One of the neighborhood plan goal sheets shows feedback from the October 16 meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council.

Council Releases Draft Goals for Neighborhood Plan, Solicits Final Feedback

Published October 29, 2019

The McKinley Park Development Council has publicly released the defined goals under final consideration for the McKinley Park neighborhood plan, a council project being created with the help of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). With this release, the council is encouraging neighborhood residents, business owners and stakeholders to review the draft goals and submit their final feedback for the plan.

A hands-on public session at the October 16 council meeting presented large-format printouts of plan goals and their key recommendations, with audience members encouraged to write down ideas and place red or green stickers on items they wanted to prioritize. With the online release of these documents, the council seeks feedback from anyone who couldn't attend the meeting or has more to add. 

The plan's goals, posted below, stem from the year-and-a-half of outreach, study, feedback and analysis conducted for the neighborhood plan by members of CMAP, the council and a steering committee comprised of community representatives. The process considered existing conditions, community feedback and best practices in urban planning toward creating a document the neighborhood can use as a guide for growth and improvement. The plan's scope spans many areas of local concern, including housing affordability, the neighborhood's business environment and building resilience in the face of climate change.

Suggestions and ideas can be sent via email to mckinleyparkdevelopmentcouncil@gmail.com through November 10, and these will then be included for consideration in authoring the final plan draft, which is slated for release later this fall or winter. In its announcement soliciting feedback, the council also asked for "how those ideas might be implemented and who might be  best equipped to implement them."

The McKinley Park News will also forward to the council any comments posted to this article posted as plan feedback.

 The next McKinely Park Development Council Meeting is slated for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20, at Aquinas Literacy Center.

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan — Draft Plan Goals

Goal: Preserve Neighborhood Diversity

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Preserve Neighborhood Diversity 201910

Recommendation 1: Maintain Housing Affordability, Choices and Quality

Strategies:

  • Increase the McKinley Park Development Council’s capacity to increase engagement with the community, help support and market small businesses and lead the community to better respond to development proposals

  • Identify owner-occupied repair programs to assist with deferred maintenance

  • Identify purchase assistance programs for owner-occupant homebuyers

  • Collaborate with the community to identify resources for long-term affordable rental units and facilitate coordination with the Community Land Trust

  • Work with key partners like the City and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to identify opportunities to implement inclusive and supportive housing initiatives

Recommendation 2: Celebrate McKinley Park’s Diversity

Strategies:

  • Celebrate the neighborhood’s diversity through cultural programming

  • Strengthen the neighborhood’s sense of heritage and identity by pursuing targeted arts and cultural endeavors

  • Develop an alliance for arts and culture stakeholders to leverage resources through coordination and collaboration

  • Engage McKinley Park residents in creating a comprehensive marketing and branding strategic plan

Recommendation 3: Engage the Diverse Population of McKinley Park

Strategies:

  • Continue to develop relationships with organizations serving local immigrants and refugees

  • Continue to build relationships with local schools to reach parents

  • Make public engagement accessible

  • Address communication barriers

  • Continue efforts to improve language access

Recommendation 4: Market the Neighborhood’s Diversity through Small Businesses

Strategies:

  • Continue efforts to attract, retain, and expand businesses through engagement and collaboration

  • Conduct cross-cultural outreach in collaboration with trusted partners

  • Identify an individual who's bilingual to coordinate local economic development partners

  • Partner with a marketing program at a local university to develop a marketing campaign 

Recommendation 5: Support and Grow Local Businesses

Strategies:

  • Create a neighborhood business support network to help streamline communication among business stakeholders

  • Continue to expand technical assistance for local business development, including incubator resources for startups and accelerators for growing businesses

  • Establish specialized efforts for growing small businesses

  • Attract and support businesses that appeal to dispersed immigrant populations

 

Goal: Promote Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Equitable Transit Oriented Development 201910

Recommendation 1: Engage Stakeholders to Define Community Priorities for Future Development within TOD Areas

Strategies:

  • Continue to build the McKinley Park Development Council's technical capacity and look to existing community development organizations for ideas, support, and resources

  • Utilize public engagement tools, such as visual preference surveys, to educate residents, and establish community goals for the form and design of new development projects

  • Build strong working relationships with local property owners through continued outreach

Recommendation 2: Implement Land Uses that Align with Community Vision and Priorities

Strategies:

  • Preserve affordable housing by limiting the conversion of 2-4 flats into single-family homes

  • Pursue strategic partnerships to require the construction of affordable units on site

