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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

City Council Extends Demolition Ban Along The 606 For 6 More Months

With the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout, Northwest Side aldermen say they need more time to come up with a long-term plan to curb gentrification-fueled displacement along the trail.

A new development next to The Bloomingdale Trail.
Alisa Hauser/DNAinfo
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LOGAN SQUARE — The demolition ban along The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, which is meant to curb rapid gentrification along the popular jogging and biking path, has been extended for another six months.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved extending the ban until Feb. 1, 2021. The ban was set to expire Aug. 1.

With the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout, Northwest Side aldermen have said they need more time to continue studying the impact of demolitions and deconversions on displacement and gentrification, and to come up with a long-term legislative solution.

The ban was first enacted in January after much debate. Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not support the initial version, which called for halting demolition permits, construction permits and zoning changes along the trail for 14 months.

But Lightfoot ended up supporting the scaled-back version, which only halts 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 goal of the ban is to pump the brakes on the booming real estate market along the trail that is fueling gentrification and displacing longtime residents, many of them Latino.

Research shows home prices along the western portion of the trail have skyrocketed in recent years.

In June, Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) said he and other Northwest Side alderman and community leaders have been working with city officials and researchers and are “close” to crafting some long-term legislation.

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.

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

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