WEST RIDGE — A Jewish organization that helps people with development disabilities is trying to buy a former library building in West Ridge.
Yachad Chicago has made an offer on the former Northtown branch of the Chicago Public Library at 6435 N. California Ave., Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said. The group has agreed to pay $400,000 for the building with the intention of using it as office and program space.
The city’s Plan Commission will review plans to reuse the building March 17 before potentially sending it for a vote before the City Council, said Silverstein spokesperson Yisrael Shapiro.
No rezoning is required for the plan, said a spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Development.
Under the proposal, Yachad Chicago would renovate the property and use it to house supportive services for Jewish people with developmental disabilities. Yachad Chicago is the Skokie-based branch of the National Jewish Council for Disabilities.
A portion of the facility would be leased to Libenu, another organization that helps Jewish adults and children with developmental disabilities live fulfilling lives, Silverstein said.
“Now, we have an opportunity to use the old space in a way that will benefit the community,” she said in an email to constituents. “Yachad is a globally recognized leader in advocacy and would make a wonderful neighbor.”
Yachad Chicago did not respond to a request to comment Tuesday.
The roughly 11,000-square-foot building at 6435 N. California Ave. served as the Northtown branch library from 1962 to 2019, when West Ridge’s combination library and affordable housing facility opened at 6800 N. Western Ave. The former branch has been empty since.
After Northtown had gone without large renovations for much of its time, neighbors began pushing for a new library in 2015.
West Ridge neighbors also began looking for different uses for the building even before the branch closed. In 2017, the West Ridge Community Organization pushed for a community center to open in the facility.
The building is “deteriorating rapidly,” Silverstein said in an email to constituents.
The former library is listed as a city-owned surplus property available for sale. The $400,000 sales price is the estimated market value of the property, Silverstein said in an email.
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