Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) and his staff officially opened a new satellite office on the south end of the 29th Ward, located at 4807 W. Harrison Street. The alderman hosted a grand opening ceremony on Sept. 8.
The office will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 9 a.m. and noon, and will offer most of what is offered by the main office at 6272 W. North Ave., including filing service requests, applying for permits and getting information about programs and events within the ward and elsewhere.
Although the ward's main office is close to the 29th Ward's geographical center, Taliaferro said that he always wanted to set up satellite offices in further-flung ends of his ward, so that his constituents wouldn't have to travel as far.
The 29th ward is long and thin, stretching across the western edges of the West Side. The south end is located on the Chicago/Cicero border at Roosevelt Road, while the northern end reaches Roscoe Street.
"My vision was to have an office in each area of the ward," Taliaferro said.
The north satellite office operates on Saturday mornings at Koatek's Bakery and Deli, 2445 N. Harlem Ave. Bonnie Goerger, who owns the building that the south satellite office is located in, said that she offered the location to Taliaferro.
While visiting his main office, she noted that it didn't have much parking, and she felt that there might be more parking near and across the street from her building. Besides, Goerger added, the spot was more convenient for residents in that part of the ward, and she wanted to do something nice for the community.
Taliaferro's staff told the Weekly that Goerger was letting them use the space rent-free.
Before Saturday's grand opening, the alderman's staff did some outreach, inviting passers-by to step inside to get information about services and to sign up for the ward's e-mail list. They also invited constituents to ask Taliaferro any questions that they may have.
Steve Robinson, the Executive Director of Northwest Austin Council, said he stopped by the support Taliaferro. Even though his organization was closer to the main office, he thought that a south satellite office was a great idea.
"Having this office would supply a lot of resources on the south end," he said.
Pecola McCollum, the first lady at the nearby New Home Baptist Church, 4804 W. Polk St., said she appreciated having a satellite office, because it would be a great option for non-urgent questions.
Rosalyn Tucker, a community activist for more than 50 years, said that it was nice to have a satellite office closer to where she actually lives.
Ellis Herron, another Austin resident, stopped by the office with his wife, Sharon. He said that he felt that the office will be especially helpful for seniors.
"I think [the south satellite office] is great for the community," he said. "You get a of seniors living on this end [of the ward] who can't travel to the other side of the ward."
Mrs. Herron agreed.
"That satellite office [will be great]," she said. "Any issues — I'm sure they'd be able to address it. It's just a five- to 10-minute drive away."
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