Eventful year in local communities created news and opportunities for change

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The year 2016 was an eventful one in the ten communities the Gazette covers. Following is a look back at news the months it was covered in the Gazette. 


– Developers discussed two new South Loop highrises at a community meeting. 

– The Randolph/Fulton Market Association asked the City for a Randolph Street bicycle route. 

– Fair Economy Illinois called for a financial transactions tax and held a protest.

– The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System and Rush University Medical Center coordinated treatment for Behcet’s disease for artist Megan Howard. 

– Mike Garcia, Luke Capuano, and Pat LaCassa were inducted into the Illinois Boxing Hall of Fame.

– Illegal turns from Roosevelt Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway caused traffic danger. 

– The Illinois Medical District announced plans to break ground on the Gateway project.

– Various groups fought Governor Bruce Rauner’s plans for an advertising tax.

– Reginald “Hats” Adams, longtime Rush community affairs officer, and Robert Klaus, who was active in the Notre Dame de Chicago parish, passed away.



– A new master plan for Roosevelt Square proposed three ten-story apartment buildings and five sixstory buildings.

– A dog park was announced for Maggie Daley Park.

– Rush University Medical Center planned a comprehensive care outpatient center east of Ashland Ave. Rehab work began on an old police station to turn it into a location for Chicago Children’s Theatre.

– A developer scaled back plans for an apartment building at 1350 S. Union St. from 130 units to 99. 

– Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) informed the community that Pilgrim Baptist Church would not be rebuilt, and that the area could become a park. 

– The South Branch Park Advisory Council formed to help shape plans for the Eleanor Street boathouse. 

– The community was successful in keeping a marijuana clinic out of Fulton Market.

– The Malcolm X School of Health Sciences opened. 

– An apartment building was proposed for 352 N. Union St. A “contributing building” in the Fulton-Randolph Market Historic District was torn down. 

– Mercy Hospital named Michael Davenport chief medical officer.

– Pay-and-display metered parking on Sunday came to Chinatown.

– Redmoon Theatre closed.

– The Sheridan Park Advisory Council named a park playground for Joseph Esposito Sr.



– The Gazette covered the Congressional, State Senate, State Legislative, Judicial Subcircuit, and Ward Committeemen races on the March ballot.

– Mercy Home for Boys & Girls held its annual March for Kids.

– Six local parishes held St. Joseph’s Tables.

– The family of the late Antoinette “Toni” Di Fieore and the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii awarded two scholarships in her name.



– Activists protested a controversial proposed upscale Pilsen apartment development.

– Project Onward helped support the professional development of artists facing autism, mental illness, and other challenges. 

– A change in the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance attempted to stem a tide of older affordable housing being demolished faster than new affordable housing could be built. 

– An outdoor gym was proposed for Grant Park.

– The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced the closing of several Pilsen churches, and that the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest would be restored.

– Near West Sider Peter Pero published the book Soul Survivors on Catholic High Schools in Chicago.

– Pure Metal Recycling announced it would not build a recycling plant in Pilsen Developers scaled back the height of a South Michigan Avenue planned highrise at 1000 S. Michigan Ave. from 86 to 73 stories.

– Neighbors of West Loop came up with a questionnaire for developers designed to head off problems with the community before they occur.



– Developers increased the height of a proposed skyscraper’s base at 113 E. Roosevelt Road, causing concerns among local residents.

– The University Village Association looked to rebound after a winter and spring shutdown.

– Plans for a new Pilsen walking trail had neighbors concerned about gentrification.

– A large donation of money and protests failed to change the mind of Archdiocesan officials on closing St. Adalbert’s Parish.

– A developer scaled back plans for new construction in the 4200 and 4300 blocks of South Halsted Street.

– Santa Lucia School Principal Geraldine Maratea retired.

– Fourth Ward Alderman Sophia King took office.

– A new mall was planned for the South Loop.

– Oscar’s Watch & Jewelry celebrated its 40th anniversary. 

– CivicLab and Tom Tresser published a book, Chicago Is Not Broke: Funding the City We Deserve.

– The Randolph/Fulton Market Association called for improvements on Hubbard Street and Grand Avenue.

– Chicago Hope Academy hosted a basketball tourney fundraiser. 

– Jones College Prep student Jaylia Jackson won second place in the Equal Pay Day Chicago competition; the organization is fighting for equal pay for equal work.

– Former State Representative Shirley Jones, Monsignor Richard O’Donnell, and University of Illinois at Chicago librarian Lisa Zhao, passed away.



– Petitioners called for a special tax to fund Near West Side mental health services. 

– Redevelopment plans were announced for old Cook County Hospital.

– Illinois law made it difficult to get a recall campaign going against Governor Bruce Rauner. 

