Thoughts on the proposed Pilsen Historical Landmark District
As you may know, on April 16, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) held a public meeting at Rudy Lozano Library to discuss a proposed historic landmark designation for a significant part of Central Pilsen. At the meeting, residents voiced legitimate concerns about the proposal, the most common of which being its expedited timeline and its impact on affordability. There was also a valid desire for more information regarding the specifics of the historic designation.
Since taking office on May 20, my team and I have sought to gain these specifics from DPD afit of the designation for residents and homeowners within the district—and for our community more broadly.
It has become clear in these discussions that we need broader and more detailed input from the residents and homeowners within the district before holding another public meeting. As a result, we have decided to postpone this public meeting until Thursday, July 11 at 1661 S. Blue Island Ave. (6-8 p.m.) to allow us time to perform personal outreach in order to gain a more informed perspective on how the majority of affected residents feel towards the designation.
At the time of writing, we have only heard from less than 10% of about this proposal as well as engaged in discussions with experts in order to better evaluate the beneffected residents, many of whom notably oppose the landmark designation. During the electoral campaign, I committed to a community-driven process, and expressed the need to open up the dialogue between decision-makers and the people who call the 25th Ward home. This is the first of my efforts to fulfill this commitment.
It also certainly won’t be the last of my efforts. This won’t be the first key development decision we will have to make in the coming four years. In addition to the Pilsen Historic Landmark District, we will have to collectively address “the 78” and the El Paseo Trail—both large-scale, expensive developments that can dramatically change the landscape of our ward.
Although the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted two weeks ago to approve DPD’s recommendation to proceed with creating the Pilsen Historic Landmark District, the timeline can be extended to 365 days and the proposal dissolved if it transpires from our conversations that this landmark designation is clearly not what the community wants.
The only way we can preserve the social fabric of all of our neighborhoods is to develop a ward-wide preservation strategy informed by the people that takes into account the unique needs of Chinatown, Pilsen, South Loop, Little Italy and West Loop. This will be the beginning of developing this ward-wide strategy and our community-driven processes.
In other words, we need your help. If you are interested in joining the Pilsen Historic Landmark Preservation Advisory Committee to help us create this strategy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inclusive dialogue leads to informed decisions.
Yours in service,
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez