Development workshop participants discuss neighborhood assets and concerns during the July 18  launch of the McKinley Park neighborhood plan project.

Neighborhood Throngs to Development Plan Launch; Council Members Elect Expanded Board

Published July 19, 2018

The neighborhood development plan for McKinley Park officially launched to the public at the Wednesday, July 18, meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council, attracting nearly 100 local residents, business owners, stakeholders and representatives from elected office and community groups. This cadre of neighbors worked together through the first neighborhood development plan workshop from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which in 2017 awarded the council a Local Technical Assistance project to develop the neighborhood plan.

At the top of the meeting, the council moved forward with its organizational development, holding member elections for five new board member candidates, all of whom were elected to the board. Anabel Abarca, Dan Covarrubias, Mario Diaz, Liz Grez and Jonathan Lazatin join founding board members Tony Adams, John Belcik, Samantha Belcik, Kara Breems, Dayna Calderón and Justin Kerr as the first full board of directors for the council.

CMAP meeting facilitator Ricardo Lopez led the workshop, beginning with an outline of the development plan process, the background of CMAP and how these efforts tie into their GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan. The meeting then broke into small-group discussions, aided by CMAP facilitators, structured questions to kick off discussion and big maps of the neighborhood that participants dotted with green for community assets, and red for areas of concern.

The Wednesday launch and workshop follows extensive setup and research that CMAP has already conducted as part of the project's road map, which is detailed on its project page on the CMAP website. "We've visited every street in McKinley Park," Lopez said, in order to conduct a detailed examination of the neighborhood's current conditions.

Many additional opportunities exist and are coming for the community to continue to contribute to the project, Lopez said, with forthcoming announcements about new outreach and upcoming meetings.

Notably, the project has published an interactive questionnaire at the mckinleypark.metroquest.com website that parallels many of the directions and methods of inquiry used at the workshop. Residents and neighborhood stakeholders who wish to share their feedback, but were unable to attend the meeting, are strongly encouraged to use the website to participate in this process, Lopez said.

The National Latino Education Institute hosted the meeting in its main conference room, marking a return for the development council, which held its first public meeting there in January 2018.

Council President John Belcik announced an August 15 date for the council's meeting next month, with a location and more details to be announced. He thanked the community and sponsors for their support for both the council and helping to create the neighborhood plan.

 


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