Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=176076
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 12:09:56 AM CST
The number of foreclosed properties, such as this one in the 4100 block of School Street just outside of the 30th Ward, has continued to rise in the past year.
Foreclosures loom large in municipal election
Ward 30 Candidates• Stella Nicpon
• Ariel Reboyras (incumbent)
• Doug Cannon
• Chester Hornowski
Beyond the typical complaints about property tax and parking meters, residents of Chicago’s 30th Ward face foreclosures and slowed business.
Everyone is concerned about crime, jobs and home value, said Doug Cannon, a candidate for alderman in the Feb. 22 election.
Residents in the southeast end of the ward face some crime between rival gangs but the problem has improved in the past four to five years, according to Yesenia Burciaga, a mentor at the Hermosa Community Organization. “I think it’s better now,” she said.
Home values in the Belmont-Craigin area have been slow to recover, leaving empty homes and businesses, Cannon said. “You have houses that are sitting vacant that become havens for gangs and drug users,” he said.
Ald. Ariel Reboyras said housing is one of the main concerns in the ward. “We have a foreclosure crisis on our hands,” he said.
There were 395 foreclosures in the 30th Ward in the first nine months of 2010, compared to a city average of 337 per ward, according to the Woodstock Institution.
The city has used federal funds provided by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help other wards, Rebroyras said, but “they forgot about the Northwest Side.”
Last month ZIP Codes 60639 and 60634, both of which include parts of the 30th Ward, had the third and fourth most foreclosures in ZIP Codes across the city, according to RealtyTrac.com.
To turn the economy around, Cannon advocates simplifying the city process for starting small businesses. A trained chef with an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, he said the current licensing process in the city costs three times as much and takes much longer than incorporating in the state.
The economic downturn in recent years has affected business in the area, said Reid Mackin, director of the Belmont Central Chamber of Commerce. “We do have more vacancies,” he said.
Reboyras has been supportive of the chamber and helped complete a street beautification project, Mackin said.
Reboyras cites a library opening and the addition of two Tax Increment Financing districts as recent successes in the ward and looks forward to the construction of a closed-campus athletic park and plans for a woman’s roller derby team to use a renovated building in the 3900 block of West Armitage Avenue for practice.