Suggested Public Uses for Redevelopment

Public uses:

  • community meeting space
  • grade school/junior high school
  • parking
  • plaza


Since there does happen to be a world-class university within spitting distance of the CMH site, and that university does not currently have a med school...has anyone approached the university about buying/using the space and starting a med school there? It does not have to be a full-service trauma center, but could be a specialty hospital (such as kids or cancer or geriatric (my favorite) or similar). I'd be thrilled to know that in 15 years when my parents must live close to me that they have excellent geriatric medicine in this neighborhood.

Regarding a University-associated teaching hospital/med school, I know that risk-taking "developers" wouldn't get a chance to wildly profit from this, but there are some serious positives to the idea:
- Refurbishing or rebuilding would be good for laborers and workers in the city and surrounding wards.
- Chicago has the best architects in the known universe, reuse of that area with a modern teaching hospital could be a showcase of the talent of our architects and a "trial" for 2016 (if we get it). I tend to not worry about things like trees, traffic, open spaces, pedestrian traffic, etc because this is where our local architects can really shine if they are given some direction. A community-judged competition could even be held.
- If a hospital is there, good jobs would continue to be available locally (not $6/hr mall jobs, not a couple of parking attendants, but med techs, nurses, etc).
- As the area further gentrifies, residents do get older and will need more medical care so another hospital would be welcomed (as we are "losing" at least 2.
- That big university has deep pockets and is unlikey to get 1/2-way done and run out of money.
- There are already residual medical offices around CMH (including my dentist) that would still have a medical anchor there and they could stay in business and serve our community without relocating.
- Given the current prevailing winds on the national scene, it is likely that medicine will become more "socialized" in the next decade. 43rd could be ready for the subsequent changes.
- DePaul has moved many of their professional programs to the loop, leaving us with undergrads and the subsequent behavior, this could pull some grad-level students back into the area and balance out the partying.
- A teaching community hospital fits with St. Vinnie's credo and with DePaul U's Mission statement. It also gives them a chance to broaden their area into sciences (frankly they are weak there).

-jeff a. (no I don't work for them, just went there/go there to learn).

December 9, 2008 at 6:51 PM  

It would be nice to see a bus turnaround there, where all buses stop in all directions, with a proper heated shelter. We blew our golden opportunity to have such a thing at the Fullerton El station, so now the evening rush features 50 people huddled at the corner in front of the Dietzgen building waiting for the westbound #74.

December 10, 2008 at 1:20 AM  

We need to keep in mind that Children's has a lot of easements right now that need to revert back to the public.

Children's has about 200 linear feet of "shuttle parking" along Lincoln that is very valuable, but these buses just sit dormant in those spaces for about 22 hours a day (they only really are active during rush hours). These spaces could have been put along Orchard, and we could have had valuable metered parking there for as many as 20 more cars, or, even better, for a dedicated CTA bus lane.

Children's also has a very costly traffic light in the middle of that block. I have no idea how they got that; it must have taken a great deal of clout, because they are extremely expensive to install. Did we pay for that, or did Children's contribute something? It does not belong there and should be removed. (A flashing stop light and/or a zebra crossing would have been far cheaper and more appropriate for the traffic patterns there, and would have been totally adequate even for wheelchair crossing.)

Most importantly, the northbound bottleneck along Lincoln needs to be addressed. We need an extra northbound lane for rush hour and buses. It takes 15 minutes for the 74 bus to get around the loop there because of the traffic bottleneck there.

December 10, 2008 at 1:27 AM  

To Jeff A:

I can see how your idea would have some appeal, but as someone familiar with DePaul (I work there, but this is my personal opinion), I don't see it as feasible.

Starting a medical school from scratch is no small undertaking. It would take years before faculty, staff and students would be in place to say nothing of the tremendous costs involved in refurbishing and operating a hospital. I think it is highly doubtful that DePaul is prepared to undertake such a venture.

Again, I'm only speaking for myself, not the university.


December 10, 2008 at 11:25 AM  

My vote is to put a school there. It would add to the neighborhood feel and serve a great many residents who need to drive their kids to school. St. Clement is bursting at the seams, why not let them have some of the space? Or the new Alcott high school?

January 7, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

As a St. Clement parent I would certainly support our school being able to take advantage of some of that space since our school's enrollment has been growing for years and we've run out of room. A park would also be a welcome addition to the neighborhood given the large number of children we have around. Anything but big box stores, condo towers, or oversized houses.

January 9, 2009 at 11:31 AM  

Expanded Catholic school, parks, ect. Let's be realistic for minute and realize that Children's is a for profit organization selling valuable land to the highest bidder. Oz park is 2 blocks away and there are plenty of schools int he neighborhood. The city is broker and I don't a church is going to pay top dollar for a piece of land. Hello condos, store fronts and single familes...

January 14, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

The proposed Alcott High School for the Humanities could go in a midrise north of the garage on lincoln Avenue

allan mellis

March 19, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

Lincoln Elementary School is bursting at the seams. Before you go adding townhouses, please consider the impact on our PUBLIC schools. How about making part available for the public schools (nothing against St. Clements, but it is not public).

Also, as we are already losing TWO public-oriented organizations (the hospital AND Lincoln Park Hospital), let's keep in mind what the community needs are, versus building more restaurants, homes, etc.

I am definitely in the camp of a public pool or Park District facility. Lincoln Park's facility is sub-par. It was never meant to be a field house and as such, is totally overcrowded and not serving the needs of the community.

I implore you to look for COMMUNITY-oriented uses: library, pool/gym, clinic, etc.

May 17, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

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