JEFFERSON PARK — The 45th Ward is slated to get a round of infrastructure improvements like sidewalk, alley and street resurfacing repairs.
The work will be paid for by the ward’s $1.5 million menu funds, which each alderman receives annually from the city, Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) said Wednesday at a Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association meeting.
Gardiner’s office is in the process of determining which areas and streets need the most repairs, but they will focus on Jefferson Park and areas that will become part of the ward in mid-May under the remap. Those include parts of Norwood Park, Wildwood and Edgebrook.
“… In those areas, we see that there is a lot of need for infrastructure investments,” Gardiner told attendees.
Construction could start in early summer, the alderman said.
“We have some federal funds [that have] already been allocated for many of the streets in Jefferson Park on top of what we have already fixed,” Gardiner said.
Gardiner, who was recently reelected, has often used menu funds for street infrastructure projects. After first being elected in 2019, Gardiner killed participatory budgeting and projects slated to receive funding under former Ald. John Arena, using the money for street repairs, speed cameras and to address flooding issues.
Last year, Gardiner spent nearly all of that year’s $1.5 million on street resurfacing, speed bump replacements, street light fixes, alley repairs and city-operated speed cameras, according to the 2022 menu ward detail report by the Chicago Department of Transportation. Gardiner had almost $6,000 left over at the end of the year, which goes back to the city’s funding pot.
“We took a lot of time and a lot of energy to try to address those issues, and we’re going to continue to do that this year, and I would say over the likes of the next four years,” he said.
Gardiner also used the meeting to thank constituents who voted for him and said he feels “blessed” to serve the ward for another four years. He said he plans to work with the whole community, even those who did not vote for him, during his next term.
“[Our team does] an extraordinary amount of work to try to serve the people of our ward. … We’re not always given the appropriate amount of manpower, but with the manpower that we are given, we feel we do a tremendous amount of outreach and events events for our community,” Gardiner said.
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