Monday, April 6, 2009

Central Area Action Plan Dreams Big for the South Loop

The city recently updated and released it's plan for improving many areas downtown and we quickly read through some of it. It has seven chapters all of which were pretty interesting to us. However, please read it with a skeptical eye as it is definitely a 'dream'. Regardless, it gives you a good glimpse into the vision of the city planners and where we could be by 2020. Here is the link to the files.

The Chicago Tribune also has an interesting article today specifically criticizing one of the plans biggest attributes, the West Loop Transportation Center.

For more coverage, check out the Chicago Journal's take on parts of the plan.

There is a ton of plans for the greater Sloopin area and we will be reading/looking into plans for our specific neighborhood over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned and please let us know what you like, hate or don't understand.

(Image from


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of lemming's and sheep being led to slaughter. This Central Area Action Plan spending is going to dwarf any past TIF grabs and push most of the cost on new TIFS to be paid by you.

Any you have zero say in it, nor will any of these pet projects be required for public review, event if the do not benefit current residents. Interesting that many of these groups or individuals listed on the Central Area Action plan have never seen the plan.

On top of that, it will support the most wasteful and fraudulent practice of Chicagoprojects, gauranteed Minority Business contracts. Fraud, underqualified contactors, and poor schedule and cost management.

Me said...

Anon. You just picked up a series of discrete issues and threw them in the air. If you're going to argue that TIF's are useless that's one thing. But you point out two other issues and fail to explain why/how it will hurt residents in the city. Weak Sauce.

You might just be right. How provide some links/support, though.

Chi Towner said...

Me, my guess is that Anon lives in the burbs and simply hates.

They're just hating on the city...hater hater hater!

Like many people who bring up these issues, they simply don't have any vision for the future. There might be issues with TIFs and corruption, but that doesn't mean the city shouldn't plan for the future.

Stop hating!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Chi-towner, you better go educate yourself on this one. I like the concept of TIF's, but their current procedural use is masking TAX problems and delaying decision making on issues like cutting pensions, union rates, etc. It is used as a tool to pile on bad management.

This Action plan is unlike previous use of TIF's, especially the Near South TIF, Central, and West Loop TIFs, for many reasons:

Olympics - whether you are for or against, the Acation Plan and TIF use is counter to the claim that the Olympics will not use taxpayer money (semantics). Many parts are specific for the Olympics with plans to accelerate.

Federal Match - projects like this in past relied on massive federal dollars, which despite Obama's rediculous spending package, will likely not or can not be obtained for these projects. Thus the reliance on TIF will be unprecidented. Tax $$ for residents who live there.

TIF Portability - I recommend you read the plan and go to the presentation. While TIF's are designed for blighted area recovery, residents in current TIF area can't even get local road, sewer, and park issues taken care of, as a) Daley is stockpiling TIF money to move, and b) the crux of THIS plan is that each of the TIF's is going to fund all the large pet projects outside their areas. (why have a TIF then? - So they can make unilateral decisions without public comment or review)

These plans and TIF budget do not even include plans for school funding from the TIF's which is expanding. Example, Jones College prep went from a $20MM pool and Gym to a $140MM new school, all funded now from the Near South TIF. (aside from that the school does not want to allow a neighorhood contingent despite residents paying for the expansion)

TIF Transparancy

Corruption - since you brought it up, the corruption tax, this is going to be a free for all.
And there are no plans to improve the accountability and transparancy that is missing.

Resident need vs. Olympic needs - While some of these projects overlap, resident needs like park improvements or CTA will be eliminated. Case in point, in the Green line discussion of building a stop at 18th Street or Cermak, it is clear the 18th St. stop offers better support for current resident needs and would fill in the Near South vs. the Cermak stop. However, you can bet the Olympic team is going to drive a Cermak Stop despite the little need for it (see red line stop a block away) other than the Olympics. If McCormick needs it so bad, let them and the State kick in the dollars (McCormick is state run)

Chi Towner said...

Anon, fair points and personally I'm a little skeptical about TIFs. Personally they seem to benefit me in the South Loop, but don't necessarily seem fair to the greater community. Like you said, they also seem ripe for corruption and shady dealings.

One thing I do disagree with you about is the resident needs vs olympic needs. Yes, they overlap, but that doesn't mean they both would happen. The Olympics are a chance to get these projects funded quicker. Although an 18 street stop might be better (which I'm not sure is the case necessarily) either of the stops would be good. However, withouth the olympics my guess is that neither would happen quickly.

Anonymous said...

"Although an 18 street stop might be better (which I'm not sure is the case necessarily) either of the stops would be good. However, withouth the olympics my guess is that neither would happen quickly."

1. 18th Street would have had the funding years ago before some of the other Green line projects - then the Olympic discussion came and they wanted to look at Cermak first. The RTS already had fundind set aside for the study.

2. 18th can be a low cost standard station. It would offer tremendous infill of some empty lots (yet really desirable lots) in highly sought locations from
15th to Cullerton & Clark to Indiana.
The infill, residential tax base generated would be significant and a no brainer. It is truly a transit oriented feature. And most of the developments and stations could be done in the next 5-8 years. It also serves Lakefront and Soldier Field events.

Cermak is purely a commericial endevour for McCormick Place, and the NSPB guys that own the lots around zombie row. They want this to be a big commerical type station, where they can get TIF dollars to eliminate their risk. Problem is with Ickes (being addressed), and the location, it offers little residentially, especially any return before 2020. They are hoping the can catch the "Roosevelt Station" lightening in a bottle ala 1997. Not going to happen. It will be another Block 37 fiasco.