Category Archives: news

One Central Department of Planning Response Letter

Following a meeting with the Department of Planning and Development, the Landmark Development team received the following response letter outlining the departments concerns regarding the proposed One Central development. These concerns include the feasibility of the transit connections proposed by the developer, the overall FAR of the project, the effects of recent State legislative actions on the financing of the development, and more.

This meeting and response letter are NOT the formal submission of a Planned Development application for the One Central development. The meeting marks an early stage in the Planned Development process where the City gets a high-level overview of a potential project and developers then get the opportunity to revise, submit or abandon their proposal based on the responses provided by the City.

For more information on the Planned Development process, please click here.

A pdf copy of the 4 page letter from the Department of Planning and Development can be downloaded below

eSports Facility and CPD Motorcycle Missions Town Hall Meeting

As part of Alderman Dowell’s Town Hall meeting on November 23rd, Smash proposed constructing a new eSports facility to be located at 2500 S. Wabash Ave. In addition, the 1st District Police gave a presentation on their efforts to stop unruly motorcycle riding throughout the 3rd Ward. A copy of both Smash’s and the 1st District’s presentations can be found below.

For a full recap of all the presentations given at the town hall meeting, please click here to visit Alderman Dowell’s Facebook page.

Statement on the 2021 City of Chicago Budget

On November 24th, my colleagues and I in City Council voted to approve the 2021 budget for the City of Chicago by a vote of 29 to 21. After a lengthy and rigorous review process, which I led as Chair of the City Council Committee on the Budget and Government Operations, I am proud to have voted in support of this budget which reflects the financial reality that the pandemic has inflicted on Chicago, while still protecting needed services that residents depend on every day.


Before discussing the budget specifics, some of which I have previously shared in previous e-communications, I would like to thank the many residents that I have met with, spoken to, and written to me to share their thoughts on the budget proposal. Your input and insights have helped me to better understand how this budget will affect the everyday lives of 3rd Ward residents.


We are in a global economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic–and as a result, our city faces fiscal peril like never before. This situation left us with no easy options. But I am grateful that together, we passed a fiscally responsible spending plan that can put our city on track to recover from this pandemic. And in addition, within this budget, we continue to make investments in affordable housing, mental health, homelessness, and violence prevention that reflect our values rooted in equity and inclusion. Furthermore, thanks to meaningful collaboration with our partners in the labor movement, we were able to avoid hundreds of layoffs to our essential city workers that just a few months ago seemed inevitable. Those workers are our neighbors, and provide irreplaceable public services. They helped keep our city moving forward in the darkest days of this pandemic. To send them to the unemployment rolls during this crisis would be unconscionable. 


Through savings and efficiencies, new revenues, and thoughtful investments, we have addressed a historic $1.2 billion deficit – 65% of which resulted directly from the economic impacts of the pandemic. 
Notably, this budget includes:

  • An additional $1.7 million for youth programming for a total of $38 million in funding for 2021
  • $2 million in new funding for affordable housing above existing 2020 levels
  • Nearly $6 million for economic recovery efforts to support workforce training, help small businesses build capacity and assist with job creation and recruitment
  • An additional $10 million in community-based violence prevention efforts, bringing the total amount of funding for violence prevention in 2021 to a record high of $36 million
  • $430.9 million in improved fiscal management and savings
  • Dedicated funding for a Capital Plan that will help address our City’s backlog of infrastructure needs while also putting thousands of hard working Chicagoans back to work

This vote also included some extraordinarily difficult choices. After exploring every possible avenue, we ultimately confirmed that a modest property tax increase was unavoidable if we were to avoid financial disaster for our local economy in these unprecedented times. Homeowners are struggling right now, which is why we considered this path as an absolute last resort. 


I want to assure you that we analyzed every line of this budget, and we asked tough questions of every department head. It became abundantly clear that the only way to implement a structural solution to avoid this property tax hike would be to impose a large number of layoffs that would surely have impacted public services. To me, this was an unacceptable option. As we have seen nationwide, we are still in a pandemic and we must maintain essential services, and support for those who are most in need, as we battle to keep our neighbors and communities safe. This is not the time for cuts that would jeopardize the delivery of essential public services.


Some have proposed avoiding the tax increase by simply borrowing more. But taxpayers would also foot the bill for that option–and just like other borrowing, it would ultimately cost us even more due to interest and fees. 
According to the City, this property tax increase, which would be billed for the first time in 2022, would equal 1.3% of our current tax bills. You can find an explanation of how property taxes are imposed here.


Finally, many Chicagoans through this budget process voiced their desire to see us reimagine the role of police in our communities. We heard you–the police cannot always be the first and only responders on every call for help from our residents. That’s why the 2021 budget will include the launch of two pilot programs that will ensure trained mental health professionals and community paramedics respond to certain 911 calls, rather than just police officers. 


