UPTOWN — The city will conduct a study of Clark Street in Uptown to create a master plan for the street that has seen increased developer interest.
The Clark Street Crossroads study will look at Clark Street from Montrose to Foster avenues to see how the corridor can be improved for pedestrians, residents and businesses, the Department of Planning and Development announced Tuesday.
A steering committee headed by city and neighborhood officials will look at the residential and commercial market conditions along Clark Street to see if zoning and public infrastructure improvements can be made, according to the city.
The study comes as developers increasingly look to Uptown’s western edge as the neighborhood sees a building boom. Some of the building proposals on Clark Street have caused outcry from neighbors, who have called for a larger study of the corridor.
A kickoff community workshop for the study will be held in January. For updates on the meeting, check out the project’s website here.
“The public engagement process will help identify neighborhood development issues and new opportunities to achieve local needs and goals,” Maurice Cox, Department of Planning and Development commissioner, said in a statement.
Clark Street in Uptown is characterized by low- and mid-rise mixed-use buildings, and it is home to many immigrant-owned wholesale businesses. Uptown’s stretch of Clark Street is sleepier than Andersonville to the north and Lakeview to the south, something officials said could be changed with investment and strategic planning.
But as a wave of developer activity hits the street, not all neighbors and landlords think change is for the best.
A development to turn the retail strip at 4511 N. Clark St. into 56 apartments has caused other landlords to consider selling to developers. More than half the buildings on the four-block stretch near the development site have been listed for sale in recent years, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said at a previous community meeting.
A building project is underway on Clark Street just south of Wilson Avenue, and an apartment building is coming to the former Uptown Fitness site at 4410 N. Clark St.
Some have said development will bring more foot traffic to the area, while others said the change could price out the immigrant business community.
The Clark Street study will look at how to best help walkability and promote small business investment in the area, according to city officials.
“Retail has been changing dramatically over the last few years, and we need a plan that will make the best use of this wonderful commercial and residential corridor,” Cappleman said in a statement. “This study will help strategize the future of Clark Street for all of its neighbors and visitors.”
Officials have begun interviewing and touring the stretch of Clark Street as part of the study. At least two community meetings will be held on the study, and there will be ways for neighbors to weigh in.
The city has already launched a Clark Street mapping tool allowing neighbors to pin on the map areas of “opportunity” and “concern” so the issues can be looked at more in-depth.
A draft of the master plan will be released in the first half of next year, with the final version expected to be completed by May.
Members of the Clark Street study steering committee include Alds. Cappleman, Andre Vasquez (40th) and Matt Martin (47th), plus representatives of the Andersonville, Ravenswood and Uptown business chambers and block club leaders. Jackie Taylor from the Black Ensemble Theater, which is working on a “cultural corridor” on Clark Street, is also on the steering committee.
The study is being financed with $250,000 from the Clark/Montrose tax incremental finance district.
For more information on the Clark Street Crossroads study, click here.
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