CHICAGO — Lincoln Yards, the divisive $6 billion development that will transform 55 acres of riverfront property, was approved by City Council Wednesday in a 33-14 vote.
The approval came amid months of protests and pleas to hold off so a new mayor and City Council could weigh in this spring. The 14 “no” votes, some from aldermen facing runoff elections next month, showed a rare divide among the City Council members.
Here’s who voted no:
• Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th)
• Ald. Sophia King (4th)
• Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10th)
• Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th)
• Ald Milly Santiago (31st)
• Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd)
• Ald. Deb Mell (33rd)
• Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th)
• Ald. Michele Smith (43rd)
• Ald. John Arena (45th)
• Ald. James Cappleman (46th)
• Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th)
• Ald. Harry Osterman (48th)
• Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th)
Ald. Ed Burke (14th) abstained from the vote.
Before Election Day Feb. 26, 11 aldermen vowed to vote against to Lincoln Yards, including Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) and Ald. George Cardenas (12th). But all three voted to approve the Lincoln Yards plan Wednesday.
Last month, Tunney told residents that the creation of the 168-acre Cortland and Chicago River Redevelopment Area to generate a $900 million Tax Increment Fund would be “an unnecessary burden on taxpayers” and that public funds should not be used “to subsidize this multi-billion dollar private project in any way.”
Other aldermen who said they’d vote no on Lincoln Yards before Election Day: Maldonado, Cardenas, Tunney, Moreno, Waguespack, Mell, Ramirez-Rosa, Smith, Arena, Pawar and Osterman.
Before the vote, Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes Lincoln Yards, urged the approval of the development, asking fellow aldermen to approve a “simple zoning change in my ward.”
“We have to stay focused on progress,” Hopkins said. “This is a visionary proposal.”
Waguespack, who represents most of Bucktown, reminded fellow aldermen that the Lincoln Yards site was once in his ward, but moved into the 2nd Ward during the last redistricting.
“This is a monstrosity,” he said.
There’s still more work to be done before all parts of the project are approved.
The City Council’s Finance Committee convenes next month to vote on the approval of the $900 million TIF that Lincoln Yards developer Sterling Bay has promised to use to finance public parks and infrastructure projects in the area.
In a 38-8 vote, council also approved a contract for the police academy — a controversial measure that, like Lincoln Yards, drew large crowds of protesters to City Hall.
Aldermen who voted “no” also voted against the police academy: Hairston, Sadlowski-Garza, Maldonado, Waguespack, Mell, Ramirez-Rosa, Arena and Pawar.
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