  • Target active uses for ground-floor spaces that increase access to goods and services for current and future residents (potential sites include NE lot at Archer and Leavitt, SW lots of Archer and Leavitt, as well as the SW lot at 35th and Leavitt)

Recommendation 3: Improve the Commuter Experience

Strategies:

  • Implement bus priority treatments on streets that have CTA bus routes, including bus lanes, bus boarding bulbs or boarding islands, queue jumps, and transit signal priority

  • Create clear pedestrian connections between the neighborhood and transit areas

  • Facilitate safer, more comfortable transfers between bus routes and between buses and trains, including real-time transit information delivery

  • Consider ways to help soften the look around the 35th/Archer CTA roundabout with visual improvements (e.g. landscape buffers, public art, and placemaking)

  • Increase street safety and comfort for all users through policy changes, design upgrades, and technology investments

Recommendation 4: Proactively Address Parking Implications

Strategies:

  • Conduct outreach to identify resident and business concerns

  • Partner with new TOD property managers to mitigate new parking demands

  • Apply parking management best practices

Recommendation 5: Advocate to Include 35th/Archer Orange Line Station as a Future Elevated Chicago E-HUB 

 

Goal: Revitalize Commercial Corridors

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Revitalize Commercial Corridors 201910

Recommendation 1: Enhance the Built Environment

Strategies:

  • Identify and prioritize gateway entrances and signage along prominent corridors to draw visitors to McKinley Park

  • Prioritize infill development and redevelopment of vacant and underutilized properties

  • Encourage compact developments that promote convenient, safe, and efficient travel

  • Target mixed-use developments at key nodes and gateway entrances (rather than single-uses such as Motor-Related Commercial)

  • Request additional setbacks along Archer Avenue when properties are re-developed

  • Explore parcel reconfiguration along Ashland Avenue to allow for larger developments

  • Work with the 12th Ward Alderman and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to remediate the lot at the SW corner of 35th and Leavitt

Recommendation 2: Improve Safety and Comfort for Walking and Biking

Strategies:

  • Implement the City’s Complete Streets Policy to improve access, safety, and mobility

  • Evaluate and recommend streetscape improvements and costs at key intersections

  • Make public investments to improve the pedestrian environment at strategic locations

  • Improve the experience of taking transit to, from, and within McKinley Park

  • Coordinate informative, attractive wayfinding signage for all modes

  • Improve the safety of streets and public spaces through innovative placemaking efforts

Recommendation 3: Develop a “Main Street” Experience Along 35th Street

Strategies:

  • Pursue Pedestrian (P) Street Designation along 35th Street from Hoyne Avenue east to Ashland Avenue

  • Implement bus priority treatments, including bus lanes, bus boarding bulbs or boarding islands, queue jumps, and transit signal priority

  • Identify traffic-calming measures appropriate for 35th Street that could improve the pedestrian experience

  • Target mixed-use developments at key nodes along 35th Street to attract diverse retail and restaurant options

  • Work with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to activate gathering spaces and add sidewalk seating

  • Compile a list of vacant storefronts and encourage pop-up shops and art window programs

  • Work with local aldermen to utilize Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for improvements

Recommendation 4: Create a Beautification Committee to Identify and Coordinate Community-Driven Enhancements

Strategies:

  • Work with the community to define the image, identity, and character of the neighborhood

  • Create a guide on best practices for signage and window displays

  • Pursue grants, local fundraising, and partnership opportunities to implement streetscape and beautification efforts

  • Work with the 12th Ward Alderman, CDOT, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and the railroads to improve the appearance of viaduct underpasses and other roadways

 

Goal: Modernize the Central Manufacturing District

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Modernize Central Manufacturing District 201910

Recommendation 1: Prioritize the Health and Wellbeing of Residents

Strategies:

  • Continue to demonstrate leadership in improving environmental quality

  • Improve transparency in the development process

  • Target light industrial uses and modernized the CMD as a green manufacturing hub

  • Use zoning to inform future development decisions

  • Engage with ongoing efforts to complete the Southwest Chicago Truck Routing Study

  • Ensure new development or property improvements that are within 100’ of Chicago waterfront are consistent with the 2019 Chicago River Design Guidelines

  • Prioritize pedestrians and bicyclists in modernization efforts

  • Create ecologically functioning and aesthetically pleasing landscapes to buffer freight activity from nearby residential uses

Recommendation 2: Maintain a Supportive Business Environment

Strategies:

  • Work with the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council to advocate for the neighborhood’s industrial businesses

  • Create networking opportunities for resource sharing and business support

  • Develop a workforce training program with local operators

  • Identify opportunities to locate space for start-ups and other ventures

Recommendation 3: Encourage Preservation and Reuse of Historic Buildings

Strategies:

  • Consider applying for Chicago Landmark designation

  • Seek resources and financial incentives that preserve and restore historic buildings

  • Identify educational opportunities to promote the CMD

Recommendation 4: Encourage Environmentally Sustainable Practices

Strategies:

  • Consider design and policy guidelines for stormwater management treatments, for example, bio-swales, rain gardens, permeable pavers, etc.

