Sunday, March 21, 2010

3/24 meeting about Morse-Glenwood streetscape project

News from Joe Moore:

Construction will begin this spring on the long-awaited Morse-Glenwood streetscape project. The project encompasses Morse Avenue from Ashland to Wayne and Glenwood Avenue from Lunt to Farwell on both sides of the elevated tracks.

Joe Moore is hosting a community meeting with the Rogers Park Business Alliance to present the plans and outline the construction schedule. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, 3/24 at 7:00 p.m. at United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse, 3rd Floor. Representatives of the Chicago Dept. of Transportation will be on hand to answer your questions.

New streetlights, sidewalks and planter boxes will grace Morse and Glenwood. In addition, Morse Avenue will be resurfaced and the sidewalks on Glenwood will be widened for greater pedestrian access. The brick pavers that now exist on the western side of Glenwood will remain in the traffic lanes.

The $4 million streetscape is funded by $1.6 million in City of Chicago funds and $2.4 million in federal funds secured by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Community residents were instrumental in selecting the streetscape design and elements. ...This has been a very long process, made even longer by the reviewing requirements that came attached with the federal dollars. But our patience will be rewarded by this summer's end with a new and more appealing appearance for both Morse and Glenwood.

Please contact the 49th ward office with any questions.


mcl said...

What happened to the 'Howard Street Streetscape Project' that was originally planned to start a dozen or so years ago? Apparently that project has been leapfrogged, pushed aside and placed on the back burner in favor of the Morse Avenue Project.

Bill Morton said...

I agree with Mike that the 'Howard Street Streetscape Project' has been pushed aside, if not completely abandonned.

I wonder why the attention moved from Howard Street to Morse Avenue?

Fargo said...

It's disappointing that Howard has been mostly ignored while Morse has flourished. Others may have different opinions on this, but I suspect that the success of several business owners have taken a chance on Morse has been a factor.

The Morseland guys took a big chance when conditions were less than favorable, and they've added a lot to the neighborhood. Other restaurants and coffeehouses have followed, along with the Morse Theater.

We haven't had anywhere near the same level of business start-ups on Howard St. Over the past several years, I know from reliable sources that some building owners who have worked hard to attract quality business tenants have been frustrated by thugs scaring off their prospect tenants on visits to view the property. I don't have info as to whether or not similar intimidation has happened on Morse.

Other than Paulette at Jamaica Jerk, we haven't seen much new business development on Howard in a long time. I'd love to see new people come in to offer a wider spectrum of businesses on Howard and help revitalize it.

As we've seen in the microcosm of Jarvis & Greenview, having a cluster of small businesses that complement each other and have some overlap among their potential customers creates more of an attraction and brings more foot traffic. That creates a better environment for businesses and the community as a whole.

If Howard St. attracted the level of business investment that Morse and Jarvis have seen in recent years, I suspect that it would bump that Howard streetscape project back up the priority list.

Fargo said...

Addl. note: If the Morse Theater had remained in operation, the street as a whole would have seen bigger gains.

I made a few incomplete edits on the previous comment, but I think it should make sense as is. Please excuse the lapses.

mcl said...

As a 35 year resident North of Howard and a Realtor, I can tell you why we haven't seen investment along Howard Street(other than the couple you mention). We don't have the economic base to attract viable retail investment. Ninety-five % of the NoH residential rental property (which makes up 50%of ALL the housing NoH)is subsidized and the number of people living at or below the poverty level in the NoH neighborhood is around 40%. You can't concentrate these kinds of conditions in such a small area and think you're going to attract business investors, other than 'quickie marts, cell phone stores, junk food, etc'. What you see on Howard Street East of the EL is the result of more than two decades of concentrating poverty and subsidised housing North of Housing. It's not rocket science!

Fargo said...

I couldn't agree more. There are fragments of middle class population among all the poverty NoH. South of Howard, it's a lot more mixed, and people are finding it easier to gravitate towards the now-established businesses on Jarvis and Morse.