Monday, December 15, 2008

Letters To The Editor

Last week's edition of the News-Star included several letters regarding Uptown issues:

Concentrated poverty doesn't work: It doesn't help anyone to pitch the Wilson Yard project ["Caught in the crossfire," Nov. 26] as the haves (property owners) vs. the have-nots (low-income Uptown residents). As a condo owner in Uptown and a case manager for the homeless, it may seem, based on this article, that I'm on both sides of the issue. But that's not the issue. The problem with the Wilson Yard project is that it's not mixed income. I want more affordable housing in every ward in Chicago and every suburb of Chicago, but I don't want it concentrated. The mixed-income model works, concentrated poverty doesn't. That's why some residents of Uptown are fighting the Wilson Yard project, not because they want to deny Ms. Espinoza or Mr. Hernandez access to affordable housing.
David Wengert, Uptown

Other wards need to share social burden: Could this article ["Caught in the crossfire," Nov. 26] possibly be more editorialized and slanted towards pro-Cabrini Green style housing? Perhaps if the reporter bothered to research even 3 minutes more, he would see there are huge and fundamental changes to the original plans by Wilson Yard. And that the new low-income housing is costing taxpayers in excess of $400,000 per unit as it is presently approved.
Uptown currently has a disproportional amount of low to no-income housing on the North Side. No one in Uptown is advocating displacing what is already here. We do, however, have a fundamental issue with continuing to add more.
There are communities up and down the lake - and to our west -with little to no low-income housing. Perhaps those aldermen could step up to take some of the social burdens off of Uptown.
And, just as an FYI, my condo is my home too. My entire life savings went toward its down payment. I resent the fact that some say this is an investment property. And I can assure you, the vast majority of home and condo owners here in Uptown are in the same situation.
Jon Williams, Uptown

Just the facts: The Loyola University Center for Urban Learning study cited in the News-Star article "Caught in the crossfire" (Nov. 26) actually shows there was no significant drop in Uptown's subsidized housing stock as a result of condominium growth.
I have a copy of the report which clearly shows Uptown housing stock (U.S. Census figures):
1990 - 23,712 renter units
2000 - 23,279 or renter units, 72-percent of all housing units
Uptown still lags far behind the average of 40 percent homeownership across the city which helps stabilize neighborhoods. Most of Uptown's condos were built on vacant land with minimal displacement.
The story also failed to uncover the fact that the majority of the 5,700 subsidized housing units are concentrated between Montrose and Argyle in an area about the same size as Cabrini Green - a housing development that only provided 3,500 units.
The most glaring planning mistake that no one speaks about is the fact that the corner of Broadway and Montrose is prime commercial real estate. This corner should be the hub for a thriving retail street bustling with restaurants, retail and entertainment venues that give Uptown residents the same opportunity to shop and stay in their own neighborhood.
Katharine Boyda, Uptown


  1. Very well said all three of you! Thanks for your well written and accurate points of view!

  2. Wow, Katherine's comment really makes you think. If true, we have 5,700 units of subsidized housing while Cabrini Green had 3,500 - WTF? Enough is enough. This neighborhood can't handle anymore.

  3. Just the facts is a superb letter to the editor.

    Thank you.

  4. it seems every time I read a recent article about WY it is full of statistical inaccuracies. Is all reporting this bad!? I never have much faith in the press but this is truly disheartening. makes you want to go live on an island...

  5. ""this is truly disheartening. makes you want to go live on an island..."

    UptownUnity, don't let the Alderlady hear you say this; she'll tell you to go live in Lincoln Park!