The Future of Edgewater

29 Jul

As the Great Recession begins to wane and the economy slowly stabilizes we can already see the housing and development markets begin to perk their collective ears. If the late 90’s and the early 00’s taught us anything it is that we must remain aware of all possible developments so that we may intelligently participate in the growth and formation of our neighborhoods.

As one looks down Lake Shore Drive, one can see a physical wall of high-rise buildings that at times act as a barrier between the beautiful Lake Michigan and our manageable neighborhoods several blocks inland. Although these buildings are part of city living they are by no means a necessity. We must begin to ask ourselves when ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

We only have to look down the street at the proposed Maryville development (on Clarendon and Montrose) that could bring a building as tall as 500 feet to see what the future holds. Developers are not looking to simply match the heights of surrounding buildings but actually far exceed them!

In contrast we can look to the Ravenswood neighborhood where residents banded together to bring an 11-story residential proposal down to what it is now, a four story garage and retail center that is much more in keeping with the surrounding building heights and sizes (See: Ravenswood Station Development).

Why should we take note of these projects? The answer is that we may soon be facing a similar proposal. Currently, there are rumors swirling about the vacant property near the corner of Foster and Sheridan.

In the past, rumors indicated that a developer would likely try and shoehorn a 300 unit RENTAL high-rise on the 2.3 acre parcel. Such a massive development could rise more than 100 feet over the surrounding buildings and would have a dramatic effect on residents living on Sheridan and Foster roads.

In most development cases residents wait to see plans before expressing their concerns. These days, however, backroom deals and agreements between developers and city planners have already been made and resident participation can often seem like a mere speed bump in an already finalized plan.

It should be up to us to take back the neighborhoods we live in and be PROACTIVE in deciding the fate of density, traffic congestion and neighborhood character!

If you’re concerned at all about the future of our neighborhood and regardless of whether or not you rent or own, please sign the petition on the right, call or email Alderman Mary Ann Smith and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same!

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