September 18, 2019

Open Space Investments Proposed for Northwest and West Sides


Financial measures introduced to City Council today by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot would support open space improvements to a Northwest Side public school complex and a community garden on the West Side.

Hibbard-Edison Elementary Schools, 4900 block of North Sawyer Ave.
CPS would receive $3.5 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance for costs associated with rebuilding outdoor play areas shared by students of three schools and neighborhood residents. These schools include: Albany Park Multicultural Academy, Hibbard Elementary School and Edison Regional Gifted Center in Albany Park. Work would include upgrades to an existing playground; the addition of natural open spaces; new fencing, lighting and signage; and improved landscaping. The remainder of the $3.6 million project would be paid by Chicago Public Schools.

Harambee Community Garden, 455 N. Waller Ave.
Harambee Community Garden in Austin would be purchased from its private owner and redeveloped for permanent gardening use through $62,000 in Open Space Impact Fees (OSIF). Currently occupied by perennial flowers, shrubs and trees, the .75-acre site would be transferred to the non-profit NeighborSpace land trust, which would provide liability insurance for ongoing use by local gardeners. Improvements would include permanent water access and environmental enhancements. The $202,000 project would also be supported by $30,000 in 29th Ward aldermanic funds and private donations.

Open Space Impact Fees are generated by new residential development projects to improve and expand public open spaces within the City’s 77 community areas.


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