Letters to the Editor 6/1/17
Y BLOCK IMPROVEMENTS
The first thing that caught my eye when I opened up Illinois Times last week (“Park-ing problems,” James Krohe Jr., May 25) was the architectural rendering of the Y block plan submitted by John Shafer and Associates. It’s a good plan because it relates to the surrounding land uses well. It fills a need for housing downtown, which is a prerequisite for sustaining businesses downtown. And it offers open public space adjacent to the governor’s mansion which is convenient for staging civic events. Mr. Krohe’s accompanying column explained that there would be facilities for food vendors; a little street-level commerce can’t hurt.
My only concerns are about where residents would park; is there an underground garage, or are we assuming Uber takes care of the driving? And also, it appears the open area is all pavement with a few holes punched into it for trees. There should be some hardscape, but there also needs to be a broad swath of green with groups of trees. This will ensure that the trees actually survive into old age, throw meaningful shade onto the apartments’ south and west exposures, and more effectively ameliorate the heat thrown off by buildings and pavement.
It must be tempting for a cash-strapped city to do the cheapest thing, especially when the governor is trying to drive the decision his way with his money. But this is a decision the city must make, not the governor. And the city must realize that if one wants to generate more revenue out of downtown in the long run, it must invest in a plan that will create that revenue. People pay taxes; squirrels don’t.
And I would hope that the governor would extend his generous offer to whatever plan for the Y block is eventually adopted; it would certainly have to be an improvement over what is there now.
TIF FUNDING FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS
I think the Enos Park Neighborhood Association has done a great job of trying to turn the Enos Park neighborhood around (“Enos Park presses ahead,” Bruce Rushton, May 11). I have to say I do struggle a bit with this: “Last month, the council also approved a program that will provide up to $20,000 in TIF funding for firefighters or police officers to either build or buy homes in Enos Park.”
As a city council, what has to be done to make this same program available for all of the other subdivisions in the city limits and to people from all occupations? It hardly seems fair to discriminate against all of the other neighborhoods in the community and to occupations other than those of law enforcement or firefighters. How did this program come about? Did Enos Park approach the council and request it? If so, what is the process for trying to make it available elsewhere?
DUCT DYNASTY LEADERSHIP
I’ve been seeing the ads from Governor Rauner where he says we’ve had “decades” of Duct Dynasty leadership and he seems to blame all the problems of Illinois on Democrats. I think he has conveniently forgotten the terms of governors: Ogilvie 1969-73, Thompson 1977-91, Edgar 1991-99, Ryan 1999-2003 – all Republican.
Counting those years and his, I come up with 31 years out of the last 41 that were not Democrat. So if you want to blame someone for the problems in the state, I think we’d better start with those who have been in office the most. It appears we’ve had decades of Republican incompetence. Perhaps Rauner subscribes to the “alternate facts” theory.