I started this blog during the 2015 aldermanic campaign because I wanted to see some positive economic change in the 50th Ward. Such change remains a goal that clearly will have to be accomplished without any help from the current alderman. Healthy, diverse, sustainable business districts aren’t built on sales of phone cards, bottled water, cucumbers, and lottery tickets, and she just doesn’t get it. The neighborhood needs
- Better businesses, instead of the glut of cell phone, convenience, grocery, and general merchandise stores that are struggling in a market over-saturated with such businesses
- More diversity in dining options
- Clothing stores that have wide appeal to a variety of residents
- Clean streets, clean stores, clean store windows, and attention to details, like attractive window displays
Like other neighborhoods, we need some cultural attractions. West Ridge lacks a central cultural arts center, performing arts space, and an arts district. Yes, there are cultural offerings at Indian Boundary Park, but we are a neighborhood without a single art gallery or theater.
Our commercial districts are plagued by vacant and poorly-maintained storefronts. Very few storeowners or commercial property owners seem to care about maintenance or merchandising, and the overall impression is one of dirt and decay. The economic downslide won’t end until there’s an alderman committed to working with existing businesses to meet the needs of residents, bringing in new businesses, and creating jobs.
I believe it’s wrong for business and political powers to ignore the needs and interests of residents when decisions are made about commercial development and other issues impacting the community’s general quality of life as well as property values. I believe that neighborhood residents need to have a seat at the table and a voice in the discussions. We are invested in this ward, too.
But this blog is about more than politics. It will highlight the people, places, and neighborhood organizations that make our community such a good place to live despite the political malarkey–the residents, the artists, and the business owners who contribute so much to this neighborhood.
50th Ward Follies will introduce readers to residents who are working for positive change, and spotlight businesses that reflect our diversity and deserve our support. It will also highlight the activities of community organizations working hard to educate and inform residents on various issues in different areas of the ward. Read our Events page for a schedule of important community events, meetings, and cultural activities.
I hope you’ll enjoy your visits and the information you’ll find here. Feel free to leave a comment or two. I have very strong opinions, and I’d like to hear yours, too.
One last thing: Because I believe that “Corruption begins when things are not called by their proper names,” the proper names will always be used here.