Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) and residents of the Southwest Side neighborhoods of Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood for a visit to the site of the annex to the Mount Greenwood Elementary School, where he thanked the community for their help in moving Chicago forward.
"No other city in the nation has taken such a major step to assure that our children learn in modern, up-to-date environments," Daley said at another stop on his "Neighborhood Appreciation Tour" he is making before he leaves office in May. "New school facilities give students and staff a fresh start, greater hope and an improved learning environment."
Since Mayor Daley assumed responsibility for CPS in 1995, CPS has opened 47 new schools.
"In the competition for the jobs of the tomorrow, which are the key to Chicago's future, nothing is more important than continuing to improve our schools," Daley said. "We must pay special attention to improving our neighborhood elementary and high schools, as we are here with this new facility."
The new $8 million Mount Greenwood School Elementary Annex at 1841 S. Homan Ave. will open in the fall of 2011. The new annex will be approximately 26,000 square feet and will feature eight classrooms, a kitchen and dining facility and a linked connection to the existing school building.
Mayor Daley said that nearly all of the dozen schools in the 19th Ward have shown admirable academic growth over the past several years, led by the Keller Regional Gifted Center, where 100% of students met or exceeded state standards on the ISAT in 2010.
During the visit to Mt Greenwood School, Mayor Daley highlighted some of the major accomplishments that the City and the residents of the Morgan Park, Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods have accomplished together:
- The Chicago Public Schools have constructed, renovated and upgraded a number of other school facilities in the 19th Ward including:
- The Chicago Agricultural School, at 3857 W. 111th St., which was built in 1997. A large campus park now surrounds the school.
- The Alice L. Bernard School at 10354 S. Charles St., which was renovated in 1995 including a new campus park.
- Morgan Park High School, which received extensive renovations in 1991.
- The City also built a campus park and playground in 2002 in front of the Henry R. Clissold School at 2350 W. 110th Pl.
- The City opened the new Beverly Branch Library at 1962 W. 95th St. in 2009 and the new Mount Greenwood Branch in 1991. The Walker Branch Library, the oldest building in the Chicago library system, was substantially renovated in 1995.
- In 2002, the City supported the move of the Beverly Arts Center to a new building by providing the land for a dollar. As a result, this important community anchor offers expanded cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike, including: live music and other performance entertainment, an educational outreach program to area local schools, a theater series for children and field trip opportunities for school groups.
- The City has invested in public safety infrastructure throughout the community, including:
- The creation of the 22nd District Police Station in 2004 at 1900 W. Monterey Ave., one of the first new stations opened through the Neighborhoods Alive program. The new police station is a modern, state-of-the-art facility that addresses the needs the community and of 21st century law enforcement. It replaced the previous station built in 1938.
- The 2008 construction of the new $9 million firehouse for Engine Company 121 at 1724 W. 95th St., reflecting the City’s ongoing commitment to equip our firefighters with the most current facilities and technology to do their jobs.
- The City has also made a number of improvements to parks and open space throughout the community, including:
- The new Edna White Community Garden at 1812 W. Monterey Ave.
- A new $1.2 million, TIF-supported playground at Blackwelder Park near 115th and Homewood Avenue.
- The future Fireman’s Memorial Park at 106th and Western Avenue.
- The 24-acre expansion of Mount Greenwood Park, at 3721 W. 111th St., in 1991. The expansion allowed for the installation of the ice rink in 1997; the rehabilitation of the athletic field in 2007; and improvements to the playground.
- 1.25 acres of wetlands acquired in 1992 for Ridge Park, 9512 S. Wood St..
- Through the City’s Capital Improvement Program, the Chicago Department of Transportation is currently working on nearly $4 million worth of WPA-era street reconstruction projects in the ward, which consists of rebuilding the 1930’s residential streets with new pavement, curb and gutter, sewers, sidewalks and lighting. The construction area is between 116th Place and 118th Street from Longwood Drive to Western Avenue.
- The City has invested nearly $5 million in TIF-assisted infrastructure and business improvements throughout the area, including:
- Streetscape and reconstruction projects along the area’s main thoroughfares, including 95th and 103rd Streets.
- New retail developments, including a 25,000-square-foot store on 95th and Leavitt; and the Walgreen's shopping plaza at 111th and Kedzie.
- Through the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF), area businesses like Reed DL Property received a matching grant of $150,000 to rehabilitate a building at 3301 W. 111th St.
- Launched in the 19th Ward by Mayor Daley in September of 2000, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative fosters an appreciation of the Chicago Bungalow, encourages their rehabilitation and assists owners with adopting these homes to current needs, which in turn helps to strengthen our neighborhoods. To date, more than 10,000 bungalows have been certified and more than 4,800 families citywide have used the grants and other incentives offered by the HCBA to purchase or rehab their homes.
"These projects represent only the highlights of what we have accomplished in the 19th Ward," Mayor Daley said. "I’m here today to thank every resident, every business and every not-for-profit for their service, support and cooperation on all these projects."
"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."
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