This new public safety pilot program is in addition to the many investments your tax dollars have contributed to in the 3rd Ward. Over the last couple years, working together we have been able to open new schools in the South Loop (South Loop Elementary School) and Bronzeville (Bronzeville Classical School), rebuild miles of roads and sidewalks, construct new parks (Hadiya Pendleton Park, 21st and Prairie Park, Beasley Elementary School Playground, Williams Park Fieldhouse), attract new businesses in every neighborhood in the ward, build hundreds of new market rate and affordable housing units where there wasn’t residential development before, and renovate aging public transit (Garfield Green Line, McCormick Place Green Line, Red Line Renovation). Your tax dollars go back to support you and your community.


Leading this budget process was not easy. But you have entrusted me to be your conscientious and vigilant fiscal steward. I feel it is my duty to make difficult but needed decisions to guarantee the healthy future of all of our communities. The 2021 budget puts our public safety and public health first, and it will serve as our roadmap towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


I thank you for your thoughtful input, and for continuing to put your trust in me as your alderman throughout this difficult time.
Sincerely,


Pat Dowell

Alderman, 3rd Ward

Motor Row Streetscape Construction Begins Monday, April 6, 2020

The Chicago Department of Transportation has announced that construction on the Motor Row Streetscape began on Monday, April 6, 2020.

For the construction schedule, diagrams and community outreach plan, please see the PowerPoint presentation included below.

CPS Guidance for COVID-19 Closures

Chicago Public Schools Closure Notice
The past several weeks have been difficult as we’ve watched the COVID-19 health crisis impact countries around the world, and now our home. Today, Governor Pritzker announced that all Illinois schools, including Chicago Public Schools, will close beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. Classes are currently scheduled to resume on Tuesday, March 31. School-sponsored activities, events, field trips, and athletic events are also canceled during this time.
I recognize the impact this closure will have on our community, and I know it will greatly burden our students, staff, and working families who rely on our schools. I want to assure you that COVID-19 will not stop our work on behalf of children. We are one family with one goal, and we are here to support you.
Important Information for Families and Staff
 
All school buildings will be closed for deep cleaning. Schools will be closed to all students and staff beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. Only environmental cleaning experts will be allowed in school buildings along with essential staff. Families should not send their children to schools.
Healthy meals will be available to our students. We recognize that our schools provide healthy meals to many of our students, and we will be providing free food boxes that will contain three days of breakfast and lunches for every student in the household. All families will be able to pick up meals at their nearest CPS school beginning Tuesday, March 17, between 9 a.m and 1 p.m. daily. Lunchroom staff will prep, bag, and provide meals outside of the school building.
Schools will be sending enrichment resources and materials home with students. On Monday, March 16, school-based staff will send resources home in hard copy and online format. School-based staff members will also help students remember to take supplies, personal belongings, medications, and other materials home with them.
All full-time and regular hourly school staff will be paid throughout this time. School staff will not have access to school buildings during the closure.
Central and network offices will be open only for emergency personnel. Emergency personnel are considered to be those who perform essential district functions. All other central and network office staff will be asked to telework or will be excused with pay. More information for staff will be forthcoming over the weekend.
Polling sites will remain at CPS locations. Deep cleaning at those schools will not begin until after the primary election.
If you have questions, email familyservices@cps.edu or call CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) until 7 p.m. tonight. We are working to update our Frequently Asked Questions, and encourage you to check here for updates later tonight. Specific guidance to principals and staff will be forthcoming.
If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.eduor by calling the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437).
  • If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and did not have direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, please contact your primary care provider.
  • If you are concerned that you or your child have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835.
For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit:
Sincerely,
Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools
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All CPS Schools to Offer Free Meals for Pick Up During Closure Beginning Tuesday, March 17
*Important Information for Families* Families Can Pick Up Free Meals Outside of ALL CPS District Schools During the Closure
CHICAGO – Following the school closure mandate issued by Governor JB Pritzker Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will close beginning Tuesday, March 17. During the closure, all CPS schools will offer free meals for pick up. Important information for families can be found below:
WHAT: Free meals for all CPS students outside of all CPS school locations.
WHEN:

  • Beginning Tuesday, March 17 through the closure, between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m, Monday through Friday.

WHERE:

  • ALL CPS district schools will offer free meals for students.
    • Select charter school locations will also offer meals; a link to those locations can be found here.
  • Families can pick up meals outside of their nearest CPS school – they DO NOT need to pick up meals at their school of attendance.
    • Any student (district school, charter school, options school, etc.) can access meals at the location that’s closest to them.
  • Families can find their nearest CPS school at CPS.edu/map.

DETAILS ON MEALS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • Each child in the household will receive a food bag which will contain three days of breakfast and lunch meals.
  • Enrichment activity packets will also be available for pick up at these locations.

