LOGAN SQUARE — Neighbors will soon get a chance to weigh in on efforts to curb gentrification along The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, including a recently passed law that will halt demolitions along the popular jogging and biking path for six months.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) is hosting a series of three “legislative ward nights,” or open house-style community meetings, on the subject.
The first meeting is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 13. The second is set for 6 p.m. March 12 and the third is set for 6 p.m. April 9. All will be held at La Spata’s office at 1958 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Earlier this month, city commissioners approved a six-month ban on demolition permits along the western portion of the trail, specifically the area bounded by North, California, Armitage, and Kostner avenues, and Hirsch and Kedzie streets. The ban begins Feb. 1.
The law, authored by Alds. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Roberto Maldonado (26th), was a direct response to gentrification-fueled displacement happening along the trail: Home prices along the western portion of the trail have gone up a whopping 344 percent since 2012, according to a new DePaul University study.
Proponents of the measure say the legislation is more than just the ban itself and that it will allow local leaders to get the time they need to craft longterm policy solutions.
The ordinance that was approved is a scaled-back version of Ramirez-Rosa and Maldonado’s original plan. That version, which was blasted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, called for a comprehensive 14-month development freeze — no demolition permits, no construction permits and no zoning changes. It also called for a larger impact area.
La Spata wasn’t a co-sponsor of the original ordinance, but supports the approved ordinance. He called the approved ordinance an “urgent but short-term step” and promised to work every day during the moratorium on demolition permits to develop a permanent solution before the ban expires on Aug. 1.
In a written statement, La Spata said he’s received “numerous concerns about the manner in which development is proceeding along The 606.”
“Your input is helping my office form research goals, and will help us determine the most effective policy solutions to help preserve existing housing with infringing individual property rights,” he said.
Reactions to the demolition ordinance have been mixed so far, with some neighbors saying it’s a much-needed step toward reversing the impact of gentrification and others saying it will hurt economic growth and strip residents of their property rights.
The meetings will allow neighbors to “discuss ongoing policy efforts related to the preservation of existing housing” along the trail, according to Nicholas Zettel, La Spata’s policy director.
Zettel co-authored a new report on the subject, called “Analysis of Demolitions and Property Sales in Areas Adjacent to the 606 Trail,” along with Maldonado, other co-sponsors of the demolition ordinance and officials with the city’s housing and law departments.
The report, which will be live on La Spata’s website soon, examines demolitions, property sales, and demographics surrounding The 606 trail.
Read the report here:
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