Ward remap brings cheers and tears from residents
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 19, 2012 7:52PM
A sign protesting proposed remapping of the area is posted on the lawn of a home on the corner of S. Wood St. and S. Hermosa Ave. Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in Chicago. The homes in this area were not changed as a result of the city' council's vote. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: February 21, 2012 8:45AM
The red signs started sprouting weeks ago on front lawns all over the 19th Ward, which covers the Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods on the Southwest Side:
“I am 19th Ward. DON’T remap me.”
Across the city, residents feared communities would be broken up or they would receive fewer city services if they were remapped into a new ward.
In the 19th Ward, some residents won.
“I prayed enough!” Lavona Davis said with a smile upon hearing her block of Wood Street stayed in the 19th Ward.
“Our prayers were not answered,” Shelia Thompkins said, shaking her head at the news that her block of Church Street will be moved into the 34th Ward.
Why did both women want to stay in the 19th Ward badly enough to post the signs on their front lawn? Better services and a more responsive alderman, they said.
“If you need a new garbage can or a new light if it’s dark in the alley … if I call [19th Ward Ald.] Matt O’Shea, he will come out here and examine the problem,” Thompkins said.
As president of a block club that was half in the 34th Ward and half in the 19th, Thompkins said she was experienced dealing with both wards and really wanted to stay in the 19th.
O’Shea said he had to lose 1,100 residents and was sorry to have to lose the Old Morgan Park neighborhood, but was happy to be able to keep most of his ward.
Ernie Lukasik of the Montclare/Galewood neighborhood on the Northwest Side is as upset as his alderman, Nick Sposato, that their 36th Ward is being drastically changed into a Hispanic ward and the Montclare/Galewood neighborhood is being attached to the West Side 29th Ward.
That means a longer trip to the alderman’s office if he needs services and a breaking up of the neighborhood, Lukasik said.
Armando Chacon worked with Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) on opening a Target and a park and closing a bar in his West Loop neighborhood. The new map completely erases the 2nd Ward on the Near South Side and created a new 2nd Ward on the Near Northwest Side.
“I’m disappointed,” Chacon said. Chacon likes his new alderman, Danny Solis (25th), but Fioretti already new all the ward’s needs, Chacon said.