Rockwell meeting tonight is off
05/14/2009 10:49 AM
A meeting about the redevelopment of Rockwell Gardens has been canceled. Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) sent out an e-mail last night making the announcement, citing scheduling conflicts with East Lake Management.
Mayoral ally and powerful developer Elzie Higginbottom, who leads East Lake, couldn't make the meeting because he's the guest of honor at a fundraiser for the Jane Addams Hull House Association, said East Lake lawyer Rolando Acosta.
"If it weren't for the schedule conflict, he'd show," Acosta said.
The Rockwell redevelopment has been criticized from several angles. Some public housing residents and area homeowners have decried the quality of the Phase I units East Lake built. Others are worried East Lake's plans to build another phase of rental housing on site will sink any chance the development will ever attract higher income home buyers - just five units were sold in Phase I. East Lake said the housing market downturn and credit crunch destroyed their ability to sell.
Meanwhile, former residents of Rockwell who've scattered around the city want to know when they'll be able to return to their former community. A version of the Rockwell story I wrote for the April 30 edition of Chicago Journal ran in our sister paper Austin Weekly News. Valinda Harvey posted this comment about the piece on Austin's Web site:
The Chicago Housing Authority promised that after demolishing high-rise public housing developments like Rockwell, Stateway Gardens and the Robert Taylor Homes, new communities that mix homeowners, renters and public housing residents would rise in their place. The land that once hosted Rockwell remains mostly empty, however.