Quigley: Time to fund infrastructure

Congressman states his priorities in Zoom session

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley says recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown might require $2 trillion to $3 trillion in infrastructure spending–not only roads and bridges but also schools, parks, Blue Line improvements, broadband access and shoreline protection.

"It's a little surreal we're over $3 trillion right now" in federal aid, Quigley told EVA members from his Washington office in a May 4 Zoom meeting. Quigley offered his staff's help navigating the Paycheck Protection Program and other small business initiatives. "They say it's a stimulus bill and it's not. It's really a survival bill."

Nursing home residents and people at high risk will need more protection, he said, with summer COVID-19 transmission expected to drop by only 20%. Quigley noted the budget sent to his House subcommittee cuts Centers for Disease Control funding by 18%.

The coronavirus poses global threats, he says–it could destabilize governments (one African nation has three ventilators, he noted) and invite terrorism. Quigley says federal priorities need restructuring, including immediate Postal Service support to sustain voting by mail.

"Trying to coordinate in the middle of this," he said, "is trying to rebuild a battleship as we're turning it around in a small lagoon."

Augusta Boulevard landmarks

EVA members voted 8-3 to support a Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association initiative, presented to EVA members in March, to extend landmark status to Augusta Boulevard between Leavitt and Damen Avenue.

The UVNA's Kim Shannon said she was circulating petitions with property owners of the 40 qualifying buildings, both worker's cottages and other original buildings. Shannon and Greg Nagel, a former EVA president, debated the effect on property values. Brian Foote of EVA's planning committee noted that he sought out a landmark building for his home, and Marjie Isaacson noted that tax breaks were available for landmark buildings.

Planning, Preservation and Development

The planning committee considered two proposals for properties on North Wolcott Avenue, Foote said. It opposed demolition of a frame house on the 800 block, protected in the East Village landmark district. A double lot rezoning is under review to allow 9 units on the 1000 block, but the plan seems to run counter to EVA policy to support the block's overall character.

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