RAVENSWOOD MANOR — A newly approved map that governs Chicago’s ward boundaries for the next decade splits a small Northwest Side neighborhood into separate territories, frustrating residents who pushed for the area to remain under one alderperson.
Ravenswood Manor, which covers about 60 acres between Albany Park and Lincoln Square, will be split into the 33rd and 40th wards under the map approved Monday by City Council.
The neighborhood’s boundaries are roughly Lawrence Avenue to the north, Sacramento Avenue to the west, the Chicago River to the east and Montrose Avenue to the south, which had all been part of Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez’s 33rd Ward.
The new map bisects the neighborhood along portions of Sacramento, Wilson, Manor, California and Montrose, putting the eastern portion into Ald. Andre Vasquez’s 40th Ward primarily on the other side of the river. The rest of the neighborhood will remain in the 33rd Ward.
The map is expected to go into effect in July ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, Chicago Board of Elections officials said.
Throughout the heated, months-long process to make a new map, alternate versions of the map split Ravenswood Manor into as many as three segments or grouped it into one under Ald. Matt Martin (47th).
Bette Rosenstein, president of the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association, said the final map is not ideal, but it’s not the worst of the potential options.
“Two is better than three, and we can work with whoever we need to work with,” Rosenstein said. “We’ll make this work.”
Others said splitting the neighborhood will create logistical headaches. For example, coordinating events like the neighborhood’s annual garage sale will now require two ward offices to sign off on permits, resident Liz Kores said.
Splitting the neighborhood up could also create bureaucratic logjams when asking an alderperson to address issues related to things like crime, river flooding or snow plowing, neighbors said.
“Logistically, the new boundaries are just going to be more complicated for anything the neighborhood wants to organize,” Kores said.
Darinka D’Alessio, another Ravenswood Manor resident, said much of the city’s new map creates territories that make little sense, like the highly gerrymandered “noodle ward.”
“It’s like they’re paying hot potato with us and our issues,” D’Alessio said. “When we need something, who are we supposed to call?”
Vasquez voted against the new map and did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
“The people who end up in the 40th Ward, I’ll be honored and grateful to serve,” Vasquez said last week as the final version of the map was being negotiated.
Rodriguez-Sanchez said the goal for her ward was to unite as much of Albany Park’s Latino population as possible. That didn’t quite shake out, as the western part of the neighborhood will still fall under Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th).
The new 33rd Ward expands westward and retains a predominately Latino chunk of Avondale in an attempt to “keep a lot of immigrant communities together,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
“I consulted lots of people while we were doing this process to make sure that we were doing the most good for the people that have been the most disenfranchised,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
Inhe Choi, executive director of the nonprofit HANA Center, praised Rodriguez-Sanchez for advocating for Asian American and immigrant communities in the 33rd Ward.
“Albany Park has served as a port of entry for Korean Americans in the Chicago area and established our footing to build our lives in the U.S.,” Choi said in a statement. “… We are thrilled to be in the 33rd Ward together and to continue building our strong community.”
To achieve that, sections of other neighborhoods, including Ravenswood Manor, had to be given up, the alderperson said.
“The 33rd Ward has historically been a Latino-majority ward for a long time, but there’s been a lot of displacement. At the end of census, we were at 46 percent Latino,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said. “We were trying to pick up more Latino population so that we could still have a majority Latino ward.”
Controversial Northwest Side Development Now In Another Ward
Rodriguez-Sanchez also gave up a section of the Irving Park neighborhood that includes California Park and the former DePaul College Prep campus at 3633 N. California Ave., the site of an unpopular pitch for townhomes the alderperson blocked last year.
That site and the neighbors who organized against the development will now fall under Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s 35th Ward. Ramirez-Rosa has pledged to carry on Rodriguez-Sanchez’s opposition to the project.
“No zoning change will move forward now or when I represent the site until a development proposal receives the community’s support,” Ramirez-Rosa wrote in a text.
Neighbors said they were not thrilled with the redrawn boundaries but resolved to move forward.
“I’ve met [Ramirez-Rosa] once, so we’ll see. I mean, whoever we have to work with, we’re going to welcome,” said Iris Sanchez Hacker, vice president of the California Park Neighbors Association.
Developer Lexington Homes submitted an updated proposal earlier this year that uses the property’s existing zoning to build something shorter and less dense than what was originally pitched for the site, company Vice President Nate Wynsma said.
The city’s Department of Planning and Development has been in talks with Lexington for the past three months and received their final review almost a month ago, Wynsma said.
Wynsma has expected Rodriguez-Sanchez’s response to the department’s final review and the developer’s request for meetings with neighbors and her staff to discuss the latest version of the plan.
The 33rd Ward will host a meeting in June about Lexington’s latest plans for the property. Rodriguez-Sanchez said she hopes the review process will wrap before the new ward map is enacted.
“As long as there is a zoning request, it’s going to come through my office. If the process stalls…then at that point Carlos will take over,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said. “But I’m hoping we can get through this way before the new map takes effect.”
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