Last week on Tuesday, June 26th the Grassroots Collaborative, an organization that consists of several non-profit organizations held a rally to voice their displeasure on how Mayor Rahm Emanuel hands out Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
One TIF has the Grassroots Collaborative worried. It is called the LaSalle Central TIF.
According to the Grassroots Collaborative, the LaSalle Central TIF has collected approximately $75 million over four years, from 2006-2010. They also believe that most of the TIF money benefits corporations that annually make hundreds of millions in profits and help wealthy developers to construct in already prosperous areas.
The reason that the Grassroots Collaborative had this rally was to ask Mayor Emanuel to put a moratorium on the construction of a corporate plaza is using taxpayers’ money to be built.
The Grassroots Collaborative disapprove of the Mayor’s decision to develop green space for an office building while many of Chicago’s neighborhoods suffer from a severe shortage of maintained public parks for children. At the price of $29.5 million, residents know several parks could be created or renovated in blighted communities.
Grassroots Collaborative consists of the following non-profit organizations: Action Now, American Friends Service Committee- Great Lakes Region, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Service Employees International Union Local 73,Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana,Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation.
The rally began with a press conference at the corner of Canal and Lake at the site of the proposed corporate plaza is to be built using $29 million of tax money. After the press conference, the protesters marched to City Hall where the press conference continued and the coalition successfully delivered a letter to a representative of Mayor Emanuel requesting a meeting.
Alheli Herrera, an organizer with Enlace Chicago thought that having a protest was the best way to get Mayor Emanuel’s attention.
“We wanted to put the mayor on notice on how he uses the taxpayers’ money,” Herrera said. “ We thought solidarity was the way to show the mayor that we don’t like how he gives out TIF funds.”
Roughly 100 people from the Grassroots Collaborative attended the rally and the press conference at City Hall.
22nd ward Alderman Ricardo Munoz has a plan to alleviate the lack of green space in the Little Village neighborhood.
Alderman Munoz is working on a development for the construction of a new hospital facility at 31st and Kedzie. The area where the Washburne Trade School once stood. This $250 million development will be collaboration between the Chicago Park District, the Board of Education, St. Anthony’s Hospital, and the City of Chicago. The will include a full-sized park with a field house, a pool, a track, a soccer field, a baseball field, a skate park and basketball courts. The St. Anthony’s portion of the project will offer health, education, day care and recreational programs for area residents.
“We have the least amount of space per capita.We’re landlocked,” Munoz said.
“There’s always been a fight between downtown and the neighborhoods. The previous mayor made it clear that he was for downtown. This mayor is doing a lot of stuff downtown too. We just want to make sure that as downtown flourishes so does the neighborhoods.”
Construction for the 31st and Kedzie site is scheduled to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2016.
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