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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Alderman Wants To Extend Ban On Demolitions Along The 606

Northwest Side leaders want more time to come up with a long-term legislative solution to protect areas near the trail from rapid gentrification.

A new development next to The Bloomingdale Trail.
Alisa Hauser/DNAinfo
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LOGAN SQUARE — Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) is calling for an extension on the six-month demolition ban along The Bloomingdale Trail, which was enacted in January to curb gentrification in the area.

Maldonado, whose ward includes a portion of the popular jogging and biking trail, introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting that would extend the ban through Feb. 1, 2021. The ban, which took effect Feb. 1, currently ends Aug. 1.

The temporary ban halted 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.

Maldonado, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) crafted the ordinance in direct response to the gentrification-fueled displacement happening along the trail, specifically along the western end. Research shows home prices along the western portion of the trail have skyrocketed in recent years. It comes as neighborhoods like Logan Square are continuing to lose Latino residents.

Maldonado couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. Other Northwest Side aldermen who backed the existing ban said the extension would allow leaders to continue studying the impact demolitions and deconversions have on displacement and gentrification, and come up with a long-term legislative solution.

Ramirez-Rosa and La Spata spoke about the legislation Tuesday evening during a virtual town hall meeting on “demolitions and displacement along The 606.”

“We were hopeful that when we instituted the moratorium on demolition that we’d have enough time to work on a permanent solution,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “Unfortunately the pandemic and the ensuing economic recession has created a crisis that we as a city and local elected officials and community groups are working to respond to.”

“I believe that we have to extend the existing moratorium so we have more time to work on that ordinance,” he added.

La Spata said he won’t support the extension unless he can promise his constituents he has “exhausted all possible means of getting to a legislative solution.” But he added that he wouldn’t “let the moratorium elapse without having a strong legislative solution in place to make sure we curb these demolitions and deconversions.”

“The impact has been so segregationist and we cannot continue to move in this direction,” he said.

Over the last several months, Northwest Side aldermen and community groups have been working with city officials and researchers over the last several months and are now “close” to crafting some long-term legislation, La Spata said.

La Spata said they’re looking at implementing environmental and affordability impact fees, and changing the zoning formula so deconverting a two- or four-flat into a single-family home in gentrifying neighborhoods would require a zoning change.

Monica Espinoza, an organizer with Logan Square Neighborhood Association, one of the community groups working on the ordinance, said legislative solutions centered around displacement are needed more than ever with the challenges of COVID-19 disproportionately impacting Latino communities.

“People are becoming homeless. Families are living with different relatives. Then you wonder why Hermosa has one of the highest case [counts]? Espinoza said at Tuesday’s virtual town hall.

Read Wednesday’s ordinance below:

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