Friday, April 29, 2011

A Farewell Message From Outgoing Ald. Mary Ann Smith

Photo courtesy
Lorraine Swanson
Dear Friends,

As I prepare to leave office after almost 22 years as Alderman of the 48th Ward, I would like to thank all of you for your support, encouragement and hard work.

Together we have accomplished much. From increasing the safety on our streets and improving our schools to developing our commercial districts and instituting a host of environmental initiatives, our Ward has been transformed.

We've established task forces to address... and improve... problem blocks and areas, created two new parks and renovated or expanded every other park in the Ward. We've built major additions to three of our elementary schools, substantially renovated the Senn campus and created a world-class auditorium there. More importantly, we've instituted new academic programs in our schools that are making a difference for our students.

The 48th Ward has become one of the most desirable areas of the City in which to build, live or run a business. We have six National Register Historic Districts within our boundaries. Clark Street, and now Bryn Mawr and Granville, are popular shopping and dining destinations. We have a vibrant performing arts community and are home to many fine theaters. And, at last, the tools are in place to restore the Uptown theater and revitalize the surrounding entertainment district.

We are the leader in innovative environmental projects, from permeable surfaces to traffic calming and car sharing. Our public art and beautification projects have received national acclaim. And we are proud that we remain the most diverse area of Chicago.

But this did not happen overnight, and I did not do it alone. Special thanks to my hard working staff and to the block clubs, Zoning and Planning Committee members, religious institutions, community organizations and the many people who came to me with ideas and then rolled up their sleeves to make those ideas a reality.

We have accomplished much, but there is more to do. Alderman-elect Harry Osterman will have to do more with less as we try to solve the City's budget crisis. Our community organizations and social service agencies are facing funding cuts, and the needs keep growing. I urge you to stay involved and continue to make this The Great 48th Ward.

I again thank you for all you've done and all you will do. And I wish you and yours health, joy, peace and prosperity.

Warmest regards and good wishes,

Mary Ann Smith

Office Closing. Our office will close to the public on May 1 to allow time for closing out projects and doing final clean-up prior to Alderman-elect Osterman taking office. As of that date, we will no longer have phone or e-mail service at 5533 N. Broadway. If you have an emergency, please call 911. If you need to request a City service, e.g., reporting street lights out, tree trimming, etc., call 311. If you need to reach a current 48th Ward staff member, leave a message at 312-744-6860 prior to May 15, our last day with the City.


  1. This is what a good-bye letter should look like. Keep it classy Mary Ann.

  2. Thank You, Mary Ann Smith, for giving the community 22 years of your life. Many accomplishments, some failures but aways a sacrifice on your life.
    I wish you well in whatever your future pursuits may be. Enjoy your life:)

  3. Mary Ann Smith didn't run again because her polling showed she couldn't win. As someone who worked for one of the candidates who wanted to replace her, I was shocked by how many people were disgusted with her. Almost as many as didn't know the name of their alderman. The people of Edgewater deserved better. Uptown seemed to like her because she was a tad better than Shiller.

    As for Towanda's comment -- all I have to say is "What sacrifice".
    She did little for the ward but lots for herself and her family.
    BTW Mary Ann, did you get a new job for your niece? Yes, the Monica Hammer who ran your downtown office.