Lincoln Park Residents Furious About Likely Ward Split

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago aldermen are holding a public forum Wednesday to hear residents concerns over proposed ward redistricting plans.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, some Lincoln Park neighborhood residents are worried they might find themselves belonging to a different ward, if the proposed remapping of the 43rd Ward passes.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) will hold a public forum along with Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), who is chairman the remap process, at 6 p.m. Wednesday at DePaul University’s Cortelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont St.

A heated ward remap debate is presently underway in the City Council, following the release of the 2010 Census results as required by law.

The Latino Caucus has proposed one map, called the “Taxpayer Protection Plan.” The Black Caucus and old-guard white aldermen have another, called “Map for a Better Chicago.”

The latter map would divide the neighborhood across five different wards. It would be split between the 43rd, 44th, 32nd, 27th, and 2nd wards.

Currently, virtually all of Lincoln Park is located within the 43rd Ward. All of the other wards are located nearby, except the 2nd, currently represented by Ald. Robert Fioretti, which would move from its current location on the South and West sides to a North and Northwest side precinct that would stretch from the Lincoln Park-Lakeview area west all the way to Kimball Avenue.

This week, neighbors in the Park West district of Lincoln Park, located east of Clark Street between Diversey and Fullerton parkways, saw a yellow letter taped to their doors reading, “Notice: You are Being Disenfranchised.”

The letter complained that Park West residents elected Ald. Smith to office last year, not Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who would represent the area east of Clark Street, or Fioretti, who would presumably represent the area to the west.

The letter also said the redistricting would cut Park West residents out of major policy discussions regarding development projects. Discussions are set to get underway about the redevelopment of the Children’s Memorial Hospital site at Lincoln and Fullerton avenues and Halsted Street, after the hospital moves to Streeterville this year.

Concerns were also addressed in regard to the Clark Street Special Service Area, a tax district that funds streetscape improvements and sanitation along the busy stretch of Clark between Diversey Parkway-Broadway and Armitage Avenue. The redistricting plan would place Clark Street in three different wards and would make administering the SSA a “nightmare,” the letter said.

Further, Ald. Smith tells the DePaulia student newspaper that a five-way split in the neighborhood would mean daily services and major development projects would be handled by five separate offices.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is publicly keeping his hands off the ward remap debate, although he has said he doesn’t want the fight to end up in an expensive court battle.

If a group of at least 41 aldermen cannot unite behind one map for the city’s wards, voters would have to choose between two maps in a public referendum during the March primary elections. That could be followed by an expensive lawsuit.

  • Bobh

    If the City see’s fit to remap the wards they must hold new elections as the Citizens in the new wards did not have the chance to vote for them and thus can not be represented by them. Not that it will happen special interest at work again its time to get the H–l out of chicago and crook county

  • missy

    Poor Lincoln Park. Bunch of babies.

  • djl

    Black aldermen need to learn how to count….African-American numbers
    have declined but they refuse to lose a “black” Ward. Those “babies” pay the bulk of the taxes running this city. It’s illegal to disenfranchise Lincoln Park to keep one or two career politicians on the public payroll.

    Sticks and stones won’t change the outcome of a court fight. Tell Burke, Mell and O’Connor to grow up-Chicago can’t afford these games. Did you did you get your city job because of a Clout List Missy? Tell me who the baby is again.

  • City Council Committees To Discuss Taxi Reforms, NATO/G8 Summits « CBS Chicago

    […] of some wards are complaining about the proposed changes, particularly in the 43rd Ward in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which under the “Map for a Better Chicago” would be split between its current ward and the […]

  • Special Council Meeting Could End Ward Remap Debate « CBS Chicago

    […] of some wards are also complaining about the proposed changes, particularly in the 43rd Ward in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which under the “Map for a Better Chicago” would be split between its current ward and the […]

  • montclareresident

    Funny, how they are eliminating the 36th Ward to punish voters for voting in a reformer and CBS says nothing about that. But, if they disenfranchise yuppies it’s a serious issue. But, go ahead and disenfranchise white middle-class families in the 36th Ward.

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