Alderman backs off Lincoln Square proposal

Ald. Gene Schulter (47th) appeared to backpedal away from a proposal that would have authorized the city to seize properties along Western Avenue in Lincoln Square. After a week of grass-roots roots action from groups like Save Lincoln Square (including a late-night march on Schulter’s ward office, captured here on video), the alderman issued a statement Monday afternoon that described his new stance.

Dear 47th Ward Residents,

Today, I met with representatives from a number of businesses on the 4800 block on N. Western Avenue to further address concerns regarding implementing acquisition authority. As I have stated from the beginning, this is going to be a collaborative process. Language is now being changed in the ordinance to assure many of the property owners and other stakeholders that we are in this process together. Under the new language, the City of Chicago states any acquisition north of 4807 N. Western Avenue will occur only on a volunteer basis, where the terms of purchase are mutually acceptable. The City will not seek to acquire any such properties by condemnation.

The City will also make every effort to achieve a mutual agreement with the owners of the Walgreens building. However, the City will reserve the right to acquire this property involuntarily if necessary.

Previously, I asked the City Council to defer voting on this issue at the City Council meeting on November 13, 2007 to give us more time to review the language. In consideration of the new changes, the matter will once again not go before the full City Council on Wednesday, December 12, 2007, but will return to committee for review.

I would like to also take this opportunity to thank the many residents of the 47th Ward who have called, written, and emailed their thoughts and views on this issue to my office expressing both support and concerns. I hope that we continue to work together as a community to move forward in achieving our shared goals for Lincoln Square.

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