So the Related Midwest project is welcome news — a green shoot emerging from a crumbling rail yard. A new beginning near a city center. How often do cities get to plan brand-new neighborhoods? We hope imaginations run wild, with functions and forms that Chicago — that the urban world — hasn't seen elsewhere.
But they used the big news to tout an interesting proposal being floated by Rahm:
Yet the massive project won't perk up Austin on the West Side or Auburn Gresham on the South Side. To focus Chicago's attention on those realms, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Andrea Zopp — former U.S. Senate candidate, Chicago Urban League president and federal prosecutor — as his deputy mayor overseeing neighborhood revitalization.
Emanuel's City Hall also is working on an initiative aldermen could vote on as early as Wednesday. The program would create a special pot of money funded by downtown developers that would be directed toward these struggling neighborhoods. In exchange for paying into the fund, developers would get relaxed rules on the density and size of their projects. Want more square footage in your River North project than current zoning laws allow? Chip in for new sidewalks or lighting along a dilapidated stretch of 79th Street. Contribute toward a job-training program. Help clean up a brownfield.Thoughts?