After reading the [January 24] Reader cover story with a headline, “Heartbreak Hotel,” designed to fuel flames of controversy in our community, please consider another viewpoint on this particular development.
Uptown is a struggling, blighted community. It is home to litter-filled streets, high crime rates, and the largest number of social service agencies (80-plus) in one Chicago district. It is struggling to find a new beginning and create a vibrant and diverse community. Every step to renew our community is a huge effort because of the biased, jaded, let’s-fight approach that permeates throughout its political and social organizations.
The Broadway Terrace group isn’t about preserving a historically important building. If that were the case, why aren’t they putting their efforts into saving the decaying Uptown Theater? Why has the Plymouth Hotel remained empty since the late 1930s and now it’s important? No, it’s about once again stopping any development that might bring more middle-class working people into Uptown. This is about maintaining a cycle of concentrated poverty and housing without considering how you help people move beyond poverty into self-sufficient lives.
Ms. Phillips and Mr. Schneider do present some worthwhile ideas, like a year-round farmer’s market, a mix of smaller food purveyors, green building concept, and cohousing. Visit www.swansmarket.com, which they mention, to see a similar development in Oakland, California. On another, more appropriate Uptown site this type of development would be a welcome community addition.