North Lawndale alderman lays out vision for ward

Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. says more local entertainment, housing development and possible magnet school are in the works

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Michael Romain

Editor

Several months after winning a seat in the Chicago City Council during a runoff election in April, Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. (24th) laid out what he called his vision for the ward. The 39-year-old politician addressed more than 100 residents at a public meeting hosted by the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) at the Sinai Community Institute, 2653 West Ogden Ave.

The NLCCC has been in formation since May, the group's organizers said. It comprises Lawndale stakeholders — including business owners, community organizations and elected officials — who have come together to create what NLCCC members say would be North Lawndale's first legally binding comprehensive plan. 

Scott told the audience that NLCCC's prospects for acquiring the grant are promising before outlining his future plans for the ward, delineating them into four areas: education, housing, economic development and public safety.

The alderman said he's been in contact with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials about the possibility of bringing a magnet elementary school to North Lawndale — something he said the district seems "very receptive about" doing after tempering expectations by pointing out the preliminary nature of the talks.

In the area of housing, Scott referenced three development projects — Homan Square Apartments Phase IV, the Montclare supportive living facility and the Sterling Apartments — that he said might work to stabilize his ward's housing stock.

Scott said he wants to create a community development corporation that incorporates "the entire West Side — not just North Lawndale." He also advocated for consolidating the community's various chambers of commerce into one, which would work with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on plans to cultivate local businesses in the area.

Scott, who co-founded the Chicago Westside Music Festival (CWMF), said he's been working with the Chicago Park District on plans for a permanent outdoor music venue that would attract events like the CWMF and Riot Fest with regularity.

"We want to bring more events like that into an area that won't restrict other uses of the park like soccer and that will be in a place that won't tear up grass," he said.

A Riot Fest representative estimated that the costs associated with prepping, maintaining and cleaning Douglas Park for this year's punk rock festival were around $180,000.

Scott said he is also talking with the owners of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, 2621 W. 15th Pl., about coordinated visits to the property that would allow outsiders "to see what they're doing and generate revenue."

Scott also noting that he's collaborating with Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele (2nd) and state Rep. Arthur Turner, Jr. (D-9th) on the renaissance and revamping of Roosevelt Road.

In the area of public safety, Scott said he wants to replicate the "Night Out in the Parks" event held each year by the Chicago Park District. He said he'll work with community and faith-based organizations to tailor a similar event for the West Side, which could be called "Neighbors Out in the Street."

"I want N. Lawndale to be a great place where we can all live, work, play and raise our families. I have three little people I'm raising in North Lawndale and I want them to be able to go out and enjoy the things I was able to enjoy when I was a little kid — things my parents and my grandparents talked about in the heyday of North Lawndale," said the Chicago park district manager and son of the late Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott, Sr.

Scott recalled his grandparents telling him "how Roosevelt and Pulaski was lined with businesses and our industrial corridor rivaled that of anyone's in the entire world. I want the same thing to happen for us today." 

Contact:
Email: michael@austinweeklynews.com Twitter: AustinWeeklyChi

Love the News?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Austin Weekly News and AustinWeeklyNews.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Precious from Chicago  

Posted: January 15th, 2016 10:48 AM

I have had the opportunity to hear Michael talk on the news and in person. I believe this young man has clear distinctions that former aldermans and a clear vision for North Lawndale that could make individuals proud to be in the area and give those who have lost faith in their community hope of restoration. I am in full support as long as visions and goals for the community are met and outlined correctly with the help of people like myself doing their part and not just sitting on their vision.

Larry from Chicago  

Posted: September 25th, 2015 8:35 PM

Good Luck with that!

DL from Chicago  

Posted: September 24th, 2015 8:22 PM

Now here's an elected official who takes his job seriously. What a grand city this would be if other west side alder(wo)men would show such initiative.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Austin Weekly News 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Austin and Garfield Park.


            
AdvertiseClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad