Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taxpayer's Park

A reader writes in:
"This is what is happening behind the green canvas by Stewart School. If you look at the current edition of "Inside Online" you will see a small, very small, blurb about how this park is funded. According to their article, the City Council just passed an ordinance that allows "Uptown Business Partners" to control the park and for “residential taxpayers” to fund the park."


  1. I hope they build warm up shelters so the local crack dealers do not get pneumonia while they work.

  2. I hope the police will be able to keep this area clear of thugs. I could easily see this becoming a neighborhood eyesore and gang hangout.

  3. How much is Uptown Business Partners getting paid to "control" the park. And what does "control" mean?

  4. It is not Spelled "Control", it is spelled "how Shiller controls them". The name of the new park will be Arm Flaps Park with a bronze statue of a broomstick. On the other side wil be a needle station, which was funded by the recycled 40 once bottles colleted at the site. The park was also intended for the children who will live across the street in Wilson Cabrini Yard. A back-up park to run across a four lane street when they are bored from playing on the rood and in the elevators.

  5. Dear Lord, we aren't paying for one park, we are paying for two!
    My Bad.

    Upon closer inspection, the InsideOnline article (Nov 7, page 14) refers to a new UPCORP PARK that will be run by UPCORP and funded by impact fees (taxes) on new residential developments.

    UPCORP PARK, will be located at 4628 N Winthrop, 1/2 block North of Wilson, just off of Kenmore. (Winthrop is that little side street that curves west off of Kenmore, just north of Wilson.)

    This photo is of the Stewart School park, across from Wilson Yards. It is located 1/2 block South of Wilson, on Kenmore. The Stewart School Park receives TIF funding (property taxes dollars)

  6. Great! Now we will have two parks within a 1/2 block of Wilson for the crack dealers to use.

  7. We deperately need green space in Uptown. But, isn't it interesting that we have to pay Impact fees of $502,000 to acquire the lot and Impact fees ot $121,000 to remediate the lot? The TIF study, which justified the ridiculously low selling price to Holstein, said that land along this stretch of Uptown was worthless.

  8. What was the selling price of our park that Shiller sold to her campaingn contributor condo developers several years ago? It was located 2 blocks South of the TIF in the 4300 block of Broadway and 4300 Block of Sheridan. It was just South of the Senior citizen highrise that is across from the Salvation Army thrift store.

  9. Sell Low, Buy High.

  10. That location is now the Mark Condos. It was never a park. It used to be a Presbyterian Church that was torn down in the 90's.

  11. No, I'm not talking about that lot which is North of the Senior high rise. I am talking about the lot that was south of the Senior high rise. It now has a low condo unit with an entrance on Broadway.

  12. I thought I recalled that the Stewart campus park did not receive TIF money because every available TIF dollar was put into Wilson Yard.

    If my memory serves me correctly, the money for the campus park came out of aldermanic menu money.

    Hugh will know where to find all that good documentation, I'm sure.

  13. That lot was sold probably around 1995 or 1996. There were a number of small lots like that that contained crummy parks and were sold.

    There was also one on around 4320 Kenmore or so. Now a red brick condo building. East side of street.

    The Park District sold lots like that throughout the city. Considering Daley and Shiller were not showering together using tax dollars then, as opposed to the shower of green they take now, I don't think the alderbeast should be blamed for that one.

    We can blame her for many things. We don't need to add to the list.

    For instance back in the late 80's the regional library that is now at Lincoln and Montrose was supposed to be built on Sheridan just north of Irving Park. The alderbeast stopped that.

    She had many devious and evil plans for this neighborhood including CHA highrises on vacant lots. Then Mayor Washington died. So did her plans. Her buddy Mark Kaplan whined about that at the September 2004 Truman College meeting.

    Since then she has been fighting a holding action. At least until 2003 when she and "Da Mare" reached an agreement to mutually screw the citizens of the 46th Ward for their own mutual and PREverted enjoyment.

    Of course some people still like to think of her as "independent".

    I like to think of myself as skinny and with hair on my head. It ain't nothing but a fantasy.

  14. Tell that to the Buena Park neighbors who are desperately seeking park space. It could have been traded, not just sold.

  15. It could have been sorely needed municipal parking for the business strip.

  16. Found the ordinance. The UpCorp Park section begins on page 24

    This is interesting:

    “WHEREAS, The Department of Planning and Development ("D.P.D.") has determined that the Fee-Paying Developments built in the Uptown community area (the "Community Area") have deepened the already significant deficit of open space in the Community Area, which deficit was documented in the comprehensive plan entitled "The Cityspace Plan", adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission on September 11, 1997 and adopted by the City Council on May 20, 1998 pursuant to an ordinance published at pages 69309 -- 693 1 1 of the Journal of the Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Chicago (the "JournaP') of the same date.

