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Millions for bird scheme

Millions for bird scheme

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is seeking to rehabilitate Jackson Park over the next five years. USACE is exploring a plan to restore around 160 acres of Jackson Park, beginning this year and lasting through 2019. The project, aimed at removing invasive species and introducing native vegetation, is(…)

Low turnout blamed for participatory budgeting ending

Low turnout blamed for participatory budgeting ending

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer Hyde Parkers met Ald. Leslie Hairston’s decision not to continue the 5th Ward’s participatory budgeting (PB) program this year with a mixed reaction. The 5th Ward’s experiment with PB — a political process born in Brazil in the late ’80s, in which constituents decide how their district’s money is spent(…)

CAC drive on

CAC drive on

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS Staff Writer The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HP-K CC) Schools Committee is searching for parents, principals, elected officials, faith-based leaders and more community members to help it form a Hyde Park Community Action Council (CAC). A majority of those in attendance at the conference’s Schools Committee meeting last Wednesday at Kenwood(…)

Yusho opening soon, Merges says

Yusho opening soon, Merges says

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer   Chef Matthias Merges said he expects the Hyde Park location of his Avondale Japanese restaurant Yusho to open this summer. On Dec. 17, a lawsuit originally filed in August challenging a University of Chicago-backed petition calling for the sale of alcohol in the area was dismissed. The lawsuit, filed(…)

Hairston closes budget books

Hairston closes budget books

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer Ald. Hairston (5th) has ended her ward’s participatory budgeting (PB) program. According to Hairston — the first South Side alderman to give her constituents a choice to vote on how to spend more than $1 million in annual discretionary funds — the decision to put a halt to the district’s experiment(…)

How Wright came to Kenwood

How Wright came to Kenwood

By LINDSAY WELBERS Staff Writer Frank Lloyd Wright came to Chicago when he was just a teenager. By the time he was 24-years-old he was designing his first houses, with the budget and support to explore his aesthetic choices. Dozens of Kenwood residents came to an informational meeting on the Blossom and McArthur houses, hosted(…)

Locals hear details on cost to restore two homes at risk

Locals hear details on cost to restore two homes at risk

By LINDSAY WELBERS Staff Writer To restore the decaying Frank Lloyd Wright houses at the center of a controversy in South Kenwood will take between $4 and $5 million, in addition to their purchase prices. The Blossom and McArthur houses have languished on the real estate market since fall of 2012. The McArthur house, 4852(…)

Mitchell ready for March opponent

Mitchell ready for March opponent

By JEFRREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer Illinois’ youngest state legislator, state Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26), will face off in next March’s state primary with former Kenwood Oakland Community Organization Executive Director Jay Travis. But the 27-year-old incumbent — who is seeking a second term to represent the district including parts of Hyde Park, Kenwood, downtown and(…)

Jay Travis eyes Springfield

Jay Travis eyes Springfield

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS Staff Writer As a young girl growing up in Bronzeville, Jay Travis heard stories of her grandmother standing up to slumlords in the 1950s and ’60s and witnessed her father’s involvement with several civil rights movements. She said seeing the positive effects of people who used their own power to stand(…)

Village demolition paves way for City Hyde Park

Village demolition paves way for City Hyde Park

By LINDSAY WELBERS Staff Writer Demolition started last week on the former Village Shopping Center. The dilapidated buildings are being torn down to make way for a Jeanne Gang-designed retail and residential tower, with upscale grocer Whole Foods as the anchor tenant. Demolition is expected to conclude in mid-February of 2014. The new tower, named(…)

BankFinancial ends experiment on 55th Street

BankFinancial ends experiment on 55th Street

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL Staff Writer BankFinancial will close its branch at 5500 S. Lake Park Ave. on Jan. 2. The BankFinancial location — one of two in Hyde Park, including another at 1345 E. 55th St. — was unveiled by the company as an ebranch in spring 2012. The Burr Ridge-based company’s tellerless concept was(…)

Raoul, Currie weigh in on controversial pension bill they helped to pass

Raoul, Currie weigh in on controversial pension bill they helped to pass

By JEFFERY BISHKU-AYKUL Assistant to the Editor When Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1 Thursday, he capped a years-long debate in the Illinois legislature over how to address the state’s pension crisis — with the help of Hyde Park’s elected officials. Beginning this year, Illinois’ unpaid debt to its public employee retirees amounted to(…)

Objections to Pritzker bed and breakfast ignore track record

Objections to Pritzker bed and breakfast ignore track record

By LINDSAY WELBERS Staff Writer Although Kenwood residents recently objected to a plan that would restore two aging Frank Lloyd Wright houses and turn them into a bed-and-breakfast, there have been B&Bs in the neighborhood for years. Many people at a 4th Ward meeting last month complained that a B&B would be a commercial enterprise on(…)

CPS is MIA for Canter meeting

CPS is MIA for Canter meeting

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS Staff Writer Hyde Park’s new schools chief received a grilling after disgruntled community members were stood up, Wednesday evening, by Community Action Council (CAC) representatives for an information session. The residents are taking steps to move forward in their efforts to keep Canter Middle School open. At a CPS board meeting(…)

Life after old Harper Court

Life after old Harper Court

By LINDSAY WELBERS Staff Writer When the old Harper Court building was demolished in 2009 to make way for the 12-story office tower, parking structure and retail space that sits there now, many neighborhood-owned businesses were displaced. The move wasn’t bad for everyone. Some businesses relocated and flourished, but others were forced to close up(…)

Schools get mixed grades

Schools get mixed grades

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS Staff Writer Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released 2012 School Progress Reports to parents on report card pick up day. The reports offer a more comprehensive look at the academic and social climate of each school. Charter and alternative schools also received report cards this year. The CPS 2013 School Progress Reports(…)