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Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined community leaders and residents on a visit to the construction site of the new Engine Company 109, located at 2343 S. Kedzie Avenue and the new Little Village branch library located just south of the fire house at 2311 S. Kedzie Avenue.
At the event, Mayor Daley thanked residents for their help in moving the city forward.
“I’m here today to thank you for participating in the process. I want to thank every resident, every business and every not-for-profit for their advice, support and cooperation. Your ideas, your input and your time have helped move the city forward,” Daley said at one of the final stops on the “Neighborhood Appreciation Tour” he is making before he leaves office.
The new facilities will form a shared campus unified in design by coordinated brick and metal and integrated landscaping.
“As I have said many times, these facilities serve a dual purpose. They house our first responders, but they are also community anchors,” said Mayor Daley. “Despite the current economic challenges, we continue to move the city forward and continue to invest in our communities.”
The new one-story, 14,000 square-foot fire house features load bearing masonry with exterior finish brick and includes amenities such as accommodations for up to 16 firefighters, with four separate officer quarters; apparatus bay to house multiple emergency response vehicles; a hose tower and watch tower; a staff training/educational room; and a full-service kitchen and dining room.
Based on the design, the new 16,300-square-foot, one-story full service branch library includes: a book capacity of 45,000 volumes, a reading room seating capacity of 144 patrons; a multi-purpose room with seating capacity for 70 patrons; 32 hard-wired computers; wireless internet access throughout; and on-site parking for 16 vehicles.
Both facilities are currently in construction and projected to be complete in summer 2011.
For the first time in the history of the City’s municipal facilities, the design for the campus includes an innovative shared geothermal system between these two different types of facilities. This new system is expected to proactively reduce energy use.
Other sustainable features include green and reflective roofs, aggressive stormwater management, native and adaptive landscape species, automatic, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and lighting sensor and daylight harvesting.
During the visit, Mayor Daley highlighted some of the major accomplishments that the City and the residents of the South Side neighborhoods have accomplished together.
- In addition to the new fire house, the City has undertaken several strategic initiatives in the community to enhance public safety including:
- Partnerships with local police districts and community members that have resulted in anti-violence measures.
- Mentoring and sports programs to provide healthy and safe after-school and summer activities for youth of these communities.
- The Chicago Fire Department continues to educate Chicago’s residents about fire safety. The Department also offers free smoke detectors and installation of the detectors in homes is available in every community.
- The City opened the new Toman Branch Library at 2708 S. Pulaski Rd in 2005.
- The Chicago Public Schools have renovated and upgraded a number of school facilities in the 22nd and 24th Wards including:
- The construction of four new schools – Little Village High School, Little Village Academy, and Gary and Zapata Schools.
- Little Village High School, which is divided into four small schools to offer students a diverse and focused educational experience: Multicultural Arts School, Infinity High School, Greater Lawndale/little Village School for Social Justice and the World Language High School.
- The City also built six campus parks and 17 playgrounds at schools in the area since 1996.
- The City has also made a number of improvements to parks and open space throughout the community, including:
- The renovation of Piotrowski Park Playground in 2010, which features an interactive play area, pool, age-specific equipment and ADA improvements.
- The development of the Homan Square Community Center in 2001, a comprehensive recreation, health, family and education center to serve the community.
- The acquisition of more than 11 acres of new parkland and construction of five new playgrounds built by the Chicago Park District in the community since 1989.
- The City has invested nearly $50 million in TIF-assisted infrastructure commitments throughout the area, including:
- Street lighting improvements on Lexington, Roosevelt and Fillmore.
- ADA compliant curb ramps on sidewalks throughout the community.
- The development of the ICE/Plitt Theater.
- And more than $30 million is tentatively earmarked for the renovation of Collins High School, to install an artificial turf field in conjunction with the Chicago Park District, enhance library/media center and post secondary spaces and various other improvements.
- The Department of Housing and Economic Development has also allocated New Market Tax Credits to foster investment and job creation in these communities, including:
- Over $15 million to rehabilitate Homan Square Power House from a factory to the Homan Power House Academy Charter School, a project that created 60 jobs and resulted in quality education for youth of the area.
- The City also allocated more than $7 million in New Market Tax Credits to help Charter Steel Trading Company expand their company and keep jobs in the city.
- The City has increased rental and homeownership housing options on behalf of area residents, including:
- The development of properties into affordable rental and for-sale units such as Praise Apartments (32 units); Canaan Homes (40 single-family homes and 14 apartments); Little Village Homes (22 units).
- The creation of mixed income for-sale developments at Homan Square (78 units).
- The redevelopment of over 20 rental units into affordable condominiums sprinkled at various sites.
- Partnerships with affordable housing developers to renovate and save over 1,100 units from foreclosure and deterioration along Douglas and Independence Boulevards.
- The ongoing construction and renovation of hundreds more affordable units.
- Under the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, the agency renovated Albany Terrace Apartments to restore 350 units of quality, affordable housing for seniors. Fountain View Apartments were also upgraded under the Plan in 2008 to provide 45 new mixed-income units to area residents.
- The City has made several improvements to public transportation on behalf of residents, including the renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of Blue Line – now the Pink Line – which was in 2004 and brought more reliable and efficient rapid transit service.
- The Chicago Department of Transportation has invested in street resurfacing and improvements throughout the community, including Kostner and Kilbourn Streets from 31st through 33rd streets and Ogden Avenue.
“These projects represent only the highlights of what we have accomplished in the 22nd and 24th Wards,” 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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