WEST TOWN — The scaffolding that had lined the outside of the Goldblatt’s Building in West Town since 2015 came down Thursday.
“It’s finally coming down!” rejoiced a worker.
The scaffolding was installed six years ago in advance of window work at the site — but the work didn’t happen until this week.
Repairs were scheduled to wrap up in mid-December. When that deadline passed, neighbors became even more frustrated. After a Block Club report on the delayed work, the windows were finally repaired in March and the scaffolding was removed Thursday.
Stephanie Flinchbaugh has been a librarian at West Town Public Library for 16 years. The staff is excited about the scaffolding finally coming down, she said.
“We’re very excited about the light coming into the branch now,” she said.
The city-owned historic building at 1615 W. Chicago Ave. is managed by the Department of Assets, Information and Services. CBS 2 reported last year the estimated cost of the canopy itself was $12,000-$15,000, and the canopy costs $1,000-$3,000 a month to rent. That means city taxpayers have coughed up $60,000 to $180,000 in rental fees alone.
For years neighbors pushed city leaders to finish the window repair work so the scaffolding could finally be removed. In the meantime, artist Sick Fisher attempted to beautify the scaffolding by painting rows of books on it.
The painted panels will be saved and preserved by the city, Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) said Thursday.
While the panels’ final home has yet to be determined, “they’ll be safe and dry in a nearby city facility,” La Spata said.
Just west of Ashland Avenue, the building was constructed in the 1920s as the site of the Goldblatt’s Department Store.
It was designed by architect Alfred S. Alshuler, whose other work includes the London Guarantee Building, the K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Temple and the Florsheim Shoe Co. building, all designated Chicago landmarks.
The scaffolding partially obscured the building’s engraved “Goldblatt Bros” sign.
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