– Activists and Alderman Daniel Solis stopped a 500-unit residential project from being built in Pilsen. Hope Café hired ex-felons to reintroduce them into society. 

– A GoFundMe campaign helped hit-and-run victim Scott Jacobson. 

– The Randolph/Fulton Market association met with Congressman Danny Davis and Cook County Commissioners Robert Steele and Richard Boykin to discuss Lake Street improvements. 

– The size of a Maggie Daley Park proposed restaurant was scaled back. Police arrested three in a McGuane Park shooting.



– A new South Loop School was slated to increase enrollment. 

– The City’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 initiative was designed to boost Chicagoans’ health.

– St. Adalbert Parish closed. 

– The City took over historic Clarke House. 

– Community residents expressed concerns about the Halsted Street heliport. 

– The County planned an outpatient facility, office building, and more parking in the Illinois Medical District (IMD).

– The IMD opened a garden farm stand. 

– A mural was planned for the 35th Street viaduct near U.S. Cellular Field.

– St. Barbara School appointed Nicole Nolazco as principal.

– Hoxton Hotels planned a new facility for the West Loop.

– The Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School, which the Chicago Public Schools wanted to close, remained open by order of the Illinois State Charter Schools Commission. 

– Smart Stuff Education Inc. owner Carla McNamara was honored by the Women’s Business Development Center.

– The death of Martha Gonzales was solved when a Chicago Transit Authority video showed she was hit by a bus.

– Jack Schaller of Schaller’s Pump passed away.



– Chinatown considered a new Special Service Area for beautification and economic development.

– Alderman Sophia King and Police Commander Robert Klich addressed community concerns at a South Loop meeting. Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs reported that some life insurance companies were not paying benefits they should have.

– An Annie E. Case Foundation report showed the toll that parental incarceration takes on children.

– St. Adalbert’s parishioners appealed to the Vatican to save their parish.

– Alderman Patrick D. Thompson dedicated a new playground at Wright Court. 

– Thompson halted a controversial residential project on Halsted Street.

– Lakeshore Recycling Systems announced it would build a plant in the stockyards area.

– A violent storm caused damage to trees, cars, and buildings on the Near West Side.



– Controversial and influential community activist, real estate developer, and Near West Sider Oscar O. D’Angelo passed away at age 84.

– The community debated a proposal for twin 12-story apartment buildings on Ashland Avenue.

– The Chicago Architecture Foundation offered plans to revitalize wards in the area.



– New bicycle lanes were announced for the South Loop.

– A variety of new construction and rehab projects were announced for the West Loop.

– Elected officials worked to overturn Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of automatic voter registration.

– The Resurrection Project saved the last single room occupancy hotel in Pilsen. 

– Experts discussed how to upgrade worker skills at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning And Public Affairs Urban Forum.

– Chinatown’s Special Service Area moved forward as local officials submitted plans to the City.

– A new law required insurers to pay death benefits to those entitled to the insurance money. Rush University Medical Center began work on an Advanced Health Care facility.

– The Randolph/Fulton Market Association held a bus tour to highlight infrastructure problems with Lake Street.

– The Neighbors of West Loop held a meeting to cover NoWL’s Neighborhood Plan and the City’s new Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

– U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System eighth in the Chicago area. 

– Longtime Gazette reporter Hayley Carlton passed away at age 46.



– Neighbors objected to helicopter noise coming from Vertiport Chicago in the Illinois Medical District area.

– The Gazette covered local, statewide, and national political races.

– Panelists expressed concern about a possible “jobless economy” at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs Urban Forum.

– CivicLab and the TIF Illumination Project promoted their book, Chicago Is Not Broke.

– AT&T contributed $100,000 to City Year to help students at Phillips Academy.

– Police investigated Heart of Chicago fires.

– Single Room Occupancy tenants at 3022 S. Archer Ave. received a court order allowing them to stay in their building after they had earlier received an eviction notice.

– Joe Aurelio, owner of Aurelio’s Pizzeria, received the Good Neighbor Award from Old St. Mary’s School.

– Ald. Danny Solis (25th Ward) and local organizations provided help to Pilsen families displaced by fire.

– Holy Family Church and Children of Peace musician Sam Parker; community leader Carmen “Carmie Shoes” DeLaurentis; and the Near West Side’s oldest resident, Clara Laino, passed away.



– Opposition emerged to the proposed Chinatown Special Service Area and a concurrent property tax hike.

– The City said that rumors that the Maxwell Street Market would close were untrue.

– Voters passed a referendum in favor of a Near West Side mental health clinic and a related tax hike to pay for it. 

– Operators of Vertiport Chicago and Alderman Jason Ervin worked together to reduce helicopter noise.


By William S. Bike


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