Hundreds of concerned parents and community members rallied at a vocal Logan Square meeting Tuesday night and then marched through the neighborhood with candles in hand to protest a recent Chicago Board of Education decision to turn Ames Middle School into a military academy. The protesters also voiced their uncertainty about the future of Kelvyn Park High School.
The Logan Square Neighborhood Association's 52nd Congress saw a discussion that covered a variety of important community issues, but chief among them was a strong feeling that Chicago Public School officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are not listening to the concerns of area residents.
“There is a very clear reason the leadership at CPS is not responsive to the community, and that’s because they aren’t accountable to us’’ said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who was elected two months ago due to, in part, his strong backing from Chicago teachers and his support of an elected school board. “The community is mourning the loss of Ames and needs assurance from all its leaders that there is a plan for Kelvyn Park.’’
St. Edmund's Village Apartments, a South Side housing complex subsidized by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, is infested with bed bugs, rodents, and mold, according to one tenant and a group of housing activists who protested outside of the nonprofit’s board meeting in the Loop on Tuesday.
The building’s owner, Rev. Richard Tolliver, is a slumlord, the activists allege. He is president and CEO of St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation, which purchased the complex in 1999. He was also appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s board of directors.
“The building is crawling with bed bugs, roaches, rats ... it has leaky windows, mold, busted pipes and the management is no good,” said Janet Wilson, 43, a resident at St. Edmund's for more than 13 years. “The mayor has a slumlord on his team.”
Given the recent findings, housing advocates say it is crucial that the state restore funding for the education of students with unstable homes.
"We’ve got this exploding population, but yet districts don’t have sufficient resources to adequately serve them," said Patricia Nix-Hodes, associate director of the law project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
An advisory zoning committee for Chicago's 46th Ward signed off on a private developer's request for $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) assistance for a proposed luxury housing complex in Uptown at its monthly meeting Monday night.
The 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), approved preliminary plans for JDL Development's TIF project despite opposition from low-income housing advocates in the area.
A group of about 30 community activists staged a protest outside of Cappleman's office Monday night before attending the zoning meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. The protestors toted signs reading, "Stop displacing our neighborhood" and "Save Uptown diversity."
"Cappleman, as alderman over his tenure in office, repeatedly supported gentrification projects that affect the community in ways that force out diversity from Uptown and that have devastating effects on low-income communities and communities of color in Uptown," community activist Ashley Bohrer said at the protest. "Building affordable housing would be the best way to use public money for public services, and that means helping communities that are in the most need."
Chanting "No more evictions!", a group of about 60 Chicago housing activists picketed outside the office of a Logan Square property management firm Thursday evening to call out the company for allegedly displacing tenants from one of its apartment buildings.
Last fall, M. Fishman & Company, which describes itself on its website as “Chicago’s premier property management company,” took over a 50-unit apartment building in Logan Square at 2536 N. Sawyer Ave. According to current tenants, the company in October sent most of the residents who did not have an existing lease a 30-day notice to vacate the building.