Ald. Silverstein has called a meeting to discuss with residents the redevelopment of the abandoned 1-6 Cineplex and adjacent car wash at Devon and McCormick. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. at West Ridge Elementary School, 6700 North Whipple. This is your chance to tell the alderman that you want a cultural center, not a storage facility, as the western gateway to our neighborhood.
I understand from a posting on NextDoor West Ridge that other potential uses are being considered for the site. No specifics at this writing, although I’ve asked what those other developments might be and who is driving them. You can read the thread here.
It’s important that as many residents as possible attend, especially if you’d prefer that the neighborhood have at least one cultural institution, just one place where we could celebrate the arts and artists and cultures that are so important in building community. Those of us opposed to yet another storage facility need to be represented. This is not a decision that should be made without real input from the community.
Even though the alderman didn’t approve this project right away, I suspect that it is a done deal. I was told last week by someone who should know that the alderman has been getting calls telling her that she needs to approve the storage facility or some of her support will disappear. Frankly, given her victory in February, I don’t see how any threats to withdraw support would have any effect. Most of her campaign contributions came from outside the ward, although she did accept money from business interests within the ward and from individual resident donors.
No matter what she decides, Silverstein will disappoint a significant number of residents. Which part of her constituency loses on this issue will be a major indicator of the ward’s direction over the next four years.
[See related posts, “Storage Facility or Cultural Center?,” “West Ridge: No Cultural Institutions, Lots of Storage,” and “More Storage Coming” for the history of this proposed development.]