CONGRATS TO OUR NEW ALDERMEN IN CHICAGO’S MARQUETTE PARK COMMUNITY…
Honorable David Moore
Alderman-Elect of the 17th Ward
Alderman Moore represents our ALVUDO, Lithuanian Retirement Apartments at 6500 South California Avenue as well as Catalyst-Maria Schools (Christian Brothers); Saint Casimir Campus (Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago); Holy Cross Hospital (Sinai Health System); and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish and Shrine at Lithuanian Plaza Court and Washtenaw.
Honorable Derrick Curtis
Alderman-Elect of the 18th Ward
Alderman Curtis represents Seklycia/Lithuanian Human Services on the 2700 block of 71st Street. We are especially proud… because the Alderman holds the rank of Captain in the Illinois Police Reserves (IPR) located in his ward at 2735 West 71st Street.
The agenda for our community is all about economic development and how we could become another Andersonville or Ukrainian Village in Marquette Park. We are well familiar with crime on the Southwest Side…and we do remember the greatness of our community in former years. We were so concerned about this issue that back almost twenty years we had an advisory referendum to establish a Special Service Area (14) to address this security issue. The referendum passed overwhelmingly and we started with a robust security team of off duty police in police equipped vehicles to enforce that security. The security officers were to represent the residents and home owners in any complaint procedure…so that they did not have to file a complaint and go to court. The SSA 14 was and is funded by a property tax assessment from residential and commercial property with in the district. A voluntary commission is appointed by the Mayor at the recommendation of the local aldermen. The administrator of the district is Lithuanian Human Services (LHS); the current vendor selected by LHS is Illinois Homeland Security. As I said previously, this has been in operation close to twenty years and with the current economic situation and the property decline through board ups and foreclosures; the security personnel have declined to limited hours… we have only one vehicle with a security officer that is patrolling the area. With every good intention under the new contract; it was proposed to have upgraded vehicles and a bicycle patrol through out the area; this was never implemented. There was an offer by the Illinois Police Reserves (IPR) to the administrator and vendor to offer a voluntary bicycle patrol detail per the contract. These contract issues have never been addressed. But the question begs itself…why the crime in any area that shows so much promise? The Marquette Park Community is situated in an area of Marquette Park…a beautiful park that has an outstanding 18 hole golf course (privately administered). Go down a short distance on Marquette Road or 63rd Street and you will be at Midway International Airport and a growing hotel and restaurant complex with a connection to the CTA’s Orange line… a 20 minute jaunt to the Loop. The Ford City Shopping Mall was recently purchased by a large conglomerate and are currently doing a $20 million dollar renovation…we are 15 minutes from Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park down Southwest Highway…but what about Marquette Park…what do we need is an economic development plan that was used in Logan Square…Bucktown and Lincoln Park. We have a wonderful community hospital… Sinai Health System’s Holy Cross Hospital (equal to Little Company of Mary in Evergreen Park) that has transformed their own Sinai Hospital (adult/children) and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital to a medical center complex equal to none. With a trauma center that address the most serious of injuries in a modern complex of buildings. There is a future for Holy Cross here in Marquette. The Catalyst/Maria Schools an envisionment of the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers of the Midwest Region brings a necessary concern to education from preschool (Nativity Pre School) to adolescent years. They sponsor Lewis University in Romeoville southwest of Lemont. They also have a full functioning airport on site. From undergraduate to graduate level courses in education or business could be offered in the late afternoon and evening at Catalyst/Maria. The Saint Casimir Campus will now welcome over 200 Catholic Charities employees of the Archdiocese of Chicago…an enormous campus that can also host many organizations and projects of our Lithuanian community from the scouts to the UIC Lithuanian program to the Seniors. But what is most important that we can now deal with is economic development that can be handled in conjunction with the Aldermanic offices of both the 17th and 18th wards. We need to address all of the board ups on Lithuanian Plaza Court and 71st Street. We need new construction with a Red Lobster at 71st and Western (in the vacant parcel); and the beginning of new town home construction on these main streets and the arterial streets. A quick demolition of dangerous buildings. Streets need to be resurfaced. And most importantly construction has to begin with the complex at Marquette Village; and a developer has to be invited by our local aldermen to coordinate the various aspects of the new Marquette Park. You say it is not possible; and I say take a walk through Ukrainian Village at Western and Chicago Avenues…you will change your mind. Again my congratulations to Alderman-Elect Moore and Alderman-Elect Curtis!