UPDATES AND CONTACT:

  • For additional information and the latest updates, families should visit cps.edu/coronavirus.
  • Families with questions about meals and other family services can call the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or email familyservices@cps.edu

Chicago Public Schools serves 355,000 students in 642 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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Utility Company COVID-19 Updates

ComEd Taking Steps to Support Customers
Company suspending service disconnects, providing resources and payment accommodations for those who may have challenges paying their monthly energy bill
CHICAGO (March 13, 2020) – In coordination with work being led by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to protect Illinoisans, ComEd is taking action to help its customers with payment assistance programs and by imposing a moratorium on service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges through at least May 1, as many businesses and institutions are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by taking temporary measures to shut down or limit operations to control the spread of COVID-19.
ComEd is also taking steps to expand awareness of the programs in place to help customers through temporary or extended financial hardship and will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options. “We know this time is difficult for so many of our customers, who may be experiencing health or economic challenges, and we want to be there to help them navigate the support available to them,” said ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez. “Through our own programs, as well as those offered by community and government partners, we’re committed to working with every customer who contacts us.”
“As one of the largest nonprofit community action agencies in the country, we see firsthand the impact that the necessary business slowdowns to slow the spread of this virus has on the people we serve,” said Harold Rice, president and CEO of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc. (CEDA). “We appreciate the support and partnership of ComEd in stepping in to help people who may now be facing an even greater hardship.”
Payment Options
Customers who struggle to cover their energy expenses have a growing range of assistance options from ComEd. The company offers financial assistance programs and flexible payment options, all of which can help eligible customers reduce budget strain and avoid disconnection of service. Particularly during this time when some customers are facing unforeseen circumstances, ComEd will work on a case-by-case basis with customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills to help them remain in service.
ComEd offers payment options such as budget billing, which averages payments out over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill, and flexible payment arrangements, including individually tailored payment installment plans. Customers who may be experiencing financial hardship should visit ComEd.com/CARE or call 800-334-7661.
Financial Assistance Programs
* Under the Residential Special Hardship program, customers who face financial hardship such as job loss, illness or military deployment, or senior or disability hardships, may be eligible for grants based on need.
* The CHAMP (ComEd Helps Activated/Veteran Military Personnel) program enables activated and deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves, and honorably discharged veterans to apply for grants of up to $1,000 once every two years, deferred payment plans, cancellation of late charges and other benefits.
* Under the Nonprofit Special Hardship program, nonprofit organizations that struggle to pay their electric bills may be eligible for grants of up to $2,000 once every two years to help them cover their expenses and continue to fulfill their missions and serve the community.
* The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) enables low-income households to apply for assistance paying for winter energy services. Administered by community agencies throughout the areas ComEd serves, LIHEAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state of Illinois.
“We make every effort to empower customers who face circumstances that make it hard to cover their energy expenses,” added Dominguez. “The last thing we want our customers and communities to worry about in the current situation is whether they will be disconnected. We are coordinating with state, city and county officials and are here for our customers and our nonprofit community partners, and we will consider additional ways to support them as necessary.”
People’s Gas Update on Coronavirus Response
Extending the winter moratorium
We are committed to promoting health & safety in the #Chicago communities we serve. As a regular business practice, we do not send disconnection notices to residential heating customers during the winter, except in situations with unsafe conditions.
In response to concerns about the coronavirus, we will further suspend disconnection notices until May 1 to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.
Waiving late fees associated with accounts
We understand that some of our customers will face financial hardships due to the spread of the coronavirus. Help is available. We are currently waiving late fees for our customers until May 1.
You might also be eligible for our Share The Warmth grant program. We provide grants (of up to $200) to help with heating bills. Learn more about how to apply: https://bit.ly/3apEltP.

 

COMCAST ANNOUNCES COMPREHENSIVE COVID-19 RESPONSE TO HELP KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
Comcast is taking steps to implement the following new policies and initiatives for the next 60 days in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
  • Pausing Our Data Plan: With so many people working and educating from home, we want our customers to access the internet without thinking about data plans.  While the vast majority of our customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, we are pausing our data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
  • No Disconnects or Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
  • Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: As announced recently, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
  • News, Information and Educational Content on X1 and Flex: For those with school-age students at home, we’ve created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media.  Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, we also have created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus.  Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
  • 24×7 Network Monitoring: Underpinning all of these efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support our network operations. We engineer our network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, and continuously test, monitor and enhance our systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage. Our engineers and technicians staff our network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. We are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.

February 2020 Town Hall Meeting at IIT

On February 11, 2020 Alderman Dowell hosted a Town Hall meeting at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Thank you to everyone that attended for an informative discussion on public safety, restricted cannabis zones, and a proposed development for 51st St. and State St. Below is a link to a copy of the presentation. If you have any questions, please contact the 3rd Ward Public Service Office at 773-373-9273  or Ward03@cityofchicago.org.

February 2020 IIT Town Hall Slides

Alderman Dowell and Congressman Davis Host CN Town Hall Meeting

Alderman Dowell and Congressman Danny Davis co-hosted a Town Hall meeting on Canadian National’s St. Charles Air Line Bridge Replacement project, which is ongoing and located in the South Loop just north of 16th St. Thank you to Tami Doig and Daystar School for graciously hosting this important discussion.

Below please find a slide detailing the current CN construction schedule (subject to change), as well as the full presentation from last night. Should you have any questions regarding the project, please contact the 3rd Ward Public Service Office at 773-373-9273 or email Ward03@cityofchicago.org.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)SCAL Schedule Changes-page-001

CN and SCAL Update January 30 2020

Town Hall Meeting – Cannabis, Public Safety, 2020 Census, 51st and State St. Development

February 11, 2020
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

IIT Town Hall Meeting 2020