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Verella’s Round-Up: JHO Follow-up; Status of Evictions

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Well, the Just Housing Ordinance has been in effect for four months – so how has it affected your application process? Have you decided not to consider an applicant’s criminal history at all? If you have, please note that there is a difference of opinion among attorneys: some believe the JHO only applies if a landlord considers criminal history in renting; other attorneys believe the JHO is not limited in this respect and applies across the board to all residential and commercial rentals and sales. If you don’t want to be the “test case,” I suggest you comply even if you don’t consider criminal records.

 

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Around Rogers Park: The New Normal


Life in Rogers Park is very different today than it was just a short time ago. In many ways, what Rogers Park is currently experiencing is similar to what the rest of Chicago and, for that matter, the world are all experiencing – a radical shift away from whatever previously constituted our “normal lives” as the economy falls to ruins all around us while we shelter in place to slow the virus’ spread.

 

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Around Rogers Park: In Memoriam


We mourn the loss of Auxiliary Corporal Mario Araujo of the Chicago Fire Department. Mr. Araujo died Tuesday, April 7 of complications from COVID-19. Mr. Araujo began working for the Fire Department in 2003. For most of that time, and continuing until his death, Mr. Araujo worked out of Engine Company #102 on the 7300 block of North Clark Street on Truck #25. Mr. Araujo was 49 years old.

 

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Inclusionary Housing Task Force Underway


The first meeting of the Inclusionary Housing Task Force (IHTF) was held on December 12, 2019. The twenty members of this committee represent a cross-section of neighborhood activists, affordable housing providers, and for-profit developers. The IHTF is co-chaired by three Adlermen: Harry Osterman (48th Ward), Walter Burnett (27th Ward) and Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward).

 

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New Mayor, Fresh Start for Chicago

On February 26, 2019, Lori Lightfoot was elected Mayor of Chicago. Her victory was both historic and surprising. When she announced her run, Lightfoot was relatively unknown and a political outsider. She is also female, African-America and an out-lesbian – in marked contrast with almost every past occupant of that coveted fifth floor office on Clark Street. Consider that, in its less than 200-year history, Chicago has had exactly one other female mayor (Jane Byrne), two African-American mayors (Harold Washington and Eugene Sawyer), and no publicly-declared LGBT mayors. There has certainly never been a mayor that checked all three boxes. Suffice it to say that few people took Lightfoot’s candidacy seriously when she first announced her run.

 

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606 Development Ban

Although this is not a Rogers Park story, we should all be paying attention to the ban on demolitions that was recently approved by the Chicago City Council, effectively halting development near the western half of the 606 Trail.

 

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Around Rogers Park: Progress Report on Heartland Redevelopment

 

The redevelopment of the Heartland site is on schedule to break ground this spring. After being denied a zoning variance that would have allowed a denser building with six, on-site affordable units, developer and new RPBG Director Sam Goldman is proceeding with a five-story, 30-unit apartment building with 2,554 square feet of ground floor retail space. Residential units will be located on floors two through five and will include nine (9) 1BR/1BA units, nineteen (19) 2BR/2BA units, and two (2) 3BR units – one with two bathrooms and one with three.

 

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Around Rogers Park: January 11 Storm Devastates Beaches at Rogers and Howard Parks

 

As anyone who read RPBG Director Tom Heineman’s excellent article in the Fall Newsletter knows, rising lake levels and the effects of climate change are having a severe impact on Chicago’s shoreline. Rogers Park is one of the neighborhoods that has borne the brunt of Lakefront erosion, given the geography of many of its parks with their small footprints and limited width between city streets and Lake Michigan waves.

 

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Around Rogers Park: Clark-Estes Apartments Now Open

 

Image courtesy of Chicago Defender

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on the afternoon of Thursday, February 6th marked the opening of the Clark-Estes Apartments, bringing to a happy ending the long saga of this troubled site. The four-story apartment property combines 54 apartment units, 3,350 square feet of ground floor commercial space and a 20-car garage – a lower parking requirement due to the property’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) status. The new building contains a mix of 15 studios, 21 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom units. Although construction began in October 2018, the story of this site goes back much further.

 

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Around Rogers Park: Howard-Ashland Site Development Unveiled

 

The Alden Foundation and ArtSpace unveiled plans for a mixed-income, LGBTQ-friendly senior housing and live/work development at the long-vacant corner of Ashland Avenue and Howard Street. The site originally housed the Lerner Building which was torn down in 2007. The site was later acquired by the city under former Alderman Joe Moore in an attempt to spur development. Despite several previous attempts, the site has not been developed and remains vacant, except for community garden plots which are used during warm-weather months.

 

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Bright Lights Dimming in the Big City?

 

Everyone knows the story of the post-recession economy. As foreclosed homes piled up and personal credit was ruined, many people turned to rentals as the only alternative to home-ownership to meet their housing needs. Demand for apartments increased even further as the Millennial generation came into its own, moving out of their childhood homes and starting careers and new lives as adults.

 

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