zoom reunions and socially distant gatherings, and much patience and charity, we made it through the year.

2020 Was Also Sometimes Funny

With all the craziness of the year, we had lighthearted moments as well. Our beloved Lincoln Park Zoo provided many of them:
The animals show us how to wear masks
They entertained us
And sometimes they had to respond to fake news.
There are many challenges ahead for 2021: recovery from the pandemic, progress on public safety, economic development, and more reform in City Hall. With you, we will make meaningful strides toward vital improvements in the 43rd Ward and our City.

Greetings from our entire staff, and looking forward to continuing to serve you this year.

43rd Ward Office Hours: M - F 9 AM - 5 PM 
 2523 N Halsted | 773-348-9500 yourvoice@ward43.org www.ward43.org