To the editors:
Relative to the article Berwyn-Broadway Mall by your writer Joravsky [Neighborhood News, January 15], it appears that the author was misinformed on the facts, mostly by proponents of the project. Many of us in the area were opposed to the project from the first day it was announced. The author chose to get his facts from the local Alderman and the ECC, which has represented the property owners of Edgewater, to the complete abandon of the majority of the residents who are tenants and none property owners. The property owners in fact make up less than 20 percent of the area residents and especially in the area most affected: Kenmore and Winthrop Avenues.
The residents of the area were in fact not consulted on this project until it was in fact almost entirely consummated. It was not until residents protested that any of the details of the plan were dribbled out over a 12 month period. Most of the facts are still not on the table for open inspection by the majority most affected. No thinking person could at this time with most of the details still under wraps make an intelligent decision on the plan.
Joravsky took many of the flip representations of the proponents as fact. For example the ten store room mall now slated for demolition did not have a vacancy in the last 20 years which lasted more than 30 days. Most of the business persons were in fact longtime occupants, most 20, 30, 40 years. Treasure Island was not vacant for more than 60 days before requests were made for $5,000,000.00 in taxpayers’ money on the theory of blight and distressed property. It resulted in 15 businesses being closed and put out in the street, and lost employment of over 100 local people on an annual basis. All the profits were kept in the community.
The proposed plan calls for taxpayers’ money being given to the developer for his personal gain. Upscale yuppie businesses that are not needed, by large national firms who will take the profits to New York and Los Angeles. The last thing we need on Broadway Avenue is another place to buy $60.00 jeans. The plan also calls for a “Berlin Wall” at Berwyn to keep out the much needed safety services of fire, ambulances, police, etc. The resulting three mile detour for the 146 bus and the elimination of service on Marine Drive were also not covered adequately in the article. We certainly need our potholes filled before giving away 5 million to private developers. If this was the best proposal I could propose for the taxpayers’ money I would consider a new career.