By William S. Bike
There always is plenty of news in the ten communities comprising this area, and Gazette Chicago was honored to cover it for our readers. News coverage roundups below are listed in the months during which articles appeared in Gazette Chicago.
Various levels of government worked to distribute coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in this area. Traffic challenges remained during the Byrne Interchange construction. The community organized to save Mercy Hospital. Gazette Chicago published statistics on local population, wages, and unemployment. The State approved a Chicago casino. The Federal government restored its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
Kenyan College named its athletic center for Near West Sider William E. Lowry Jr. The Chicago Park District renamed Park 543 Printers Row Park.
Neighbors shared concerns about new One Central megadevelopment plans. The Chicago City Council passed an anti-deconversion, anti-displacement ordinance for Pilsen. Amazon decided to build a distribution center in Pilsen. The University of Illinois Chicago became a vaccination leader in the Chicago area. WNDR museum sought to expand in the West Loop.
The City passed an ordinance to allow homeowners to add Additional Dwelling Units to property. Bridgeport church and community activist Al Besst was killed in a road rage shooting on west 31st Street. Preservationists lamented demolition of St. Stephenson Church. Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) proposed a new law increasing penalties for leaving animals outside.
Related Midwest announced construction of market-rate, affordable, and Chicago Housing Authority dwellings in Roosevelt Square on the Near West Side. The City improved Bridgeport and Canaryville parks. Progressive aldermen proposed a water-for-all affordable water program. Metra came out in favor of the One Central project. The West Loop community mourned the passing of Freckles, the firehouse dog at Engine 103.
Locals and officials held a service at Victor Arrigo Park to remember Italian-American victims of New Orleans lynchings in 1891. The University of Illinois Chicago Police worked to make local communities safer. Police arrested a suspect in the Al Besst shooting. A Michigan company, Insight, offered to buy Mercy Hospital. Our Lady of the Holy Family Parish offered an innovative religious education program.
Expressway shootings increased, with the Illinois State Police seeking to add cameras along local expressways. The community fought against rising anti-Asian hate. Bridgeport neighbors criticized traffic problems caused by a Starbucks at 31st and Halsted Streets and by drag racing. The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans produced a 1973 document that it said proved the City could not move the Columbus statue from Arrigo Park. A Back of the Yards development received a huge $9.8 million tax incentive.
Bernarda “Bernie” Wong, founder of the Chinese American Service League, passed away. Neighbors expressed opposition to a cul-de-sac at 14th Street and Union Avenue. Chicago United honored attorney Michael Hernandez. Chicago Independent Media Alliance held a fundraiser to benefit Gazette Chicago and other local media. West Loop residents asked the Chicago Police to restore foot patrols.
The State designated $15 million for a new Back of the Yards public library.
Bubbly Dynamics sought to expand business incubator activities. The City Council approved an anti-gentrification ordinance. The Illinois Commission to End Hunger worked to address the root causes of food insecurity. The Encompassing Center expanded mental health services. Forte Foundation and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives pledged $3 million to South Side and West Side entrepreneurs.
Bridgeport Alliance met to discuss Additional Dwelling Unit construction and traffic.
The City Council approved residential development in the Fulton Market area. Insight took over Mercy Hospital. Landlords struggled to pay their bills under the COVID-related eviction moratorium. Developers planned to construct the Bronzeville Lakefront project. The City okayed new developments for the McKinley Park and Back of the Yards areas. South Loop Concerned Citizens hosted a panel to assess the One Central project.
Mile Square Health Centers expanded comprehensive care for underserved communities.
The City worked to improve bicycle transportation in the area and approved the Surge Esports Arena for the Near South area. People rallied in Arrigo Park to demand return of the Columbus statue. The City encouraged bicycle messenger employment and safety. South Loop Chamber of Commerce moved to 1029 W. 35th St. Artists added street art to Greektown. Our Lady of the Holy Family began holding outdoor Masses.
Locals volunteered to clean up local parks. Fulton Labs and Calamos Investments came to the West Loop. Artists painted murals on walls in the 11th Ward. State Senator Mattie Hunter saw her law passed, assuring equal pay for women and men. The Chicago Transit Authority began work on a new Green Line station at Damen Avenue.
The City landmarked the La Luce building in the West Loop, while locals sought transportation improvements for the area. South Loop groups created a neighborhood watch program. Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) proposed a rideshare safety and fare regulation ordinance. Bridgeport Alliance collaborated with Southwest Collective on neighborhood improvements. The City designated October as Italian Heritage and Culture Month.
Gazette Chicago won an Apex Award from Communications Concepts for its COVID-19 coverage. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese put the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii convent up for sale. Renovations progressed on the Daley Library in Bridgeport. Promoter Ron Onesti canceled the Little Italy Festa because restaurants lacked enough employees. Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave the National Museum of Mexican Art an $8 million gift.
The Chicago Plan Commission approved the next phase of the Roosevelt Square development. South Loop residents continued questioning One Central plans. CivicLab and its TIF Illumination Project promoted Chicago’s solvency through its book, Chicago Is Not Broke. St. Peter’s Church celebrated its 175th anniversary. Illinois Institute of Technology partnered with Smash to create a new esports league.
Bicycle messengers shared stories with Gazette Chicago readers in honor of Bicycle Messenger Day. Our Lady of the Holy Family Parish began hosting a food pantry. Gazette Chicago and DePaul University launched the Chicago Health Text survey. Cook County held a sale of delinquent property taxes.
CivicLab charged the City has $2 billion in TIF money it is not spending. Landmarks Illinois gave the Epiphany Center an award for adaptive reuse of its building. The Better Government Association investigated the lack of programs to steer child carjackers away from trouble. The City Council considered an ordinance that would expand sports betting to stadia within the city.
The City Council began working on ward remapping. Local Deacon Dismas G. Fernandez, a founding member of Gazette Chicago, passed away. The Chicago Park District worked with Stonyfield Organic to make Grant Park organic. The City designated part of Taylor Street as a pedestrian street.