Is the McMobil plan needed in Hyde Park?

To the Editor:

Before going on any further in the McMobil plan, Hyde Park residents need to consider the following:

  1. Is there a demonstrated need for the McMobil Plan?
    Judging from the many Letters to the Editor published in the Hyde Park Herald, the expressed opposition of many community residents at the March 18 meeting at Augustana Lutheran Church and an informal review of community buildings offering apartment rentals at reasonable rates, it is clear that the need for the McMobil Plan has not been adequately demonstrated.
  2. Is there a compelling reason for the McMobil Plan?
    No compelling reason has been offered by proponents of the plan, only vague unsubstantiated arguments for rooming/housing needs, low and middle income housing needs and increased business for the community from potential customers. Instead of offering the community a thoughtful plan which provides a concrete market analysis to demonstrate that the McMobil Plan is viable, it appears that the developers’ main objective is simply to fill up a hole on 53rd Street that will bring them money.
  3. Who stands to profit from the McMobil Plan?
    While developers and supporters are touting community benefits in housing (267 apartments), little thought has been given to many housing alternatives for multiple income levels which already exist in Hyde Park (i.e. the newly renovated Del Prado apartments and the extensive renovation underway at the Shoreland Apartments, where the ambience is superior to a busy 53rd Street location, and many other apartment buildings). The principal beneficiaries of the McMobil Plan are obviously the developers and not the community residents.
  4. Is there a demonstrated awareness on the part of the developers, of the problems likely to be created by the implementation of the McMobil Plan, and is there a plan in place to resolve these problems? The McMobil Plan doesn’t acknowledge that any problems exist; therefore, corrective action is not part of the plan: anticipated traffic and parking nightmares; risk to students from its location across the street from a public school. Insufficient parking (218 spaces for 267 apartments) are met with expressed naive assumptions that the majority of McMobil residents will not own cars, and McMobil customers will be mainly pedestrians.
  5. Are there better alternatives for the McMobil site that would meet demonstrated community needs? Better alternatives which should be considered include: a variety store that sells ordinary things that residents need on an ongoing basis (socks, underwear, sportswear); a bakery/cafe; stores for artisans; and clothing boutiques.

I am concerned about the premature support of Ald. Will Burns (4th) for the McMobil Plan. Burns has apparently made his commitment before he has fully determined his constituents’ needs and preferences.

As so well articulated in the CARRD Fact Sheet, “We Can Do Better Than The McMobil Plan.”

Charlotte Des Jardins