Mayor announces bundle of cash for South Loop projects

09/28/2012 2:58 PM

Staff Reporter

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Flanked by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that the city would use $65 million in Tax Increment Financing dollars to fund a wide range of infrastructure projects and developments throughout South Loop, Printers Row, Prairie Avenue District, Motor Row and Chinatown. While most those projects have already been in the works, the announcement clears up how they will be funded and when the residents can expect to see them completed.

The proposal calls for funds for several long-planned CTA infrastructure projects. The rehabilitation of the Orange Line tracks between Clark and State streets will start in 2013 and finish sometime in 2014. The $11.5 million of the project’s $25 million costs will be covered through River South TIF funds. The streetscape improvements for the section of Roosevelt Road near the Roosevelt ‘L’ Station will be completed in 2014, with its $1.8 million projects costs paid entirely with Near South TIF funds. The Harrison ‘L’ Station, which has not seen any major renovations since 1943, will receive “comprehensive renewal” for its $10 million projects funded entirely through the Near South TIF.

“All of the improvements so far have been incremental,” Fioretti said after a news conference Friday at the Weathermark Tavern in the South Loop. “We want to bring the station into the 21st century.”

Fioretti has been lobbying for improvements since Ron Huberman was president of the CTA. He expressed hope that the improvements will make stations more welcoming and convenient for students from nearby colleges.

The plan also provides $8.5 million in 24th/Michigan TIF funds for streetscape improvements to Motor Row sections of 23rd Street, 24th Street and Michigan Avenue. Emanuel stated the improvements would help foster the neighborhood identity and improve the connections between the neighborhood shopping districts, future Cermak ‘L’ station and McCormick Place.

With the National Veterans Art Museum moving out, the long-awaited Women’s Park and Gardens Field House expansion will begin in 2013 and finish by spring 2014. The expansion’s $3 million project costs will be paid through Near South TIF funds. Another $3 million has been allocated to southward expansion of Grant Park. According to the map provided by the City of Chicago, the extension would fill in the vacant site west of the 11th/Museum Campus Metra station.

Another long-awaited project — the construction of the new Chinatown branch library — is expected to start in 2013 thanks to $12 million in funding from 24th/Michigan TIF.

The news conference also saw the unveiling of the new renderings of the planned Cermak Green Line station. They show a transparent, tunnel-line roof enveloping the entire elevated structure above Cermak Road. According to the rendering documents, the station will be called Cermak-McCormick Place. While the station will receive some TIF funding, city officials did not provide specific numbers.

Emanuel framed the initiative as an attempt to build on the previous projects that improved the Near South Side over the past decade.

“These investments will accelerate growth and invest in South Loop, Motor Row, Printers Row and Chinatown,” he said. “They will create hundreds of jobs. With these investments, multiple communities can flourish and grow.”

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By Mike from Printers Row
Posted: 10/03/2012 2:06 PM

Harold Lucas ?? By boule, do you mean the Alder-People? Also, your racist rant would purport that there are no African-Americans in power in this city, is that what you are saying or are you just looking up words to post and attempt to stir up controversy, like the occu-criers, all bs!

By George from Far West Side
Posted: 10/01/2012 11:27 AM

Bengazi: According to the city of Chicago's South Loop neighborhood website, the public library is Harold Washington. Also listed, Columbia College and Roosevelt Universtiy (you can't take out materials, but you can use the copier, if you have change or credit/debt card).

By Moe from West Loop
Posted: 09/30/2012 11:24 PM

Bengazi- Do you have something against Chinese people? I don't believe the residents of the WL would mind a library being built in Chinatown...

By Eve Kronen from South Loop
Posted: 09/28/2012 4:22 PM

Would like to see some initiative to get those big vacant lots cleaned up. You can make pretty all over the place but huge parcels of garbage, overgrown weeds the size of trees and busted fences to protect will be the lasting impression. Time to look at Wabash and deliver some of that beautification. We have 4 restaurants doing great business in the 1300 block of Wabash- nice message those lots deliver. Sorry it's been 5.5 years

By Harold L. Lucas from Bronzeville
Posted: 09/28/2012 4:20 PM

Again, city of Chicago administrative redevelopment strategies for south lakefront communities are created from a top down white supremacy, institutional racism and economic stratification being implemented by economically well endowed upper middle class boule, at the direct expense of the lower income proletariat class of African Americans who are being systematically disenfranchised and displaced from inner city African American neighborhoods!

By Bengazi from Michigan Ave
Posted: 09/28/2012 4:15 PM

So they are robbing $12MM in Near South TIF to then port to 24th & Michigan TIF so they can then pay for Chinatown Library? What a dirty scam. Where is the South Loop Library? Why are the south loop parks not being complete? This would not happen in the West Loop.