West Old Town Neighbors – Meeting Minutes
Town Hall with Alderman Burnett Jr.
6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 7, 2018 , Art on Sedgwick, 1408 North Sedgwick, Chicago, Illinois
Introduction. The WOTN Town Hall meeting convened at 6:30pm at Art on Sedgwick. Approximately 40 people attended the meeting on a cold February evening. Melinda Kramer thanked Charlie Branda for providing the meeting venue and introduced Alderman Burnett with a brief overview of his experience and cited the numerous committees he participates in within the City organizations.
Town Hall Discussion –
Alderman Burnett told attendees about his background and history in the Cabrini and Old Town neighborhood. He explained his position regarding mixed income communities – he believes that mixed income versus all low or all high income housing is important to the community. He explained that the CHA has its own leadership and ownership in all of the mandated replacement housing and that he works hard to keep these efforts mixed income.
Alderman Burnett spoke about the Near North High School park area (1500 N Larrabee) and that he is working to make that a park space for the community and wants feedback to support that position. He explained that the city is in favor of that space as a park but there are still some obstacles with HUD and CHA to get the space designated as a park space for the community. There will be upcoming meetings on this.
Alderman Burnett invited and introduced Commander Paul Bauer from the 18th Police Precinct to discuss crime and safety. Commander Bauer introduced himself and provided his background. He acknowledged the crime increases and spoke about the challenges the police have today. He cited a few key issues – criminals are being quickly released from jails and repeating their crimes, demand for drugs is high so dealers are active, police resources are constrained. On a positive note, he highlighted that there are new police academy graduates in the pipeline and it is important that residents call 911 to report all crime or illegal activity so they have the data to support resource allocations. The Commander acknowledged that more cameras help somewhat but that the crime/drug dealers typically just move to another location.
Attendees raised many questions about crime, safety, trash on streets, housing development and the park timeline. The Alderman and Commander responded to these questions and the meeting ran an extra hour to discuss those topics in more detail. Some of the responses are noted here:
- The Alderman will provide additional trash cans in the neighborhood. He requested that residents contact Ms. Diamond Segretti (Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation 312-909-3041) to request service locations.
- The Alderman instructed those who want to provide input to the mixed income development plans to contact the CHA for meeting dates and discussion.
- The Alderman does not have a timeframe for the park development due to legal processes that are underway.
- The Commander reminded everyone that calling 911 to report issues is critical to enabling appropriate response and resources.
The next regular West Old Town Neighbors meeting is April 10, 2018 at 6 pm at Eva’s Café.