I am writing to invite you to a community meeting on a new park proposed for Albion Avenue and the lakefront. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 16th, 7:00 p.m. at Loyola University’s Crown Center Auditorium, 1001 W. Loyola (at the Lake).
The property is currently a vacant gravel lot (see photo on left, courtesy of DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard) and was once a parking lot. The City purchased the land at my prompting in 2007 at a below-market price. Since then, community residents and I have tried to identify funds to transform the property into green space.
A proposal to develop the site as a community garden and dune restoration area, using my discretionary “aldermanic menu money,” appeared on the 2012 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting ballot, but fell a few votes shy.
The Park District and I finally were able to identify a funding source–“open space impact fees,” which were assessed on neighborhood developers during the development boom of the last decade. These impact fees were set aside for the purchase and development of open park land and can be used for that purpose only. Expenditures of the funds derived from the fees require City Council approval.
The Park District proposal calls for replacing the gravel with new top soil, grass, a six-foot path made of crushed stone and a pergola with some stone seating. The Park District is suggesting stones instead of benches as it ties into the natural landscape better. The project will cost an estimated $275,000.
Below are the Park District’s proposed plans for the new park:
A pdf version of the plans is attached below:
I urge you to attend the meeting to learn more about the proposal and express your views. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to share your comments with me by replying to this email. Similarly, if you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this email or call my staff assistant, Michael Land, at 773-338-5796.