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2008 Archive News

Alderman Reilly's Illegal Billboard Ordinance Approved by City Council
December 19, 2008

The City Council voted this week to approve Alderman Reilly's ordinance to crack down on sign companies that erect and operate billboards illegally without the required city approvals and permits. This ordinance increased the fines to $10,000 per offense for off-premise advertising billboards that are larger than 499 square feet. There are hundreds of billboards operating illegally in the City, many of which are located downtown in the 42nd Ward, and enhanced fines for violations will help ensure that the City's ordinances and approval processes are respected and followed by sign companies.

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Kingsbury Alley Update
December 19, 2008

Alderman Reilly successfully resolved the "Kingsbury Alley" issue, a blighted and inoperable extra long private alley that runs east-west between Orleans and Kingsbury Streets. Representatives from the two condominium associations who owned the alley signed the property plats over to the Chicago Department of Transportation, and Alderman Reilly will sponsor the enacting ordinance to memorialize the official dedication.

The City of Chicago has a mandatory "construction moratorium" during the holiday season and winter weather conditions will preclude any large-scale reconstruction efforts prior to this Spring 2009. However, at Alderman Reilly's request, Commissioner Tom Byrne of the Dept. of Transportation graciously agreed to perform temporary patching to improve the alley for the winter months until the permanent improvements commence. We are pleased to report that this temporary patching has been completed.

Alderman Reilly is looking forward to delivering a brand-new, fully reconstructed public alley to River North this coming spring.

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Development Project Update: Poetry Foundation at Superior and Dearborn Streets
December 5, 2008

The Poetry Foundation will be constructing their new headquarters at 720 North Dearborn Street, at the southeast corner of Superior and Dearborn. While some details are still being finalized, the overall design calls for construction of a 21,000-square-foot, two-story building, with the first floor featuring galleries, a reading room and poetry library to be open for public use, and the second floor containing office space for the Foundation. The design also calls for an open garden to be located at the building's entrance, and the installation of a green roof.

The existing building at this site is currently being demolished. New construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2009, with the building to be opened for use in the spring of 2010. This initiative is privately funded by the Poetry Foundation, a not-for-profit independent literary organization. For more information about the foundation, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

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Join the 42nd Ward USPS Customer Advisory Council!
November 21, 2008

Alderman Reilly is working with the United States Postal Service to recruit volunteers to participate in a neighborhood-based USPS Customer Advisory Council for downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward. This Advisory Council with help local postal officials and managers to clearly identify customer needs for the purpose of improving postal service for residents and businesses in downtown Chicago.

Alderman Reilly is eager to work with the United States Postal Service to address the many challenges that local residents and businesses are experiencing with postal service in downtown Chicago. By working directly with the Postal Service and the USPS Customer Advisory Council, Alderman Reilly is looking forward to developing a keen understanding of customer expectations; resolving general service issues; improving community partnerships; and significantly improving mail service for the residents and businesses in the 42nd Ward.

Members of the Postal Customer Advisory Council will be asked to provide postal officials with recommendations and will be invited to assist Alderman Reilly's office with the implementation of solutions to help improve mail service. The next Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for January 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm at Fort Dearborn Post Office, located at 540 North Dearborn.

Please consider joining the 42nd Ward Postal Customer Advisory Council to help Alderman Reilly and the United States Postal Service develop creative solutions and fresh ideas to improve USPS customer satisfaction in downtown Chicago. If you are interested in joining the Advisory Council, please contact Nuntida Sirisombatwattana in Alderman Reilly's Constituent Service Office at (312) 642-4242 or via e-mail at Nuntida@ward42chicago.com.

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#60 CTA Bus Will Be Returned to its Original Route
November 21, 2008

Alderman Reilly is pleased to report that the #60 CTA bus will return to its original route on Tuesday, November 25. The #60 was rerouted due to construction surrounding Block 37, resulting in inconvenient and infrequent service. Alderman Reilly has been working with the CTA to restore this bus to its proper route so that residents would once again be provided with more reliable and accessible CTA service.

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Mayor Daley's Winter Preparedness Fairs and Home Depot Weatherization Vouchers
November 14, 2008

Winter is just around the corner, and Chicagoans will soon be faced with the challenge of heating their homes amidst rising energy costs. The Department of Environment is once again coordinating Mayor Daley's Winter Prepardness Fairs, and our office has a limited number of $40 vouchers available for the purchase of a variety of weatherization materials (such as programmable thermostats, filters, insulation and weather stripping) at all Chicago Home Depot locations.

The Fairs serve as a "one-stop shop" for Chicago residents to address their winter energy-related needs. Attendees will receive a free home weatherization kit, learn no-cost and low-cost ways to reduce energy consumption, receive direct access to a variety of Chicago non-profit organizations providing energy-related assistance, and have the opportunity to apply for a variety of utility subsidy and City assistance programs.

