Community coalition will help develop North Avenue corridor

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Alderman Deborah Graham

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I would like to thank the Galewood residents who came to my community meeting on Tuesday Feb. 19, to express their concerns about the proposed opening of Easy Cash Solutions at 6434 W. North Ave. Specifically, residents worried about the negative aesthetic impact of another pawn shop along North Avenue, and whether such a business could possibly attract a criminal element. There were several factors I took into consideration when writing my letter in support of Austin Bank's efforts to secure this business as a tenant. First, the space at 6434 W. North Ave. had been vacant for five years. Second, I learned that Easy Cash Solutions is a publicly-traded company that would bring up to 17 jobs to the community, as well as provide employees health care benefits and 401K retirement plans. Third, after speaking to both the Chicago and Oak Park police departments, I learned that notwithstanding the existence of other pawn shops in the area, the Galewood community is one of their safest beats.

This fact was corroborated publicly by the 25th District Commander at the February 2013 meeting. Fourth, Cash America, a business similar to Easy Cash Solutions, has been located in Oak Park for 15 years with no incident reported to me by the Oak Park Police, and has been fully compliant with Oak Park authorities.

Nevertheless, I do recognize and take to heart the concerns raised in February's meeting. As such, I have begun working with officials from Easy Cash Solutions to install specific safeguards before opening this business, in accordance with the exact concerns raised by residents.

At the meeting, I made a commitment to assemble a compliance committee comprised of law enforcement, business and community members to oversee its opening. I will announce the members of this new committee shortly.

I am also in the process of developing a coalition of residents from Oak Park and Galewood to help develop the North Avenue corridor, as well as a broader group that will address the business corridors on Madison and Chicago avenues and Division Street. From these groups, I can elicit more ideas and suggestions for bringing in the kind of businesses we would all like to see.

In the meantime, I thank the concerned residents again for their candor, and pledge to work with residents across the 29th Ward to ensure their input with respect to future business development.

Deborah Graham is alderman of the 29th Ward.

 

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Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 10:18 AM

Resident, what you say is (probably) true. Unfortunately, that truth isn't translated on election day.l

Resident  

Posted: March 23rd, 2013 12:43 PM

Well, I'm willing to bet that the people who want the liquor stores are mostly the people hanging around those corners, and not the majority of people who see the dysfunction being produced by them.

Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 3:19 PM

In a way, as shown by the Democratic Party election results, "most" people want the liquor stores and pawn stores.

Resident  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:24 AM

What we need is a new mayor, a new police chief AND new aldermans. Considering the amount of crime that already plagues Austin and spills into Oak Park, how exactly do more pawn shops and liquor stores reverse that? Oh, they don't, they create more dysfunction in an already dysfunctional place.

Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 19th, 2013 11:43 AM

If the community wants real change, it must elect non-Democratic politicians (i.e. Green, Libertarian, Independent). Replacing Graham with another Democrat will produce more of the same.

Disgusted  

Posted: March 19th, 2013 2:10 AM

nail in the coffin for North Ave. Seeing as you've already gone against the will of the community, and against the positive development of North, I do not trust you to lead any "community coalition" that determines anything regarding the future of the community. The fact that you went against the community, and now want to lead the community is nothing short of sickening. Now many liquor stores have you OKed in your ward? Were those a step in the right direction?

Disgusted  

Posted: March 19th, 2013 1:59 AM

Graham, you ignored the community, went with your own agenda and made the decision that adds to the ghetto factor on North Ave. So I find it highly ironic and laughable that you ar the one setting up a "community coalition", as you've shown to care more about banks than the community. Studies have shown that the addition of multiple pawn stores in a single area, let alone a single street, brings a certain level of blight to an area, yet you consider this growth? The pawn store is just one more

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