Friday, July 24, 2009

Wilson Yard Backers Defend Expansion

Story and Photo by Adeshina O. Emmanuel, Jr.
Chi-Town Daily News

In a tense meeting rife with outbursts and muttered retorts, Alderman Helen Shiller defended her plan to nearly double the Wilson Yard TIF district's budget and pledged the project will benefit the public.

Opponents questioned whether TIF backers have been overly secret in putting together the expansion plan, and said they were concerned tax money allocated to the project might ultimately be frittered away.

TIF districts are established to fund improvements in areas suffering from blight. The TIF diverts a portion of property taxes generated in the district to redevelopment.

Shiller's amendment would place five additional pieces of land within the Wilson Yard district and increase the TIF's budget from $58 million to $112 million.

Those properties -- three vacant lots on the west side of Sheridan Road near Montrose, a former Salvation Army building on Broadway, and an adjacent parking lot -- would be redeveloped as a green technology center, says Shiller, (D-46). Continue Reading


  1. Molly Phelan, president of Fix Wilson Yard, a group that is suing to stop the development


    FWY is suing over the existing WY plan regarding how the mixed income housing model magically dissolved into low- to no-income housing, not the projects addressed by this amendment to the budget.

    Those properties -- three vacant lots on the west side of Sheridan Road near Montrose, a former Salvation Army building on Broadway, and an adjacent parking lot -- would be redeveloped as a green technology center, says Shiller, (D-46).

    It would specialize in hydroponics and aquaponics, with an educational component for preschoolers, all the way to the university level.

    The center would cultivate fish and food for the local community.

    Fail 2:

    By Shiller's own words, "would" should be "might".

    I have no doubt this is what Helen wants to do; but, officially, she didn't go on record stating this is the plan.

    She's proposing this in order to justify the need for expanding the budget.

    2 media fails in one day.


    Um .. keep up the good work y'all.

  2. Something is odd. I just got an email from Greg Harris stating he got $350,000 in state funds for improvements for Uplift's cafeteria. I thought additional WY TIF fundings were needed for these improvements?

    What's up?

  3. Nice catch, HM.

    Also interesting is that Helen stated that WYTIF funds could be diverted to Clarendon Park renovations, if need be.

    Additional to that, the initial proposals to create a new TIF for Maryville, the block club would support that TIF if some of that money would go to Clarendon Park renovations.

    Now that it appears the Park will get a nice sum for renovations, will the block club still be supporting a new TIF?

    Yep. Something fishy is going on, and it's not confined to the Salvation Army site.


    Specifcs of Greg's email:

    Uplift School Cafeteria and Improvements $ 350,000

    Chicago Park District

    Clarendon Park Field House Improvements $ 350,000

    And, there's this:

    Also, Senator Steans, Representative Osterman, along with Alds. Shiller, Smith, O'Connor, Moore, Congresswoman Schakowsky and I continue to meet with CTA leadership to be sure that the CTA Red Line and its stations are given funding priority from available transit line items, not only in the Capital Bill, but also Federal transit funds.

    There's a major difference between "meeting" and "doing".

    It's beyond time that something be done regarding the north side red line stops.

    further delay is simply unacceptable.

    If we can build a monster housing project, a Target, an Aldi's and move a Tattoo parlor across the street, and then have the time to plan an aquaponics center, we should damn well have the time to do something about the hell hole of CTA stops these elected officials have historically allowed to fester.

    The 2010 and 2011 elections are right around the corner, and we should start reminding our governmental representatives that our L stops are much more important than their incumbencies.

  4. Did anyone else notice that...

    "The Daily News spent $326 reporting, writing and editing this article."

    Was the information worth that?

  5. "WY TIF funds could be diverted to Clarendon Park"

    Clarendon Park is across the street from the WY TIF district. In general, TIF subsidizes must go to projects within the TIF boundary, an exception being TIF funds can "cross a street" to an immediately adjacent public use like a park or school.

    Wilson Yard TIF Map

  6. Can anyone say who is the one running against Shiller so I can start to give them my support now............

  7. barry, last election was a close one with H.S. eking out a majority over James Cappleman (sp?). I do not know for sure he is running again but if he is, i'm voting for him again. I see him at most community meetings and events. Google shiller and cappleman from a segment of Chicago Tonight (WTTW) a few years back. They get kinda heavy 'discussing' the plight of Uptown blight.