Emerald residents back Newman dorm
09/19/2012 10:00 PM
Our family of six lives on Emerald, 200 feet from the proposed Newman Center, and we support it.
1 – We live in a successful university community. Similar to other communities where families, students and businesses peacefully coexist, University Village succeeds most when we work together, think beyond personal inconveniences, and support positive growth of a diverse community. The university AND residential areas have expanded west and south in recent years.
Further, a study examined this potential development and concluded residential home values in and around three other universities in Chicago did not decline as much as other like properties during the recent market downturn.
2 – Issues of concern by immediate residents have been addressed. With over 2,000 signatures in support of this development, we believe the majority of UV is in favor of the Newman Center at this location. Issues have been diligently addressed: Parking is resolved. Shading is a physical impossibility. No one owns a city view. “Density” is relative, somewhat arbitrary, and applicable to ANY realistic developer.
We CHOSE to live in one of the nation’s most populous cities and “University” Village. Currently, we live within blocks of three UIC dorms with 1,500 students. This adds incrementally (250 students). Nonetheless, “density” was significantly addressed when the development went from 17 to five stories with a partial sixth.
3 – The Newman Center has a strong history in the neighborhood. As lifelong Catholics, the Newman Center provides much to young people — including 15,000 of UIC’s 25,000+ who identify themselves as Catholics. Newman has come to this discussion with a collaborative spirit, earnestly attempting to work with neighbors.
4 – Perspective is important. Homes on Emerald are feet from one of the nation’s busiest freeways. Behind our garage is a major UPS facility. Down the block are 24-hour hot dog stands. Homelessness is the largest issues for some neighbors, not likely helped by an abandoned building on the site.
A beautiful, multi-million dollar development, bringing security and stability, blending with the neighborhood’s look and reflective of the population, with strong financial backing and a network of support, housing mature residents, seems like an ideal neighbor. A developer who will continue to work with us during construction and beyond is a bonus.
The undesirability of this piece of land and the area’s high small business failure means, if not the Newman Center, the likely next developer will erect a structure MUCH larger, MUCH higher and requiring MANY more residents/renters/traffic to be financially viable and sustained. Many point to a high-rise condo or UIC dorm.
It’s unrealistic to expect a “perfect” neighbor who can develop and exist without common inconveniences and a getting-to-know-you period. Attempting to “kick the can” is unfair to a genuine potential developer - and tireless community partner.
A Newman Center development at this proposed site has potential to strengthen the immediate and broader area, answer a large community need, and continue a history of businesses, families and students successfully working together.
Chris & Sam Kelly
1417 S. Emerald