Results of Lathrop Homes Redevelopment Open House Saturday can impact many communities on Chicago's near northwest side


Jens Jensen was the master planner of the original site

What started in 2008 regarding the redevelopment of Julia C. Lathrop Homes at Damen, Diversey and Clybourn has been going through twists and turns in the last year. Many communities will be impacted by this project and many people are concerned. On Sat., Nov. 17, from noon until 4 p.m., Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Lathrop Community Partners (LCP)  are holding an open house  at New Life Community Church, 2958 N. Damen Ave.

The owners of the 32-acre site, CHA, and the site development team, LCP, will be on hand to answer questions and listen to suggestions and comments about the three scenarios they are proposing for the site. According to the press release, "Following the initial open house, CHA and LCP will use the community input to inform and refine a second generation of plans. These plans will then be presented at a second community meeting slated for early next year. Additional community meetings will take place in spring 2013 working toward a final master plan that will have been shaped by the community process."

High density, congestion and potential annihilation of a historic site are the major points of the objections.


During initial 3 meetings, slides like this showing possible rehab were shown

When the CHA and LCP released the three scenarios, they said they were going to finalize the planning process by February and that they were going to delay presenting them to the public between August and November. Waguespack found that unacceptable because the delay of the public meetings would not allow his constituents an opportunity to "initiate a coordinated response to the unreasonable and damaging elements in these plans before it was too late."

"My office has worked with affordable housing organizations, preservation groups, developers, the CHA, and our 32nd Ward neighborhood organizations in the hope of working collaboratively toward a plan that provided an appropriate mix of public, affordable, and market rate units," explains 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack. "Proper consideration for preservation concepts and, above all, density must guide any successful plan for the site. Unfortunately, LCP and the CHA have neglected the key aspects of a true community based planning process. The result is best described as wish lists for the development team that demonstrates complete disregard for how the site's development will impact surrounding neighborhoods."


What is next?

Waugespack held a public meeting which resulted in 13 organizations signed on to a letter sent to Charles Woodyard, CHA's CEO.  

On Tues. Nov. 13, 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno is reported to have said, "I do not believe that any of the individual scenarios on the table are an acceptable plan to move Lathrop Homes forward.” He also said earlier, "It is my sincere hope that the entire neighborhood will participate in the open houses to provide valuable feedback regarding various potential concepts and ideas."

CHA's director of development, James Isaacs, is now calling the three scenarios concepts and that they are "far from final drafts of the Lathrop project."



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