Alderman Rey Colon
35th Ward Alderman Rey Colón has devoted his career to creating opportunities for children, families and community residents in need. Colón has a rich and varied history in community service. He has served the 35th Ward as its Alderman since May 1, 2003. His former positions include Executive Director of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Executive Director Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, and Area Manager of the Chicago Park District.
Colón has received both local and national recognition for program excellence in education, youth outreach, child development, volunteer empowerment-- areas that have enhanced the quality of life for all Chicago residents at the neighborhood level.As Alderman of the 35th Ward, Colón works to unite neighborhoods and include all constituents in the community-building process.His vision of a transparent local government took shape when he first began to seek political office.
Colón's political debut came in the 1999 race for 35th Ward Alderman. Colón joined the race after being approached by community groups and residents seeking change in the local administration.While he lost the election, Colón garnered an impressive 40% of the vote.
After the election, Colón was recruited by the YMCA to facilitate a $7.5 million fundraising effort and direct the construction the McCormick Tribune YMCA in Logan Square.Located at 1834 N. Cortland, the new YMCA opened its doors December 2001.
In 2002, Colón returned to a newly remapped 35th Ward to complete the unfinished political business which began in 1999.Considered Chicago's most hotly contested race at that time, Colón's campaign became a grassroots political movement against an 8-year incumbent who had the support of Chicago's Aldermen, the Mayor, the Governor and many other elected officials.
According to the Chicago Tribune, "the end-result was an historic electoral upset that shattered the status quo." Colón won the February 25, 2003 election for 35th Ward Alderman with 60% of the vote.Today Colón's work focuses on fulfilling the commitments he made on the campaign trail.
Alderman Colón promised during his campaign to include the community in decisions involving zoning and land use.In fact, Colón wrote a neighborhood referendum asking for public meetings before approving zoning changes which passed with a 96% margin.True to his word, he formed a Zoning Committee by asking community organizations to select its representatives.The 30-person body meets monthly, and considers all requests for zoning changes received by the Alderman's office.Colón also holds public meetings on each requested zoning change, as passed in the neighborhood referendum.Colón believes that his decisions should reflect the community consensus, and that decisions should be made in an open, public forum.
Colón also uses ballot referenda to learn the wishes of the community.When residents went to the polls in March 2004, they cast votes to tell Alderman Colón their opinions about creating a Landmark District running along Logan, Kedzie, Palmer and Humboldt Boulevards.The measure passed with an 87% margin, Alderman Colón followed through with the community's wishes.On October 7, 2004 the Chicago Commission on Landmarks voted to grant Preliminary Landmark Designation Status to this proposed District.
Open Space Plan
The 35th Ward ranks second in all of Chicago for the least amount of open and green space. In response to this problem, Colón and hundreds of concerned residents participated in a year-long series of public meetings hosted by the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and the Chicago Park District. These meetings took place prior to Colón's election; once elected, Colón worked closely with these city departments to complete this comprehensive plan which was passed by City Council.
The Open Space Plan proposed by Alderman Colón will bring more open, green spaces to the Ward. Components of the plan include an open plaza for community gathering and events on Logan Square, development of a skateboard park under the Kennedy Expressway at Logan Boulevard, new access and green space along the Bloomingdale line, bike paths to the river, and improvements in area parks.
Colón has recognized each of the Ward's public schools by creating an "Unsung Heroes" program honoring educators and volunteers that go above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in our children's lives. He's also instituted an attendance contest across all Ward schools to recognize children with exemplary attendance records.
City Council Assignments
Colón currently serves on the following Committees on the Chicago City Council:
- Rules and Ethics
- Economic, Capital and Technology Development
- Human Relations
- Special Events and Cultural Affairs
- Traffic Control and Safety
Alderman Rey Colón grew up in the Logan Square area graduating from Carl Schurz High School. He went on to study at Columbia College for Radio Broadcasting and completed the Community Management Program in the Office of Public Administration at Roosevelt University.
Alderman Colón lives with his fiancée, Martha Ramos, and his eighteen year-old daughters, Coraliris and Kristiana.