  • Incorporate sustainable design features in the restoration and construction of buildings

  • Consider recommendations from previous city industrial planning efforts

  • Prioritize rehabilitating and improving structures over tear-downs

 

Goal: Enhance and Expand Parks and Recreational Opportunities

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Parks Recreation 201910

Recommendation 1: Encourage the Use of Active Transportation and Healthy Living Through Programs and Activities

Strategies:

  • Identify opportunities for new neighborhood bikeways

  • Advocate for the implementation of the Archer spoke route as a direct route in and out of the Loop

  • Continue to enhance overall bicycle safety and experience with infrastructure

  • Work to build community through bicycling activities such as neighborhood rides and bicycle-themed events

Recommendation 2: Enhance Parks and Recreational Opportunities

Strategies:

  • Preserve and enhance McKinley Park’s natural resources

  • Activate the Western Boulevard and celebrate its historical significance as an extension of the Chicago Boulevard system

  • Maintain and improve the facilities at Hoyne Park and other public park spaces in the neighborhood

  • Engage the stakeholders of McKinley Park in the maintenance of their community parks

Recommendation 3: Support Community Programming Activities

Strategies:

  • Encourage active transportation and healthy living through programs and activities

  • Support community programming volunteers

  • Continue to develop community programming for all ages

  • Strengthen year-round activities for youth

  • Utilize public spaces for community building activities

Recommendation 4: Activate the South Branch of the Chicago River

Strategies:

  • Support Bubbly Creek restoration efforts

  • Implement recommendations from the Our Great Rivers vision

  • Prioritize opportunities for open space amenities along the river

  • Enhance connections between the river and the neighborhood

  • Encourage pride and stewardship of the river through education

Recommendation 5: Evaluate Potential Areas to Expand Community Green Spaces

Strategies:

  • Continue to activate vacant lots and open spaces throughout the community by transforming them into community gardens and parks to benefit underserved areas of the community

  • Identify priorities for increased community green space as part of future redevelopment projects.

  • Prioritize the conservation of open space along the river

  • Capitalize on the Western Boulevard to increase connections between neighborhoods and other key destinations

  • Study off-street connections between educational and recreational facilities along Western Avenue

 

Goal: Create a Resilient Community

McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Draft Goal Create Resilient Community 201910

 Recommendation 1: Pursue Existing City-Wide Green Infrastructure Programs

Strategies:

  • Work with City and local organizations to identify vacant land that is appropriate for green infrastructure projects in public or community managed open spaces

  • Identify strategic locations along designated bike routes and on City-owned land to develop storm water landscapes as part of the Department of Water Management’s Green Infrastructure Plan

  • Apply for CDOT’s Green Alleys Program

  • Partner with the Illinois Green Alliance’s Youth and Green Schools program to implement carbon drawdown strategies

 Recommendation 2: Encourage Green Infrastructure Practices

Strategies:

  • Engage the community in flood mitigation solutions

  • Advocate for the targeted expansion of green stormwater infrastructure to reduce urban flooding

  • Empower residents and organizations to create artistic, beautiful landscapes, and clean environmentally diverse streetscapes

  • Create a youth-led neighborhood litter and recycling campaign

  • Ensure clean energy and water efficiencies by connecting landlords to incentives and resources

  • Implement sustainable practices in industrial areas

  • Identify opportunities for urban agriculture

 Recommendation 3: Market and Strengthen McKinley Park as a Business Hub

Strategies:

  • Increase the capacity of MPDC to support local economic development initiatives

  • Get expert advice on economic development

  • Promote McKinley Park assets to the business community through promotional videos and an online and social media presence

  • Set-up neighborhood tours to promote assets to prospective developers and businesses

  • Preserve and grow local employment opportunities in the industrial and advanced manufacturing sector

  • Improve technology infrastructure, from basic computer proficiency to broadband Wi-Fi and fiber optic capacity, to support residents and new businesses

 Recommendation 4: Increase the Wealth and Buying Power of Residents

Strategies:

