Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=175858
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Clark St.

Molly Born/MEDILL

A shopper walks down Clark Street in Andersonville, where unique, independent businesses attract partrons throughout the city.


Crime, business development top concerns for 48th Ward

by Molly Born
Jan 11, 2011


48graph

Ward 48 Candidates

  • Jose Arteaga
  • Phil Bernstein
  • Steven Chereska
  • Patrick McDonough
  • Harry Osterman

Residents in the city’s 48th Ward said public safety and business development are key concerns in the upcoming aldermanic election, which will usher in new leadership for the first time in 22 years.

Following the retirement of Mary Ann Smith, residents in February will vote for a new alderman who they hope can help bring in more police resources to reduce crime and keep business districts thriving.

Jeremy Bressman, 31, runs the Edgewater Community Buzz blog, which he said attracts more than 1,000 page views each day. Public safety and business development are two of Edgewater’s key issues, Bressman said, noting the two are linked.

“There’s a lot of empty retail space, and if there was activity, there’s going to be less crime,” he said.

Bressman conducted a week-long poll of his readers, ending Tuesday. Of 151 participants, 86 identified public safety as their chief concern in the 48th Ward, followed by 20 votes for business development.

Other residents also saw business and safety as major issues.

Steven Pryor, 37, president of the East Andersonville Resident’s Council, said the image of Andersonville and its popular shopping district depends on businesses that are a good fit for the area.

“Everyone is really concerned about the safety of the neighborhood,” Pryor said, “and that kind of parlays into prosperity and making sure the businesses that run along Clark Street appeal … and fit into the neighborhood.”

Darryl Shi-Shido, 59, delivers pizzas throughout the 48th Ward and said he feels safe on every street. But, Shi-Shido, who returned two years ago to Chicago after a decade in California, said Edgewater’s business prospects are limited now because there’s little that defines the neighborhood.

“Both Uptown and Edgewater don’t have an identity of their own,” Shi-Shido said.

Five candidates are running for alderman in the 48th Ward, including longtime Edgewater resident Phil Bernstein, who said, if elected, he would put pressure on police to examine how they’re using resources.

“I would get on the phone with the police hierarchy every damn day,” he said.