Marz tap room manager Jennifer Wandro explains Marz and the brewing business at the June 20, 2018, meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council.

Neighborhood Development Plan Project Set to Launch for McKinley Park

Published July 12, 2018

The McKinley Park Development Council continues to push forward neighborhood development with regular meetings and this month's launch of the neighborhood development plan, a project the council won in 2017 from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The public outreach phase of the neighborhood development plan kicks off the evening of Wednesday, July 18, at the monthly council meeting, when local residents, business owners and community stakeholders can begin providing their feedback about how the neighborhood should best develop.

The July council meeting both culminates the first phase of work and organizing for the development plan, and pushes forward council development with the voting in of the council's full board of directors. The council's June 20 meeting at Marz Community Brewing Co. included introductions of existing and prospective board members, updates on neighborhood development proposals and the lowdown on the Marz brewing business, accompanied by free samples of Marz beer.

The CMAP neighborhood plan project originates from a Local Technical Assistance (LTA) award comprising over $100,000 in professional and support services to create a neighborhood-spanning plan based on community feedback and best practices. CMAP's web page about the project details the road map for the 18-month plan, which includes multiple phases of community outreach and a completion date in early 2020.

McKinley Park CMAP neighborhood plan timeline forweb
CMAP's neighborhood development plan timeline sets out key dates and milestones.

According to the council's application for the project, the neighborhood plan would include attention to the Central Manufacturing District along Pershing Road, the 35th Street corridor and the Archer Avenue corridor, including transit-oriented development close to the neighborhood's two Orange Line El stops. The project has organized a volunteer committee of community stakeholders to oversee project process and provide evaluation and review at key milestones.

Pershing Road Ashland Avenue proposed property vacation location 201806The developer-provided photo shows the location of the proposed property vacation, looking north at Ashland Avenue and Pershing Road at the northwest corner of the intersection.At the June council meeting, a presentation included the announcement of a proposed property "vacation" — or vacating a property and transferring its ownership so it can have another use — on the northwest corner of Pershing Road and Ashland Avenue, with likely build-out for a drive-through restaurant.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the City of Chicago's property vacation program, developers would also need to win approval for a zoning change for the adjacent property and vacated land: from its current M1-2 (manufacturing and commercial) zoning to B1-1 zoning (akin to a neighborhood shopping district). A May 29 letter to 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas from Rolando Acosta spelled out the proposal and requested the alderman's support for both the rezoning and the property vacation. 

Both representatives for the developer and the 12th Ward office were on-hand at the meeting to answer questions about the proposal. Neither Cardenas nor the 12th Ward office announced a stance on the proposal at the meeting or afterward. A sizable crew of neighbors and friends continued to enjoy the tap room, discussion and camaraderie, eventually dwindling to a group of stalwarts who enjoyed Marz beer until the tap room's 11 p.m. closing time.

The upcoming July 18 meeting, including the launch of the neighborhood plan project, will take place at the National Latino Education Institute, 2011 W. Pershing Road, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All community residents, business owners and stakeholders are encouraged to attend this important meeting which looks to provide the premier guidance for how the McKinley Park neighborhood should develop.

McKinley Park Development Council Meeting Bar Group 20180620 forweb
Last call at the Marz Community Brewing tap room brings several council members to the bar at the June 2018 meeting.  


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