  • Expand access to City of Chicago services for McKinley Park’s residents with limited English proficiency

  • Expand resources to help parents and students navigate the education system

  • Continue to support and coordinate English as a Second Language (ESL) training and new occupational programs

  • Establish the role of a workforce development coordinator to identify resources and connect workforce training providers and educational institutions with employers

  • Encourage businesses to hire local residents and identify and address the barriers to doing so

  • Prepare residents for employment in growing sectors that offer middle-skill, middle-wage job opportunities

  • Increase the impact of existing local wealth building programs to help residents

 Recommendation 5: Explore Innovative Public Engagement Methods to Implement the Neighborhood Plan

Strategies:

  • Create a framework for sustained, inclusive community involvement in planning decisions

  • Re-engage existing resident groups and facilitate the creation of new community groups

  • Hold educational forums

  • Dedicate website pages to the neighborhood plan and use social media outreach

 Recommendation 6: Strengthen Community Capacity

Strategies:

  • Build trust and collaboration with residents

  • Foster leadership among the various constituents

  • Promote civic engagement

  • Organize community building activities

 

I would like to opine on the six goals of the plan:
Preserving Neighborhood Diversity is great. I would like to keep the current diversity intact, as there is harmony amongst the groups. 2)TOD: I disagree with this goal. This plan will over populate the neighborhood and create infrastructure problems, parking issues, etc. TODs are supposed to bring in residents without cars. That is a far-fetched hope that will not be realized. The residents that occupy these TOD buildings will eventually filter into the local blocks to park their cars, and/or their visitors will look for parking spots that will take up any spots that are currently open. We have parking issues now without TODs. 3) I love the revitalization of commercial corridors. 35th street between Ashland and Archer was bustling when I first moved here in 1979. If we could attract commercial business that would keep our community thriving. However, i don't want parking meters installed. Alderman Cardenas will immediately look for revenue opportunities for Chicago and identify this as a source. 4) Modernize the CMD is not a good idea. Another revenue producing source for the city that Alderman Cardenas has identified, with no benefit to the current residents of the McKinley Park community. What do residents get from this? They will be putting a strain on the traffic with all the extra residents. They have reduced car traffic lanes along 39th street, which will cause further delays and backups. Over populating the area again for the benefit of the City, not the McKinley Park residents. 5) I love the enhance/expand parks and recreational opportunities. We need more green, not more brick and mortar (i.e. Modernizing CMD). and 6) Create a resilient community is a great idea. If you want to build trust with the residents of McKinley Park, don't do things that benefit the City. Advocate for the residents of McKinley Park by making decisions that are good for the health and welfare of the residents. MAT asphalt was allowed to open up without any input from the community. This does not promote trust, as Alderman Cardenas' office stated, "we don't have to get the residents approval to allow MAT asphalt to conduct business in McKinley Park". This wouldn't happen in Bridgeport, Ravenswood or any other rich neighborhood. Why force it upon the residents of McKinley Park. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion. I appreciate the time and work that the MPNC puts in for the benefit of the residents.

Justin Kerr
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback on the neighborhood plan. I am forwarding this to the McKinley Park Development Council for their consideration.

I personally have a couple thoughts related to your feedback. One element to consider, I think, are the market forces pushing development in the direction of the McKinley Park neighborhood. This is both for residential, as McKinley Park is one of the last "affordable" places so near to downtown Chicago, and industrial/commercial, as so many Chicago firms no longer have places to do business on the North and West sides. At a seminar I attended that included some city officials, the attitude seemed to be that development is stampeding this way no matter what.

The industrial development, including the asphalt plant, are tied entirely to the zoning and designated uses the City of Chicago has set out for these areas. Right now, as far as the city is concerned, heavy industry can come on down to the Planned Manufacturing Districts inside and surrounding McKinley Park. My take is that the most effective way to manage the balance between residents and industry is to examine (and adjust) the permitted uses for these areas; advocate for better and more specific regulation on the city, state and federal levels; and work with existing and prospective local enterprises, which have every interest in operating cleanly and being good neighbors.

There's a number of things afoot to try to get ahead of pending developments: State Sen. Tony Munoz is supporting required notice from the IEPA, for example, State Rep. Theresa Mah publishes and disseminates the environmental justice notices her office receives, etc. Also, I believe that Alderman Cardenas has committed to holding a community meeting for any new project that requires a zoning change. (There was one last summer.)

Jim Reho
This is extremely impressive and well thought-out. Really a great vision for the area.

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