Start Time: 10:12
Members Present: Chairman Joe Moore (49), Vice-Chair Pat Dowell (3), Leslie Hairston (5), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Deb Mell (33), Walter Burnett Jr. (28), Ariel Reboyras (30), James Cappleman (46)
Department of Planning and Development Members who testified: Efrain Hernandez-Diaz, Sarah Wilson, Bryan Esenberg, Michele Rhymes, Tracy Sanchez, Cary Steinbuck
All 12 items on the Housing and Real Estate Committee’s agenda passed in a relatively short meeting Monday. The only hiccup in the meeting was Chairman Moore (49) repeatedly mistaking new committee member Ald. David Moore (17) with Ald. Gregory Mitchell (7), which he soon corrected after the aldermen seated around him whispered repeated corrections. More Moores, more problems.
Monday’s action included a vote to re-up the Low Income Housing Trust Fund’s status as local administering agent for the Illinois Rental Housing Support Program (RHSP), meaning it distributes state rental housing support money in Chicago. Peter Strazzabosco, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Planning and Development, says the agreement’s been renewed every four years since Illinois established the RHSP roughly a decade ago.
Tom McNulty, the president of the LIHTF since its founding 25 years ago, says the fund is “breathing again” after a court case over the constitutionality of certain fees collected for the RHSP held up funds for two years. McNulty says the Fund is ready to find new projects and expand services. Several aldermen took time to praise the Fund’s work, including Chairman Moore (49), Ald. James Cappleman (46), and Ald. Pat Dowell (3), though Ald. Dowell had some questions about the frequency and transparency of the Fund’s subcontracting bidding process. Ald. David Moore said he looks forward to working with the Fund’s board to find ways to keep 17th Ward residents from being displaced.
The committee also approved an amendment to a redevelopment agreement with Wings Metro LLC’s multi-use project in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. The $8.2M project converts an old police station into a domestic violence shelter. The city already approved the negotiated sale of the land, but Monday’s ordinance clarified that the city is responsible for remediation of off-site contaminants found in a nearby alley left from an old gasoline tank.
The committee also approved the $36K sale of a city-owned vacant lot at 265 E. Garfield Park that would become a landscaped venue with a pavilion for performances. The space will be leased to University of Chicago for arts programming. Ald. Dowell told the committee she had some questions about the pavilion. The committee voted to approve the issue for council, but Moore offered Dowell an opportunity to include further information for the full report to Council. The city also approved sale of a parcel at 1245-1257 E. 72nd Pl. for $88K that Kimbark Studios is planning to use as a public sculpture garden, and the conveyance of a once-vacant corner lot at 4200 S. Vincennes Ave. to Neighbor Space, who is already using the area as a block garden.
Vice-Chair Dowell will present the committee’s report at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, as Ald. Moore will be out of town for a meeting.