    There's a cite to a document that some of us have been looking for for a while.

  17. Irish Pirate, I'm not in agreement that the park south of the Senior citizen's building was so crummy. It did suffer the ills associated with having a homeless shelter 2 doors north in the basement of that church, which ultimately succumbed to the roof collapse. Yet, the seniors from the high rise next door got alot of use out of it. It certainly was not as run down as Clarendon Park or Gill Park playlots at the time.

  18. Wow, I am impressed. Has someone, as in Hugh, actually cracked the aldermanic menu nut? I know all about the CIP process and aldermanic menu but I've never tried to FOIA the actual amounts spent by ward by project.

    I've heard that the city just won't fork over the details. I've heard that the best one can get is just the amount the Alderman requests by department, which can be multiples of his/her actual budgeted amount. Thus the figures provided are worthless.

    For those who don't understand what the heck I am referring to, follow this link to learn about Helen's slush fund.

  19. As a Buena Park resident I don't see an overwhelming need for more park space here. There is this large body of water to the east........with an adjoining park.

    As for using it for parking for the business strip. What business strip?

    Day care, liquor store, and what else? Bar on Buena.

    Personally I like it as condos. Condos pay taxes. Condos have people who spend money.

    If the senior building needs some outdoor space I suggest they take it outta their parking lot or put it on the roof.

    My memory is that the park was rundown. On that I could be wrong. The one on Kenmore was horrible so perhaps I am conflating the two. Their used to be transvestite hookers there at night. Now I like transvestite hookers as much as the next perv, but I prefer they be hidden. Like the dark desires of the human soul.

  20. Wow! Many of you are very negative people.

  21. Agreed on the transvesite hookers, particularly our favorite, Ralphael Valderamma, who lived at 4035 N. Sheridan. If I recall, after months of community outcrys, he there sodomized, mutilated and murdered his 7 year old step-brother before stuffing the boy's body down an airshaft in a garbage bag. (The police had complied with Shiller's demands that the police not take action against "sex industry workers" for 9 months as he brought clients to Disney to have sex in front of school children)

    Disagree on the park. Have you noticed the 1/2 mile of golf course fence running from Montrose (4400N) to Grace (3800N)? Have you noticed the police barricades at Montrose and LSD each summer blocking the community off the park? Have you noticed the special events that overrun the park each summer weekend? How about the Lincoln Park baseball teams that monopolize our "local" Clarendon Park? Where can a little kid in this neighborhood or senior citizen go to the park if they don't have a car to get there?

    We got no park, man. The Lakefront Protection Ordinance mandates open park in front of our highrises and/or lake access every few blocks. We got no lake access, either man. We got nothing but a chain link fence and a bike "freeway" for those aspirig Lance Armstrongs whizzing through our neighborhood as fast as they can go.

    It wasn't always this way. The fence was moved west to sqeeze out the pesky locals when the bike path was paved.

  22. Arm Flaps Park - Get High

  23. I drove by Upcorp Park at noon today and saw a homeless woman sorting out garbage from here shopping cart onto the ground. Seems like it's been an unofficial Uptown style park for years.

  24. Hey, anonymous. We're not all negative. Drop down one topic and you can chill out on a lovely photo of Autumn in Uptown. It's positively peaceful on that subject. And I have on good sources that it was taken by the same blogger who sent in "Taxpayer Park".

  25. Uptown United is UPCORP is the Uptown Community Development Corporation.

  26. I'm interested in park land sold to developers. Can someone please post the address? thanks

  27. You can FOIA the "aldermanic menu" spending. If anyone is interested post an e-mail and I'll send you a FOIA letter that works (with umpteen follow-up phone calls).

  28. One thing I'm starting to understand is that they "aldermanic menu" funds ROLL OVER. That is, they're NOT use-it-or-lose it. When you hear about the menu being $1.2M/yr or whatever, that doesn't tell the whole story: the published City budget does not show the account BALANCES. There could be millions in these funds. Stone is openly bragging on doing some "three-year" menu projects, but in the process he is blowing the cover on these slush funds.

  29. You guys make me proud plowing through the Council journals trying to figure out what the govt of your home town is doing. Do you have a page number for the ordinance? Thanks.

  30. The property on Kenmore was 4315 Kenmore. It was a tiny park. Now home to a red brick 6 flat condo building. I believe the lot had become city owned due to non payment of taxes and was turned over to the park district.

    Got auctioned off along with other similar properties citywide around 1995 or so.

