Wicker Park Committee on Division/Ashland development

July 20, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

With the redevelopment of the now-vacant southwest corner of Ashland and Division seemingly imminent, it is urgent that the opinions of impacted community groups are recognized by your office. The Ashland/Division intersection is the gateway to a vibrant retail and entertainment scene on Division Street along the southern boundary of the Wicker Park Committee. Likewise the property fronts on the Polish Triangle, which has been the ongoing focus of revitalization efforts. This parcel is such a prominent, influential site that its development deserves especially thoughtful design considerations.

In the past there has been universal support from community groups for a project of proper scale and complexity. Conversely, opposition has been universal to a previously proposed single story/single tenant drugstore facility. Opposition has been even more vocal to repeated suggestions of a drive-thru facility. The Board of Directors of the Wicker Park Committee (WPC) would, at this critical moment, like to reiterate its support for a development project which reflects the very special influences of this unique site.

Those influences which should drive the project design include:

• The SCALE of the project should reflect the prominence of the site as the eastern anchor of a grand-scaled Division Street and as a neighbor of the multi-story Landmark bank building.

• The OCCUPANCY of the building should target a mixed-use of retail/ commercial/ entertainment which will complement the Division Street culture and also be a catalyst for the social and physical rebirth of the Polish Triangle.

• The project program and design should reflect the PEDESTRIAN ZONING of the site and take full advantage of its proximity to a mass transit stop.

It needs to be emphasized that this is not an ordinary “in-fill” site where mediocre architecture can be blended into the streetscape. This is a cornerstone site of several Landmark communities and calls for a bold and imaginative design response from the developers. As in the past, we trust we can depend on you to include community voices in the evaluation of this development proposal.

The proper development of this site can redefine and revitalize the entire six-corner neighborhood, and the WPC is overwhelmingly committed to getting it done right.

Should you have any questions or comments concerning this correspondence please contact me at your convenience at emtamminga@earthlink.net or at 312-404-4975.

Sincerely,

Ed Tamminga, President
On behalf of the WPC Board of Directors

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