To the Editor:
I fully support the efforts of Mesa Development LLC to revitalize 53rd Street with its high-rise and leased commercial space where the Mobil gas station is now located. As a parent with a full-time job and very busy children, I welcome the opportunity to secure more stores and restaurants with quality options for Hyde Parkers, so that my hard-earned dollars can stay in the community. I also want us to attract neighboring patrons as well.
When my husband and I first moved to Hyde Park more than 15 years ago, we lamented that we had to travel back downtown for entertainment, for a healthy meal or just to have some variety of meal options. We admired the boutiques and brand name stores and watering-holes in Lincoln Park; admired its residents for their ability to walk to those options in their neighborhood. Once we started having children, we then desired a nearby clothing or shoe store with variety of name brands for the whole family. But we found ourselves driving to the South Loop or downtown, once again — just to pick up a pair of toddler socks or a quick gift. We, of course, stayed in Hyde Park all of these years because of its cultural diversity, its proximity to the Loop and because we have made many friends in the neighborhood over the years. So, finally, after many years, we’re beginning to see commercial changes, and we love it. We have already seen a revitalization of the South Loop area and now, a steady stream of new options in Hyde Park. Restaurants where you can meet friends, find healthier meals and fresh grocery items and, hopefully, experience less crime. Yes — less crime — because active communities, communities with lots of eyes and ears, are less attractive to those seeking to harm others or property.
I refuse to believe that Hyde Park residents would prefer to retain a gas station, with the massive real estate it demands and all of the pollutants it brings, over a new bustling and thriving residential and commercial center. I also refuse to believe Hyde Parkers are afraid of a little construction for a duration of time. We are all living through the construction at Harper Court and, while inconvenient, we will be better for it — property values will rise, increased shopping and dining options for our residents, and less wear-and-tear on all of us driving elsewhere to buy goods and services.
A world-class city and a world-class neighborhood in that city, housing one of the most prestigious universities in the world, should have more variety, more options, both retail and bargain, and for all kinds of goods and services we need for our families. Mesa Development’s 53rd Street plans help achieve this.