I have no issue with getting services to LGBTQ youth, but with all the problems attributed to the Center on Halsted providing youth services a few blocks to the south, WHY has this new center become a fait-accompli in the neighborhood without the neighborhood being able to have some conversation about it first? I don't recall seeing anything about it until this little note in a reproduced flyer on UU from BPN showed up. What do we know about what Howard Brown and the Broadway Youth Center will do to protect the safety of its clients and neighbors? Or hours of operation? Will this pull in secondary problems like the kids have around the Center on Halsted who leave when the doors close at the end of the day then just hang around on the sidewalks? Uptown has always welcomed the down-trodden and less-fortunate--it's the character of our neighborhood--but it troubles me that the neighborhood's shared community wisdom and experience does not seem to be invited to help shape something being injected into our midst. And there are new apartments open a couple doors north of this, more a couple blocks south, and several new apartment buildings either under construction or in planning very close, too--are we making sure that the BYC and all those new and potential apartment dwellers are going to have a happy co-existence, along with all the existing residents of the immediate neighborhood?
With relatively high vacancy rates around this location, as a local resident I can think of absolutely *no* better potential new commercial space renter for uptown! I'm excited to have a lot of potential positive loitering from LGBT youth, and excited for buena park to be able to continue our welcome of LGBTQ peoples and especially people of color in this rare-to-Chicago *actual* *integrated* *neighborhood*.
Bear Bear Bearas we emBARK, woof woof, upon a new America where we are once again great or something can't we find it in our hearts to give this new place a chance?My attitude is see how it works out. If it's a problem then they should either change or close. Real simple. One issue is there is still a Hispanic gang that hangs out right there on Cuyler. I don't know what they call themselves now, but they used to be the "Adidas Boys". I should start a gang. The "Gym Shoe Turds".Whatever they call themselves they do have a tendency to shoot random black men on occasion. There was such a shooting on Cuyler maybe two years or so ago and one on Irving near there a few years before that.Many of the clients at this new center will undoubtedly be black. Couple that with homophobia likely to be present in a gang of young males who think of themselves as "tough" and you can see the potential problems.On the other hand perhaps if the "Adidas Boys" act up it will provide an opportunity to clean up that last corner of gang activity in Buena Park. I recall the Uptown of yore where are bangers had more diversity. White thugs, Hispanic thugs, Indian thugs, black thugs, interracial thugs....gawd...I'm getting all teary eyed. MUGA--Make Uptown Great Again. Bring back gang diversity!
L. Matt and Pirate--you both raise valid points, of course. The point of me raising community involvement BEFORE the BYC opens is all about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. It's easier and more effective to anticipate the potential problems than it is to fix them on the fly when they happen, and the kids being served by the BYC *don't* deserve to be accused of being problems nor be the targets of the "Adidas Boys" or others. And frankly, any current residents around the facility who might have concerns could be soothed by being able to converse with the people from Howard Brown much earlier in the planning process--a demonstration of goodwill to the community from Howard Brown would lay a solid foundation for the future and indicate that they are committed to the BYC *and* the community. If we have to allow the Planning and Zoning Committee to query a developer about how the color of brick in a building will impact the community, or if a particular business is the "best fit" at a particular location, why shouldn't a use like the BYC be subject to the same queries?Don't get me wrong--the need for the BYC is there, and I've actually worked with kids like them when I volunteered on-call for the Center on Halsted's Anti-Violence Project.
Bear,Given the lack of nightlife that would appeal to LBGT youth around there I suspect BYC won't cause many problems. Now I could be wrong, but if I am I think Cappleman will deal with it. Just ask the owners of the newly reopened Iyanze if he's serious about dealing with problems. The Center on Halsted is a problem because it's right in the middle of and has contributed to that psychotic Mardi Gras atmosphere that is commercial Boystown. Michael's Pizza probably has less of an attraction to LGBT youth than the 3700 Block of N Halsted.I'm also not a big believer in giving "neighbors" too much input into what kind of businesses, residences or social service agencies go into a neighborhood. The general default position of said "neighbors" is "NO, I want to keep it just the way it is unless it directly benefits ME ME ME."Lotsa appropriate development in this city is shot down by busybody neighbors and scared aldercritters who cater to them too much. Cappleman has generally been able to strike a balance between neighbors and development. Now if I were alderman I'd be telling various groups and "neighbors" to kiss my ass, but I likely would be a half a term alderman before torches, pitchforks and possibly unmanned drones were used to drive me from office.There should be a citywide zoning "czar" who decides what appropriate development is with input from aldercritters and neighbors. It ain't gonna happen as too many alderman hold on to that power like I held on to my prom date in the back of a Buick back in high school.