Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Earmarks, Stimulus and the South Loop

In every walk of life it's almost impossible to escape buzzwords (if we hear twitter once more, we might scream)... and over the past year "earmarks" and "stimulus" have tended to be unavoidable. During the presidential campaign it seemed like every sentence included at least one of them.

Well today we're going to jump on the bandwagon, but only because both of these words are finally hitting home for us at Sloopin.

Today, Chicago Public Radio reported that the recently passed federal Omnibus spending proposal includes an $8 million earmark for the often dreamed about CTA "circle line". According to Dick Durbin's office:
The plan is a key component of the city's strategy for the 2016 Olympics.
However, this 'strategy' wasn't detailed in the 2016 Olympic Bid Book. This isn't a big surprise and we always had a hunch that the federal government would foot the bill for bigger infrastructure improvements if Chicago wins the right to host the Olympics.

Additionally, the CTA Tattler has a recent post talking about Chicago's plans to use their Federal Stimulus money. One of the major "shovel" ready projects looks to be a renovation of the Chinatown-Cermack Red Line station.

So for the Sloop, these two pieces of news are very encouraging. We realize that it's easy to be pessimistic and skeptical when the federal government is talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, but it's always good to see that money actually impact our neighborhood. Like we've suspected and argued before, the Olympic Bid and Obama's push for better public transit are two large public initiatives that could immensely benefit the Sloop!


Me said...

I wonder if the CTA will create an entrance on the Archer Avenue side of the Red Line stop. With the hotel going in on that slither of land on Clark and Archer, it makes sense.

And the Chinatown EL station was due for a renovation. Aside from being destroyed by that truck, it's a pretty heavily used stop and was really run down.

This could lead to more tourists exploring that area, which would be a boom for business.

Hey Sloopy--have you heard any updates on the Ickes homes since your last post?

Sloopy said...

Chinatown is definitely an area that continues to grow and appeal to Chicago residents and tourists. I also think the city needs to do a better job of servicing McCormick place with the CTA. Although this doesn't address that, I read this as a small step towards the cities 'vision' for this area.

Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but with the Olympics, McCormick Place and the recent studies commissioned to have a new CTA stop at either 18th or Cermack I think the city has big plans for this area.

I’ve heard someone reference this hotel before (maybe you?), but I haven't heard or read anything about it. Do you have a link to info on this?

I haven't heard much recently about the Ickes homes. I'll keep my eye out for stuff.

Me said...

Here's the link to an article on the new hotel. I've been out of town for the past six months, but I think it's supposed to be finished in 2010 (?).,CST-FIN-china16.article