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Ald. Osterman: What Kinds Of Businesses Do You Want?

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Ald. Harry Osterman (48th)

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — New Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) is looking to his constituents to find out what kind of businesses he should be trying to attract to his ward’s many commercial strips.

Osterman was elected alderman in February, replacing longtime Ald. Mary Ann Smith, who retired at the end of her most recent term. His ward includes the Edgewater neighborhood, much of the Andersonville neighborhood, and the northernmost portion of the Uptown neighborhood.

His 48th Ward Consumer Survey allows residents, business owners and visitors to choose from a comprehensive list of what kinds of businesses they’d like to see on each of seven commercial strips. The 31 options on the checklist range from the hardware stores to wine shops, and from big-box retailers to fabric and yarn shops.

The commercial districts under consideration are the Little Saigon district on Argyle Street, which is lined largely with Vietnamese restaurants and other businesses; the small clusters of businesses near the Red Line ‘L’ stops at Thorndale, Granville and Berwyn avenues; the long up-and-coming strip on Bryn Mawr Avenue between Broadway and Sheridan Road; Clark Street from trendy Andersonville north to Devon Avenue; and busy Broadway and Sheridan Road themselves.

The survey also asks the mode of transportation each visitor uses to get to the districts, and what features visitors most value in a business district – be it convenience, parking, eco-friendliness, or a desire for local and independent shops.

“Your feedback will help us not only attract and retain great businesses but also the right businesses for our community,” Osterman says on his Web site.

The contrast among the commercial strips is vast. For example, Clark Street in Andersonville is made up almost entirely of small, independent shops – although a Starbucks, a Subway and a Potbelly’s sandwich shop have opened in recent years. But just a few blocks east, Broadway is dominated largely by strip malls, which include national chains such as Pier 1 Imports and Rent-a-Center, and large ethnic grocery stores such as the Golden Pacific Market.

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