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Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined Austin residents and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new facility to be constructed and operated by New Moms, Inc. that will provide residential and support services to adolescent parents and their children.
The 40-unit center will be built at 5327 W. Chicago Av. on the site of the former Austin District police station, which operated from 1918 to 2005. The City sold the property to New Moms, Inc. and is supporting the project with $4.1 million in loans and tax credits.
"This new residential facility will serve a part of our population that really needs our help – adolescent parents and their children," Daley said at the 37th Ward stop on the "Neighborhood Appreciation Tour" he is making before he leaves office in May.
Daley said the project will allow New Moms, Inc., which was founded in 1983 in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, to double its supportive housing capacity and expand its critical parenting, career-readiness and child development programs.
The new facility will provide 40 units of permanent supportive housing for teenage mothers who are at-risk of homelessness. The $11.7 million complex will also include a day care facility open to community members, meeting rooms, administrative offices and training space. The project is expected to generate 12 new jobs and retain 31 current positions.
"Now we are able to help "recycle" this building and parking lot into an important community anchor that will provide young parents – who are trying to turn their lives around -- with help and with hope," the Mayor said.
The Mayor highlighted some of the things the City and 37th ward residents have accomplished together:
- He said one of the most noteworthy things that happened anywhere in the City in recent years happened in the 37th Ward in 2006 when Chicago's first Walmart store opened on North Avenue. He said that the opening of the North Avenue store set the stage for a strong, long-term relationship with Walmart in neighborhoods across Chicago and the creation of thousands of jobs for Chicagoans. There were 17,000 applicants for about 450 jobs when the Austin store opened. The majority the associates are from the West Side and are full-time employees. And the City has collected more than $4 million in sales tax revenue from the store since it opened.
- The City has also used more than $40 million in Tax Increment Financing funds to support important infrastructure and economic development projects in the ward, including:
- Rehabilitation of the old Helene Curtis factory at 1401 N. Cicero as a distribution center for Coca-Cola.
- Construction of the Washington Square shopping plaza at North and Cicero Avenues on the site of a former bus barn and CTA storage facility.
- In the past 14 years, three new Chicago Public Schools have opened in the Austin community: Prieto Math and Science Academy, McNair Elementary and West Park Academy of Fine Arts.
- CPS also has carried out renovations at four other schools -- Howe, Lewis, Hanson Park and Hay Academy.
- Three new campus parks have opened at Piccolo, Lewis and West Park School.
- A new playlot was constructed at Howe School.
- In 2006, the City opened the new West Chicago Avenue Branch Library at 4844 W. Chicago Av. The branch features special collections in African American history and culture and Chicago history.
- The Chicago Park District has carried out 11 separate improvement projects at 6 parks in the 37th Ward, including:
- Expansion of Kedvale Park
- Preservation of the historic LaFollette Park Fieldhouse
- Construction of new playgrounds at Augusta, Davis, LaFollette and De George Playlot parks.
- Construction of the ward's first interactive water feature at LaFollette Park
- The City Department of transportation has re-built Grand Avenue from Central to Lamon and this spring will complete similar work from Lamon to Pulaski.
- In 1996, the CTA re-opened a totally renovated Green Line, which serves many residents of the 37th Ward.
"So I'm here today to thank everyone in the 37th ward for their advice, support and cooperation. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time," Daley said.
"In everything we've tried to do, we have sought out ideas and opinions from everyone and tried to involve every community. The results of that cooperation can be seen in examples like the ones I have given today. And I believe they will lead Chicago to a future full of opportunity and prosperity," he said. # # #