A community forum on April 17 encouraged residents of Rogers Park to take action against the proposed Concord at Sheridan development.
The Say No to Rogers Park Target Coalition, which consists of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC), Organizing Neighbors for Equality (ONE) Northside, the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce and the Caroline Hedger Tenant Association, hosted the forum. It was held at the Living Water Church at 6808 N. Ashland Blvd. in Rogers Park.
The Say No to Target Coalition also held smaller meetings in the past to strategize and create a plan that would benefit residents and businesses in Rogers Park, according to Community organizer for the JASC Kelly Viselman.
Residents voted on what they wanted to see in a development instead of a Target at the forum. They could choose between affordable housing, support for senior community space and green space for everyone. People could also write in their own ideas.
There were 126 votes and 10 write-in options. The most popular option was a development that supports senior community space with 45 votes. Write-in options people suggested included more parking space, a library and an exercise room.
Residents and local business owners spoke about their concerns with the proposed development.
The proposed development would include a small Target store, mixed housing units and a new community room for seniors living at the Caroline Hedger apartments. However, some residents of Caroline Hedger said they do not want their current community room replaced, The PHOENIX previously reported.
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) approved authorization to go into a Public Private Partnership — an agreement between a public agency and a private entity — in February and is working on the mixed-use transaction for the site, according to an email to The Phoenix from Senior Manager of Communications Matthew Aguilar.
Now, the proposed development must be approved by the City of Chicago Plan Commission, Zoning Committee and City Council, according to Elizabeth Ann Thompson, a member of ONE Northside, which focuses on fighting injustice.
Voting by the Plan Commission and the CHA Board is expected in May.
Caitlin Webster is an employee at Devon Market. She said she doesn’t think the development would help anyone.
“We’re really concerned about the effect this Target was going to have on neighboring communities as well as the businesses in the area,” said Webster. “We’re concerned that it’s not going to be beneficial to any parties. It’s really going to be an eyesore [and] it’s going to cause major problems.”
People participated in a visioning activity that let them draw their own ideas for the space.
Viselman said the coalition plans to share residents’ ideas with 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore.
Victoria Stoll, 70, said she would like to see the development used as a community green space.
“My vision is to have a huge garden space,” said Stoll. “I’d love to see some benches with umbrellas for shade. I’d love to see maybe even a little playground for little children in our area … it would be so lovely. It would cheer up everybody [and] it would keep our beautiful community room.”
Stephanie Hayes, 65, represented the Caroline Hedger residents at the forum and said she hopes residents will be able to create a dialogue with Moore.
“We were not notified until after [the development] was already planned … and we were not asked anything,” said Hayes. “We should be able to sit down — hopefully with the developers, with Moore and our community — and try to work something out that everyone will be happy [with].”
Stoll attended the community meeting hosted by Moore on Jan. 30 and said she felt this meeting was more productive.
“I think this was one of the best meetings we ever had … because you could actually hear what the people think, not what Moore and his cronies think,” said Stoll.
Moore said residents of Caroline Hedger would not lose community space with the development in an email to The PHOENIX. He said he’s still receiving feedback from the community and is expected to announce his decision in May.