53rd Street TIF Advisory Council meeting of July 10, 2006

A service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Development, Preservation and Zoning Committee, and its website hydepark.org. Join the Conference, the neighborhood's lead neighborhood association, tending to the civic needs and concerns of the community since 1949. Help support and work with our many committees, and weigh in on key issues and concerns.

53rd St. TIF Advisory Council News (home). TIF Advisory Council Meeting Reports and Minutes since November 2003. Cached TIF Advisory Council Meetings from inception to mid-2003. Full run of official Council minutes since 2004 is in the South East Chicago Commission website. Development. Business Climate. Neighborhood Goals. Parking Recommendations July 10 and Parking Improvement Districts.


Howard Males opened the meeting.

First order of business was organization for 2006-2007.

Three members of this 2-year class agreed to serve again: Andre Brumfield, Roderick Sawyer, Ted Sobel. Declining and thanked: Alex duBuclet, Louis Conforti. Two new members were chosen:
Laurel Stradford, Tony Wilkins.
Rest of the council (term expiring in 2007): Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

Officers remained the same.

Committees (contact the Alderman's office if you wish to volunteer. The committees are the working sessions of the council and their meetings are also public and open): Planning and Development- Chair Chuck Thurow
Parking- Chair Jo Reizner
Business and Environment (was Streetscape)- Co-chairs Andre Brumfield and Jane Comiskey

Males announced expansion of the role of the Business and Environment (former Streetscape) committee, and compared its mandate to move its charge forward to the mandate to the Parking Committee last year. Specific tasks are: Business recruitment and retention, Storefront improvement, and beautification and streetscape.

Harper Court update

Ken Grant of Harper Court Arts Council spoke and distributed a draft paper, Guiding Principles to be incorporated into RFP, that will be presented to the Chicago Department of Planning, setting forth the kind of development the community wants and what needs to be in the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Harper Court and the City Lot. (This statement of Guiding Principles is reproduced at the close of this report.)

Grant said that the Arts Council will meet "very soon" with the Department of Planning to discuss structural issues about the RFP and its requirements and establish the exact relationship between the arts council and the department. Grant said the department will take the lead in the RFP process. Once the council and department are clear on the principles and draft is prepared, they will interact through the TIF meetings.

Grant said that much of the principles came from papers submitted by Gary Ossewaarde, whom Grant thanked and who, Males pointed out, is with Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and incorporated the work of HPKCC in his documents. Ossewaarde expressed appreciation that community- generated guidelines predominate in the document and that community input was honored. (See Ossewaarde's draft guidelines for an RFP for Harper Court and the city lot in hydepark.org, linked from the Harper Court Ideas and Principles page, linked in the homepage.)

Asked whether the Arts Council had yet met with Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Grant said they wished to meet first with the Planning Department and would set up a meeting with HPKCC shortly after meeting with the department. Males said he wished the meeting with HPKCC to precede that with Planning.

Rod Sawyer asked if the process was now back at "ground zero" and could drag on, made more complicated by involving the city land and department. Grant said yes, they had to pull back because of the RFP process and because they are a 501 nonprofit. While he is not disappointed they slowed down, they were never obligated to go this route or to inform the public what it was doing with Harper Court. "We backed up and changed our whole strategy. We were trying to incorporate a lot of input we didn't need," Grant said.

Jane Comiskey asked if the new statement of principles meant that the arts council was now including some of the original mission of Harper Court in what it wants to do, as still useful although a lot has changed. She added that she would like that to happen.

Charlotte Des Jardins asked, will the Harper Court structures stay? And why the council had not informed the public of what it wanted to do and that it was trying to sell the center for years. She said she had obtained by Freedom of Information minutes of the Harper Court Foundation for the preceding three years--they showed ongoing negotiations, particularly with the University, which she said offered $4.5 million, rejected.

More than one member of the audience said to Grant that they do not trust the arts council, even though (Jay Mulberry), the statement is certainly better than your previous statement. Asserted were lack of openness and lies. Some said they were against putting the center out for RFP and wanted a way to keep Harper Court and a home for its tenants.

A journalist said the new guidelines in effect say Harper Court should be used as an incubator, which is an approach used in many places with good success. Also, use it to bring younger people into business and the community and get them involved in the TIF. Developers should be told what is feasible. Grant said they have included this idea, and that a market survey was done.

Robin Kaufman said that we cannot have a decision by a handful of people. We need a new board committed to keeping Harper Court in community hands. She asked if Grant would respond to Hans Morsbach's request to expand the board. Grant said he was willing to receive and consider applicants for the council, but that "Harper Court was never in the hands of the community. It became that way after it became a 501(c)3."

Another said it is important to open the court to through traffic.

Grant was asked to name the present members of the arts council; Grant said he could not. Jay Ammerman called what is happening a falsity--the statement is positive, but the council is so secretive. Their own minutes are at variance with what they have said. It is a matter of trust. And the council is "making the TIF run interference for you." (Vigorous denial by Males.)

Alderman Preckwinkle closed this segment, saying the an RFP will be ready by the September meeting.

