JCCWRP UPDATE FROM HOWARD RIEGER, PRESIDENT
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
During our formative stages of renewal of JCCWRP, it has been important for us to move in many directions simultaneously. Getting our name back out in the community required a broad-based approach and we will continue to take advantage of the many opportunities to connect with new individuals and to work with like-minded organizations.
It is also crucial for us to have a focus on outcomes, and for that reason, we must keep a few ongoing objectives front and center on our agenda, issues such as the revitalization of the Devon and Touhy business districts, removing eyesores in our midst, and advocating for amenities in our parks and for an improved public library. These are the things by which we will be judged and by which we will evaluate ourselves in the months ahead.
Shalom Klein is working constantly to attract new businesses to WRP. At the same time, we also must do everything that we can to encourage the improvement of existing businesses, which if accomplished will go a long way toward upgrading the area. Over the next nine months, the fact that a UIC graduate seminar on Commercial Strip Revitalization will concentrate its talent and energy on recommendations for West Rogers Park should greatly aid in our work.
Moving public bureaucracies is not easy, but that is just what we are attempting to do with regard to the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
Lerner Park, which is underutilized could attract more of the thousands of people who live in close proximity to it, but to do so, it would require additional amenities to make it a comfortable place to congregate. The Northtown CPL branch on California has high utilization, but just imagine what it could be if the facilities and infrastructure were not completely out of date? The MWRD controlled property at Devon and McCormick is a horrible eyesore and needs to be cleaned up. Wouldn't it be great if this western gateway to WRP looked attractive?
The key to responsive public agencies is the development of coalitions that are representative of the demography of a neighborhood. That is just what we are assembling in each of these instances. Let us know of anyone who you think might join us in this effort.
We will be certain to keep our priorities at the top of our agenda.