RAVENSWOOD MANOR — Some Ravenswood Manor residents are unhappy with proposed ward maps that would split their neighborhood into three parts or lump it into territories east of the north branch of the Chicago River.
Last week, the City Council’s Rules Committee introduced its draft map that would move portions of Ravenswood Manor out of Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez’s 33rd Ward and into the territories of Alds. Andre Vasquez (40th) and Matt Martin (47th), primarily on the other side of the river.
The neighborhood — whose rough boundaries are West Lawrence Avenue to the north, North Sacramento Avenue to the west, the North Branch of the Chicago River to the east and West Montrose Avenue to the South — would be bisected mostly along Leland Avenue in Vasquez’s and Martin’s wards.
Here’s how Ravenswood Manor would look under the Rules Committee map:
A rival map from the Latino Caucus also moves Ravenswood Manor out of Rodriguez-Sanchez’s ward, but it doesn’t split it into three territories. The neighborhood would be mostly unified within Martin’s new boundaries.
Neither change is ideal, neighbors told Block Club. They said they worry either change could lead to their concerns and requests being overlooked by aldermen whose main priorities would be on the other side of the river.
“We belong with the neighborhoods we’re next to right now,” said Darinka D’Alessio, a neighbor who has lived in Ravenswood Manor for about 30 years. “Just look at the poor Ald. [Vasquez] in the 40th: He’s all the way to Clark and Devon and then has to also worry about Lincoln Square.”
Liz Kores, another Ravenswood Manor neighbor, said both maps’ boundaries felt “arbitrary.” Kores would prefer Ravenswood Manor stay in the 33rd Ward along with parts of Albany Park, Irving Park and Avondale.
“It does seem strange they’re cutting off Ravenswood Manor from the rest of Albany Park,” Kores said.
Here’s how the neighborhood would look in the Latino Caucus map:
In 1909, New York developer William E. Harmon began building 15 model homes to lure buyers to his Ravenswood Manor subdivision, made possible by the straightening of the North Branch of the Chicago River and the extension of the Ravenswood “L” line (now the Brown Line) into the area, according to city records.
Ravenswood Manor’s oldest building, the Francisco Brown Line station, was built in 1907 and predates all of the neighborhood’s homes.
The Latino Caucus wants to move Ravenswood Manor into the 47th Ward in an effort to preserve a majority Latino 33rd Ward while building on links that exist between the neighborhoods on both sides of the river — like the Waters Elementary school attendance boundaries, Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
While Chicago’s Latino population has grown to become the city’s second-largest racial or ethnic group, census data also shows the 33rd Ward has lost a considerable amount of its Latino population, Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
Gentrification and the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated that loss of Latino residents, Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
“With the Latino Caucus map, there was the intention to create the most compact and continuous wards possible, but it’s a very difficult exercise because these aren’t just census numbers, these are people,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
Vasquez said the Latino Caucus version would keep Ravenswood Manor more intact.
“I think it’s a good thing to point out that Rodriguez-Sanchez and I are members of the Latino Caucus, and I think you can tell the difference in our map to the Rules Committee map, which I think causes a little more division in the neighborhood,” Vasquez said.
City Council members are still discussing the Rules Committee map and getting advice from legal consultants, Martin said. Neighbors should continue to share their thoughts with his office as its borders are refined, he said.
“The overall direction of those conversations’ goals, among others, is to have the 33rd Ward be a majority Latino ward, if at all possible,” Martin said.
City Council is squaring up for a potentially drawn-out battle over the new ward boundaries.
The Rules Committee map was introduced with heavy influence from the Black Caucus, but it was not voted by a critical deadline. The next day, the Latino Caucus filed its own version of a map, making it possible Chicago voters will have to choose between the two in a referendum next summer.
Such a vote, which would be the city’s first in 30 years, is still a long ways off. Alderpeople have until 40 days before next summer’s election to garner 41 votes for a map, but they can only support one proposal.
Bette Rosenstein, president of the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association, said if the neighborhood must switch wards, it should not be broken into disjointed pieces.
“If this is what we have to work with, we do not want to be split into different wards. We want to stay in one ward, and that can be whatever ward anybody wants,” Rosenstein said. “We can work with whatever alderman, but the entire Ravenswood Manor needs to stay in one ward.”
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