Parking Committee Recommendations

Ilene Jo Reizner, Parking Committee Chair, and Irene Sherr, consultant to the committee, presented Parking Committee recommendations for consideration by the Advisory Council and public. Nothing was being submitted for a vote at this time, Males noted. The recommendations, presentation (made verbally in paraphrase because of malfunction, here text only) are in the Parking Recommendations-July 2006 page of hydepark.org- link from the home page or type www.hydepark.org/transit/PkgDistrrec.htm. The Powerpoint in pdf is in the SECC website, www.hydeparksecc.com. Reizner encouraged comments and queries at ireizner@uchicago.edu.

The recommendations as summarized by Jo Reizner:

The committee is recommending a strategy to manage existing parking better, and better educate the public as to best use of that parking. This is an interim plan until additional real parking such as a garage is needed and comes into being.

Additional spaces, at least 30 are needed to replace monthly parking in the City Lot (so the latter spaces can turn over several times a day as customer parking) and supplement existing spaces at peak demand [certain evenings and weekend times]. The committee has entered productive conversations with Kenwood Academy for the spaces. Additional off street options will be explored.

The Committee undertook an informal survey of use of lots and street spaces various times of day and days of the week. While it found occasional over-demand, the usual reality is that both lots and 53rd Street have spaces available. The city lot is rarely full.

The Committee found a discrepancy between uses and pricing of the most desirable spots (53rd curbside at $0.25 and the city lot at $1.00). This can be addressed by re-pricing and by encouragement of turnover, partly through discouraging owners and employees to park by their stores and substitution of pay and display machines for meters. However, most of this will not happen without a mechanism whereby the city and neighborhood share an increased pot, with a supervising and planning board. The sweetener for the city would be share in a largely increased increment, and the sweetener for the community would be use of its share for planned improvements it wants.

Pay and Display machines should be extended to all 250 curbside spaces mostly on 53rd Street. The city has already put out for bid and hopes to reduce the $11,000 per initial cost plus service contract substantially. Pay and Display has been show to increase spaces by 10 to 20 percent and, with changed pricing, increase turnover.

A parking improvement district should be established. (Recommendation is that the district itself be conterminous with the TIF. A board, appointed by the city/mayor, would administer and plan, contracting with a neighborhood organization for administration. The increment from raising the price of street parking to that of the city lot would be split between the city and PID board. This could be very substantial under different scenarios. Committee reps have met with various city departments and received a very interested, encouraging response. They have urged the committee to come with a menu and budget of what it wants to do with the money--the committee will be seeking community input.

Audience comments and questions:

Where will employees park--will more spill over into the residential streets if the price goes up or they have to pay x a month to go all the way to Kenwood? Ditto for shoppers who will look for free spaces in front of our houses. We already can't find parking in the evening before about 9 pm. People on residential streets will insist on permit parking, which only messes things up more. You can't treat the business and residential parking problems separately.

Alderman Preckwinkle said that the neighborhood was built before cars, and especially before people had so many of them. She opposes permit parking and insisted there is "no entitlement to a parking space in front of one's house."

Several asked for ingenious uses of PID share so residents will have a reason to buy into a PID and higher street parking price--especially singled out were various paratransit and disabled (including developmentally disabled and shopping for shut-ins) needs including some kind of van or trolley for the district and neighborhood, and serious beautification. And use the money to build up business, not just mobility and parking needs.

The committee was encouraged to think more globally, in terms of radii that include business streets and the adjacent residential and free parking streets.

A general comment that resonated was call for more pay and display machines in the city lot, ones that take bills.

Harper Court Arts Council Guiding Principles to be incorporated into RFP-draft July 10, 2006

Harper Court Arts Council
Guiding Principles to be incorporated into RFP
DRAFT July 10, 2006

  1. Recognition that 53rd Street and Harper Avenue is the center of the Hyde Park Business District, and 53rd & Lake Park Boulevard an important gateway to this area. Use the opportunity of the combination of the Harper Court and Parking Lot sites to rework the orientation of parking, shopping, street access, and public space to provide an attractive pedestrian-friendly urban "downtown" for the Hyde Park community, and a retail destination for the south side of Chicago.
  2. Create a mixed use development that is primarily commercial. Residential development may be included. The development should provide variety in the size and types of offerings so as to serve residents and attract customers from inside and beyond the neighborhood. A component of recreational, cultural, dining/nightlife venues is also highly desirable. Any residential component must not be of a kind, size, configuration or location as to diminish or limit types of commercial or all-hours venues.
  3. Development should be of a size and configuration that complements the Hyde Park business streetscape, and is pedestrian friendly, offers welcoming vistas, and offers space suitable to public street level activity including events, farmers' markets, and public gathering point.
  4. Development provides adequate parking consistent with both the development and the Hyde Park Business District.
  5. The development should carry forward in some degree the original purpose of Harper Court to encourage local artisans and small businesses including through the possibility of temporary relocation or phasing of building to allow tenants to continue to be part of the 53rd Street business district. Considerations might also be given to setting aside space for small businesses that might need start-up or ongoing subsidies to exist.
  6. The successful Developer will present their plans for the development for public comment and community review through the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Committee.

If you have comments or suggestions concerning these Guiding Principles, please send your comments to Artscouncilinfo@harpercourt.com.