    I knew a guy who bid on that property and lost out. Someone outbid him. I think the buyer paid about 90-100 grand for it. I wish I had bought it and sat on it. Now worth about 800 grand probably. Oh well.

  31. nothing online prior to a condo dec 1/31/96, there might be more docs recorded downtown in the dungeon

    could be because it was public land prior, so there were no real estate xfer taxes paid, so nothing was recorded

  32. I wish I had bought it and sat on it. Now worth about 800 grand probably. Oh well.

    tad low

    the building looks to have been financed by pre-construction special pricing

    check out PINs 14-17-403-046-1001 through -1006

    they each sold in the mid-to-upper 100's around 1997 right after the condo dec then again in the $300K+ range between 2002-2004

    so the property is worth more like $2M-ish total, sorry

  33. in other news i wouldn't mind taking a gander at that park agreement w UU

    could the earlier poster please post a page #?

  34. Hugh,

    I was talking land value only.

    If I had bought and sat on the empty lot.

    In any case I didn't so it doesn't really matter. That is actually one of the better looking newer condo buildings around here. Some are absolutely horrible.

  35. Hugh, the cite is the Report of Committees 09/27/07 with the agreement starting on page 9181. Just google "4628 N Winthrop Upcorp" and the link to the pdf for the City Council Jounal with the Committee report will pop up online toward the top of the list.

  36. thanks

    that google thingy works real good

    here's a link for those of you reading along at home:


    the first thing you notice about this ordinance is that it as appropriation of public funds $121K for a PORTION of the project, but it fails to mention who our partners are

    the only mention of UPCORP is that the name of the park has already been selected for us, Upcorp Park

    also it is NOT an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Park District, there is no mention of the Park District

    also it is not funding to PURCHASE the 3 properties involved, all that is being funded so far is an environmental consultant and a remediation contractor

    14-17-209-028 4634 N WINTHROP
    14-17-209-029 4630 N WINTHROP
    14-17-209-030 4628 N WINTHROP

    -028 and -029 where CONDEMNED by the City in July, 2006. This is very unusual - not that the City moved to condemn private property, they do that regularly, but that these properties were actually condemned - usually the threat is enough to dislodge a reluctant seller

    looks like the 3rd property proposed for this "park" -030 is in the process of being condemned. it's interesting because the City is trying to pry it out of a trust that looks to be controlled by Palm Realty Company who is a MAJOR LAND BARON on the block, also owning:

    14-17-209-032 4616-4626 N WINTHROP
    14-17-209-013 4613 N BROADWAY
    14-17-209-014 4607 N BROADWAY
    14-17-209-015 4601-4617 N BROADWAY
    14-17-209-016 1064 W WILSON
    14-17-209-033 1054 W WILSON

    KIM POY of Northbrook is Palm Realty's pres. and JIN SONG of Barrington Heights is Sec. they own a big chunk of the NE corner of Broadway & Wilson

    I think Inside got it right in reporting that this is a PRIVATIZATION of our "parks:" Upcorp is now privatizing our parks in the same sense that they privatize street sweeping - with public dollars

    unclear is how Upcorp will fund the remaining portions of this park project, but I gotta think it is us

    $121K for a park honoring the agency that has been taking taxpayer dollars for a decade allegedly in the name of economic development in Uptown

  37. Daley introduced this ordinance into the City Council at their 9/5/07 meeting and it became law 3 weeks later 9/27/07. The City sure can move quick sometimes.

  38. When you look around the heart of Uptown and think to yourself, some bastard on the north shore is getting rich off of my neighborhood being a slum - well, you'd be exactly right

  39. Hugh,

    You always provide us with great info. Again, it's amazing that people can make money keeping our community a slum. Just curious (and maybe this requires its own thread), but how much property does JPUSA own? And who is the principle owner? I suspect that the top of the pyramid does not live in Uptown. Just curious.

  40. caveat neighbors:

    Calling it a park does not make it a park

    neighbors please note ownership is NOT being xfered to the Park District

    we have zoning available to us (POS - "parks & open space") to protect these properties by zoning them as park land to prevent development but that is NOT done by this ordinance

  41. Is anyone out there with Truman Square Neighbors informed on this project? I know I've worked with you in past years on Clean and Green days to clean up these filthy lots - used hyperdermic needles and all.

    These lots have been a subject of your discussions with the Alderbeast and city for years. Were you consulted about this project and will you be responsible for locking the gate, if there is one, each night as you are the the park at 4600 N Kenmore?

  42. The amount of Jesus People property and their annual income must be disclosed on their Form 990. Form 990 is a yearly tax return that is viewable online for all major non-profits.

    Use that handy Google thing and it will pop right up.