Gazette Chicago 04 01 2016 E Edition Page 1

By Eva Hofmann Project Onward, 1200 W. 35th Street, is a nonprofit Bridgeport art studio and gallery that sup- ports the professional develop- ment of artists with exceptional talents and challenges, ranging from autism to mental illness. Now in its 12th year, the pro- gram started as a pilot initiative by Chicago's Gallery 37 for six artists who had aged out of its youth job training program. Because of their disabilities, they had no opportu- nities elsewhere to advance their artistic careers. Blake Lenoir is one of those An independent community newspaper since 1983. Near West/Tri-Taylor University Village West Loop South Loop West Haven Bridgeport/Armour Square Chinatown Bronzeville East Pilsen Heart of Chicago April 1, 2016 FREE Vol. 33, No. 12 Other highlights: Archdiocese to close several Pilsen churches. See page 12. Local voters reject Dunkin, retain several incumbents. See page 14. Upcoming events listed in Around the Neighborhood. See page 16. INSIDE Developers scale back south Michigan Avenue building height . See page 35. By Patrick Butler More than two months after the City approved plans for a contro- versial 99-unit upscale apartment development on the 2100 block of South Laflin Street, commu- nity activist Byron Sigcho of Pilsen Alliance still would like a meeting with 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis. Sigcho accuses Solis of "rush- ing through" City approval on the project, which Sigcho claims was "kept secret" from most ward res- idents until it had already been approved by the City Council Zon- ing Committee, which Solis heads. The full City Council ratified the plan the following day. Hoping to meet with Solis at the alderman's Feb. 16 ward night, Sigcho led several dozen irate resi- dents chanting "Pilsen is not for sale" and "Solis must go" in Span- ish to the ward service office. They found the lights on and activity in- side - and the door locked. At about 5:30 p.m., the office went dark and the alderman's staff slipped out by the back door with- out meeting with the protesters or taking the petitions oppos- ing the project Sigcho said had been signed by more than 160 local residents, irate at what they described as another step toward gentrification. Activists protest controversial proposed upscale Pilsen apartment development Continued on page 10 Gazette offers its annual guide to summer camps and summer fun. See page 24. Outdoor gym proposed for Grant Park near Balbo and Columbus. See page 3. By Dan Kolen Rising housing prices and stagnat- ing wages have hurt many Chicago families in the search for a place to call home. In October, a change in the City's Affordable Housing Ordinance (ARO) attempted to stem a tide of older affordable housing being demolished faster than new affordable housing is being built, while developers have been skirting obligations to build lower cost units. When developers build resi- dences with City help, either on land conveyed by the City or with City finances such as Tax-Incre- ment Financing (TIF) money, the City requires them to provide ten percent of units as affordable housing or, as an alternative, pay into a fund. Between 2005 and 2015, deve- lopers paid $77 million to the City instead of building afford- able housing, according to fig- ures from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. The City is not required to use the funds in the neighborhoods where the devel- opments are built. The money is instead often is used on afford- able housing projects throughout the city. Opinions mixed on ordinance encouraging developers to build affordable housing Project Onward supports gifted with disabilities "Project Onward helped me develop into the artist I want to be professionally and personally," said Bill Douglas. Continued on page 6 Continued on page 8

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