April 25, 2011

Mayor Daley Visits Expanding Textile Company During Neighborhood Appreciation Tour

Eastern Accents Expands in Former City-owned Building in Pulaski Corridor
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Mayor Richard M. Daley today visited Eastern Accents, a textile and manufacturing company that recently expanded after buying a city-owned building at a reduced cost, and thanked the residents of the 30th and 31st Wards for their help in moving the City forward.

"Manufacturers are the backbone of our local economy, and the products they produce and the jobs they provide keep Chicago competitive with the rest of the world. There are signs that our economy is beginning to turnaround, and the expansion of Eastern Accents in Chicago provides hope for a better future," Daley said at another stop on the "Neighborhood Appreciation Tour" he is making before he leaves office in May.

Eastern Accents recently purchased an 89-year-old building at 4227 W. Belmont for $380,000, with a land write down of $120,000. This sale was completed after Eastern Accents had previously rehabbed their primary facility at 4201 W. Belmont and built a 60,000 square foot addition at the south end of the parcel.

This sale completed a campus development in which Eastern Accents now owns and has improved all of the property along Belmont from Tripp Ave., west to the Chicago Milwaukee railroad and south to Barry Ave.

"Keeping manufacturing in our city means getting people back to work and creating new jobs. It is companies like Eastern Accents that will be critical to Chicago's future economic success," Daley said.

In addition to Eastern Accents, other companies have benefited from locating in these two wards.

The city has dedicated $40 million in TIF-generated public infrastructure, schools and business-related improvements throughout the 30th and 31st wards, including:

  • Rehab of the landmark Florsheim Shoe Company warehouse at Belmont and Pulaski as 175 mixed-income residential units.
  • Acquisition and development of the former Wix Auto site, at 4901 W. Belmont, as green space.
  • $25 million for the new Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School

The City also used TIF funds as Small Business Improvement Funds to help owners of commercial and industrial properties to repair or remodel their facilities for their own business or on behalf of tenants. Approximately 15 small businesses in these wards have received a SBIF grant, including Grota Restaurant, at the 3100 block of North Central, which received a $105,000 grant.

TIF funds also supported TIFWorks, which stimulates business success by funding workforce-training costs for companies located in tax increment financing (TIF) districts.

There are four TIFWorks projects in the 30th ward, including one being funded by the Pulaski Industrial TIF for $78,000 to Aspira, Illinois at 3909 W. Fullerton for Management, Excellence in Youth Service and Safety Training.

To help improve education in these wards, the Chicago Public Schools have opened two new schools, Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School and North-Grand High School, and made improvements to 14 others.

Daley noted that In addition to schools, that city has carried out its commitment for new and affordable housing.

  • Madres Unidas is a new construction, scattered site development in the Humboldt Park and West Town communities consisting of 36 rental units in 11 buildings. The apartment buildings were built on City- and privately-owned parcels, providing affordable housing to lower-income residents.
  • Los Vecinos Apartments at 4249 W. North Ave. provides 62 units of high-quality housing with support services. The development implements a care system that transitions people who are homeless into permanent housing and provides stability and hope. This building is about transforming lives and giving people a new beginning.
  • The Senior Suites of Kelvyn Park incorporates a comprehensive 85-unit senior rental facility with a Senior Services Center run by Department of Family and Support Services and is part of a plan to create housing and needed support services for seniors.This includes the Kelvyn Park Satellite Senior Center. The center is open to all Chicagoans, ages 55 and above. Seniors, age 60 and better, are offers computer classes, activities, and a fitness center.
  • A Green Bungalow Block project in the 5000 block of West Wolfram Avenue showcased a fully rehabbed green bungalow and the different way to make these iconic homes more energy efficient and adaptable for today’s families. An additional 19 other homes on the block received grants to make energy efficeint upgrades possible.

"Further, there are seven green roofs in these wards that were either required through our Sustainable Development Policy or were supported by our Green Roof Grant program or TIF funding." Daley said.

The City also created a Mobile Food Pantry to serve low-income residents. The City partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to provide two grocery bags of fresh produce and shelf stable products to residents in low income areas and/or areas with limited access to mainstream grocery stores. In 2010, the Mobile Food Pantry was held 77 times at 42 sites and served over 18,200 residents from April through September.

The Chicago Park District has made many improvements to parks and open space throughout the community, including improvement projects at 10 parks, and new playgrounds at 12 parks. The city also rehabbed the field houses at at Kelvyn Park in and Blackhawk Park, and installed artificial turf courts at Kilbourn, Kosciuszko, and Greenbaum parks

During Daley's tenure as Mayor, the North Pulaski Branch of the Chicago Public Library opened, which includes a African American Heritage and Hispanic Heritage collection.

The CTA has undertaken big projects that have benefited these Northwest Side communities over the past 22 years.

  • Improvements and enhancements have been made to CTA bus routes including extending service hours until 10 pm on the 65 Grand and 73 Armitage and extending service on the 73 Armitage.
  • The Blue Line underwent a track renewal project to increase travel time to O'Hare and downtown.

Since the inception of the CAPS program in the early 1990s, there has been significant involvement of Residents, Schools, Youth, Businesses, Faith-Based Institutions, and Community Based Organizations in the 30th & 31st Wards. This involvement has led to a strong partnership between the Police, the Community and the City, which has resulted in a decrease in crime and disorder. The result of this partnership is greater quality of life for the residents in these wards.

"These projects represent only the highlights of what we have accomplished in the 30th and 31st Wards,” Mayor Daley said. "And it is easy to identify the reason for improvements: cooperation."

"Thank you for participating in the process. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time," he said. "Working together we've brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future. It's been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor."