Sunday, February 4, 2024

Wishes "Grant"ed As Chicago Announces Cash Awards For Historical Preservation, Community Development, And Renewable Energy

61 organizations and businesses across the city got a piece of the pie last Tuesday, as the city announced grant recipients which will receive funds from various programs of the Chicago Recovery Plan. (Grant awards are distributed incrementally as individual project phases are completed.) 

We're delighted that some of them are located in Uptown and our adjacent communities.

Climate Infrastructure Fund

To help buildings transition to renewable energy, 22 grants totaling $3.7 million were announced, going to small businesses and nonprofits. The Climate Infrastructure Fund was created to support energy-efficiency projects, electric vehicle infrastructure, and green infrastructure. 

In a statement, Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar said, "Nearly 70 percent of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions are from buildings. The Climate Infrastructure Fund provides essential funding for small businesses and nonprofit organizations to adopt clean energy strategies."

  • Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church (4511 N Hermitage) is anticipated to receive $199,597. According to a statement from the City, a planned solar array will generate 29,100 kWh and completely cover the facility’s annual electricity needs, along with the installation of high efficiency lighting.
  • The Ecumenical Institute (located in the ICA Greenrise building at 4750 N Sheridan) is anticipated to receive $199,400. We don't know its plans for the grant, but ICA has been the leader in local energy efficiency and sustainable practices, converting the vintage Kemper Insurance Building into a climate-friendly structure. We're sure they'll make good use of the grant.
Community Development Grants
  • Access Contemporary Music, a nonprofit whose goal is to make classical and contemporary music visible, is anticipated to receive $250,000. What intrigues us is that, while it is located in Ravenswood, the grant is listed for 4116 N Clark -- the site of a 7-Eleven that closed back in 2018, and has stood vacant ever since. We like seeing our long-empty buildings filled!
  • Swedish American Museum Association of Chicago (5211 N Clark) is anticipated to receive $250,000.
Adopt-A-Landmark Grants

13 historic buildings around the city will split $8 million in grants from the DPD's Historic Preservation Division. We are thrilled a bit of that is going to two of our community's crown jewels, which act as bookends for the Uptown Entertainment District:
  • Double Door (1050 W Wilson). $125,000 for the window and masonry component of a $9.9 million conversion of a 1909 theater as a performance venue.
  • Aragon Ballroom (1106 W Lawrence). $250,000 for the masonry component of a $1.9 million restoration of a 98-year-old ballroom.
Our Take

So, with all this money going to worthy causes, we feel happy but a bit confused.

We see small grants given to organizations and businesses, all sharing a pot split into pieces. At the same time, a religious organization with a history of sexual abuse is on the brink of a no-questions-asked, lump-sum $9 million dollar gift of public money to operate a shelter that the surrounding community is adamantly opposed to. More on that soon, but it seems really curious.....


  1. Chicago Has Made Plans To Destroy Dozens Of Historic Monuments, On Order From The City’s Cultural Death Panel — ‘Cuz Racism’ —

    But Now The City Is Spending Millions For These Supposed Landmarks

    1. Meanwhile, murals to lowlife drug addicts who OD's while getting busted and drug dealer's ex-girlfriend mules remain up.