A Real Public Park on the River
St. Patrick's Day
 March For Our Lives
Dear Neighbors,

True public open space with playing fields, nature walks, public gathering spaces and year-round activities can and should be located on the east side of the Chicago River.

See our Facebook page for a presentation of the proposed 24 acre North Branch Park + Preserve between North Avenue and Cortland

Over the last several months, we've joined with Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) and this growing coalition to fight for true public open space in the former North Branch Industrial Corridor.

Chicago's renowned architectural community, our community groups, park and river advocates, recreational sports leagues, and respected civic groups all agree, a new park along the North Branch of the Chicago River is essential to balance massive development coming to our doorstep.  After meeting with the the editorial boards of the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times, a Sun-Times story put the challenge this way:

"Here's one vision for a stretch of the aging industrial corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River: A wide-open public park teeming with native grasses, wildlife and people enjoying the outdoors.

Here's another: An urban "wall" of high rises along the river, with little pockets and slivers of green space."

Proposals for Lincoln Yards development. Images: Sterling Bay

A new community of 50,000 residents (equalling the population of Lincoln Park) and a 20,000 seat stadium are proposed to be concentrated on the river between Webster and North Avenue, according to developer Sterling Bay. 

Over the past year,  our community has consistently called for contiguous public open space on the North Branch Industrial Corridor. Design professionals told the editorial boards this week  "No major city in the world would design a plan for 50,000 additional people in a dense urban environment without a plan for significant public open space."  Designers also told the newspapers, "meaningful park space is vital to the economic development of the city to attract new business and provide a desirable lifestyle to residents."  We are encouraged that Sterling Bay supports the effort.

For now, the city maintains the park is unnecessary because the Framework Plan provides for 60 acres of open space.  A closer look reveals no real, public parkland is planned in the 750 acre site.

Most the 60 acres of city planned "open space"consists of:
  • 25 acres of concreted 30' wide bike or pedestrian paths
  • 17 acres of underwater  marsh and habitat restoration
  • 10 non-contiguous acres, chopped into 7 "developer driven" initiatives surrounded by new residences and businesses.
The Chicago River and our lakefront belong to all of us. In the next few weeks we will be making 100 year decisions for our city, our neighborhoods and future Chicagoans.  Please contact me if you would like to join the effort to secure critical parkland. 
St. Patrick's Day

The CTA will be providing extra service for the St. Patricks Day Parade on Saturday, March 17 at Grant Park for the  Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Brown and Orange lines.

The following buses will be rerouted due to street closures associated with the St. Patrick's Day Parade: #6 Jackson Park, #J14 Jeffery Jump, #124 Navy Pier and #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express.


Senior Homeowner's Exemption Deadline Extended

The Cook County Assessor's Office has extended the deadline to apply for senior citizen and senior freeze exemptions until March 30. If you were born before 1952, you may be eligible for a senior citizen exemption.  Apply here.
If you are a senior and your income is below $65,000, you may also be eligible for the senior freeze.  Find out more here.

Adams Park Water Park To Be Rebuilt

As we discussed in an earlier newsletter, the Chicago Park District has announced that they will be building an exciting new Water Park at Adams Playlot.

Since it opened in 1998, the soft surface of the water park has completely degraded and been replaced several times. Repair parts for the equipment are no longer made, and the park district is decommissioning these type of water parks city wide due to safety concerns.

The Park District is providing $100,000+in renovation funding and neighbors led buy the Adams Park Advisory Committee, have raised $15,000 of the $20,000 goal to fund additional enhancements and features;  I'll be matching the contributions dollar for dollar.  So join us to rebuild Adams Water Park - go to the  GoFundMe page.

#MarchForOurLives Chicago

Too many students have died in school shootings, and too many people in Chicago have fallen victim to senseless gun violence.  Join thousands of students and their supporters in Chicago's March for Our Lives to demand gun control legislation.  

Union Park
1501 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Saturday, March 24
11:00 a.m.

If you would like to join me and fellow 43rd Warders at the March, please email us.

Ward Events

David Farber
50 Years After "Chicago '68"
Nightviews Speaker Series
Francis W. Parker School
Monday, March 19th
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Fifty years have passed since the historic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago that Farber reconstructs in his classic book  Chicago '68. Farber will talk about what 1968 meant to both the progressive and conservative political movements in the U.S. and the potential effect of a 50-year perspective on our political culture today and in the future. 

David Farber is the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas and a Parker alum.

Register here.

Free Small Business Seminar
Small Business Banking Services & Access to Capital
Wintrust Old Town
100 W. North Ave.
Thursday, March 22nd
9:00 a.m.

Learn more about services, accounts and loans, including SBA loans, that can be valuable for your small business.

RSVP to Amy Lemar at 312-291-2918 or alemar@wintrust.com.

Happy St. Patrick's Day,
Michele Signature

  Michele Smith
  43rd Ward Alderman

43rd Ward Office Hours: M 9 AM - 7 PM, T-F 9 AM - 6 PM 
 2523 N Halsted | 773-348-9500| yourvoice@ward43.org| www.ward43.org