ROSELAND — A key City Council committee approved a plan to guide development around four proposed Red Line Stations that would be part of a long-anticipated extension into the Far South Side.
The Red Line Extension Transit-Supportive Development Plan was passed by Chicago’s Plan Commission during a meeting Thursday. It was first introduced to the commission in February, according to the Daily Line.
The plan “seeks to promote development without the displacement of existing residents and achieve community-focused benefits such as affordable housing, local economic development, and environmental sustainability” in communities near the four new proposed Red Line stations, according to the Plan Commission.
The Red Line Extension is the CTA’s $3.6 billion plan to extend the “L” nearly 6 miles and move its terminal from 95th Street to 130th Street.
RELATED: Far South Siders Have Been Promised A Red Line Extension For 50 Years. Now, The CTA Says It’s Closer Than Ever To Happening
Former Mayor Richard J. Daley promised to extend the Red Line beyond 95th Street when the Dan Ryan terminal opened in 1969, but those plans never came to fruition. The latest proposal would see stations built at 103rd and 111th streets near Eggleston Avenue, at Michigan Avenue near 116th Street and at 130th Street near Altgeld Gardens.
The project is expected to support several developments backed by the Far South Community Development Corporation, including a 111th Street station that would support the Roseland Community Medical District.
In December, City Council approved the creation of a “transit TIF” district that will send nearly $1 billion in tax dollars over the next few decades to the Far South Side project.
The plan now requires a vote from the City Council’s Committee on Zoning and the full City Council.
Jasmine Gunn, Far South Region planner with the Department of Planning and Development, said the framework was created through listening sessions, community meetings and surveys over the past several month.
The plan guides development in a half-mile radius of each station that won’t displace or disrupt existing communities. Gunn said that was the biggest concern city officials hard from nearby residents.
The goal would be achieved through rehabbing existing homes and buildings, building mixed-used developments near the stations and along major roads to spur investment and constructing new homes on existing vacant lots throughout the areas, Gunn said.
There could be as much as $1.7 billion in real estate and development investment, with 118,000 square-feet of retail space and more than 3,300 infill and rehab housing units, Gunn said.
The city would also work with existing business owners in the areas to help them thrive, she said.
Strategies to improve pedestrian safety, bus and bike lane connectivity are also included in the guide.
Residents can find further details for the entire plan here.
During Thursday’s meeting, community members spoke up in favor of the development plan.
Leaders like Andrea Reed, executive director of the Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce, said the plan “represents the community’s vision for development along the [Red Line Extension] corridor, including the Roseland business community, which was once known as the shopping mecca and a jewel on the South Side.”
“For far too long, the Roseland community has suffered from gross disinvestment which has negatively impacted the quality of life in and around the community,” she said. “This long awaited development will enhance economic vitality and increase mobility for transit-dependent individuals who require access to resources that will greatly improve their quality of life.”
Abraham Lacy, president of the Far South Community Development Corporation, said he’s been a strong advocate for the Red Line extension and subsequent development. During his remarks, he thanked the Chicago Transit Authority, Department of Housing, City Council and others who have continued to usher in this project.
“We need this plan to go forward,” he said. “I think one of the biggest issues we have, and I come in contact with, are residents who say, ‘You know, we open our papers every day and we see billions going into affluent areas. When is our turn?’ But when I see this plan, it renews hope in what we can believe in as one city — not two cities, not a tale of two cities.”
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