The Fair in closest proximity to the 42nd Ward will be held on Thursday, December 4 from 3 pm to 8 pm at Harrison Park, located at 1824 South Wood Street.

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Save Energy with a FREE Light Bulb
November 14, 2008

Alderman Reilly, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the Department of Environment want to help you save energy and money this summer. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs are now available at Alderman Reilly's Constituent Office (one per person). In order to receive a free bulb, please be prepared to sign up with your name, address and email. These bulbs last up to 9 years and use of up 75% less energy. That's 10 times longer than regular light bulbs!

Feel free to stop by the Constituent Office during our normal business hours to pick up a free light bulb. For more information please visit www.citizensutilityboard.org or www.cityofchicago.org/environment.

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Alderman Reilly to Crack Down on Construction Noise Violations
November 6, 2008

Last month, Alderman Reilly introduced new legislation that would significantly increase fines for construction noise violations. Per the Municipal Code, construction work is limited to the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (with the exception of emergency maintenance / repairs or city infrastructure improvement projects) - the current maximum fine for such violations is only $500 per incident.

In response to numerous and increased constituent complaints related tothe violation of the city ordinance, Alderman Reilly crafted new legislation that would boost fines to levels that would better ensure compliance by construction companies and subcontractors who willfully violate the law to meet deadlines.

Under Reilly's proposal, the maximum fine would increase dramatically, from $500 to $10,000 per violation. This increase is needed because the construction costs for most development projects in the Central Business District range from $200 - $600 million. The current maximum fine of $500 per violation is not an adequate deterrent when measured against the scale of these large projects.

Alderman Reilly's proposal will be heard next week before the Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities on Monday, November 10th at 2:00 p.m. in Room 201-A at City Hall.

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Alderman Reilly's Construction Noise Ordinance Secured Unanimous City Council Approval
November 14, 2008

On Wednesday, Alderman Reilly's new legislation increasing fines for construction noise violations was unanimously approved in City Council. Per the Municipal Code, construction work is permitted during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (emergency maintenance / repairs or city infrastructure improvement projects are not subject to these restrictions). The fine for after-hours construction was previously only $500 per incident.

Under this new legislation, the maximum fine for construction noise violations has increased dramatically to $10,000 per violation. This increase was needed because the construction costs for most development projects in the Central Business District range from $200 - $600 million, and the former maximum fine of $500 per violation was not an adequate deterrent when measured against the scale of these large projects.

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Alderman Reilly Working to Enhance Penalties for Illegal Billboards
November 6, 2008

This week at City Council, Alderman Reilly introduced an ordinance to crack down on sign companies who erect and operate billboards illegally without the required city approvals and permits. It is estimated that there are hundreds of off-premise advertising billboards and signs currently operating in the City of Chicago and some of the largest illegal billboards are located in the Central Business District.

Alderman Reilly's ordinance would increase the fines to $10,000 per offense for off-premise advertising billboards that are larger than 499 square feet. The Alderman is enhancing fines for these types of violations to ensure the city's ordinances and approval processes are respected and followed by operators.

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Clark & Chestnut Development Update --
Project Has Been Withdrawn

November 6, 2008

Earlier this year, LG Development filed an application to amend Planned Development #313, requesting approval for a 370-foot, 28-story residential condominium structure to contain 49 units and 83 parking spaces. Over the past several months, Alderman Reilly has hosted a number of neighborhood and condominium meetings to provide his constituents with an open and transparent process and solicit local input while he considered the merits of the proposal.

This week, Alderman Reilly received a letter from the applicant informing him that they are withdrawing their application to amend Planned Development No. 313. Since the application has been withdrawn, the project is no longer pending the Alderman's approval and the existing Planned Development stands, which allows for the construction of a two-story structure on the site.

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The 42nd Ward: #1 in 2008 Voter Turnout and
Voter Registration!

November 6, 2008

Alderman Reilly is thrilled that the 42nd Ward ranked #1 in both overall and early voting turnout! Current counts indicate that 36,224 ballots were cast out of a total registered voter count of 45,474, and 9,734 of these were early votes. Thanks to all who voted and contributed to the 42nd Ward's 80% voter turnout rate!

The 42nd Ward is also ranked #1 for new voter registrations!

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Residential Parking Permit Daily Passes Now Available Online
October 10, 2008

Residents living in residential parking zones no longer need to visit the Office of the City Clerk to obtain residential parking permit daily passes. Daily passes are now available through the City Clerk's website at www.chicityclerk.com.

Residents who have already purchased their annual parking permit passes can purchase up to two books of daily passes every 30 days from the City Clerk's website. Online purchases are typically processed in two to three days and mailed thereafter. There is no service fee. If you experience any technical difficulties with the website, please contact the Data Services Division at 312-742-9200 or CityClerk@CityofChicago.org.

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New Valet Parking Ordinance
October 10, 2008

In response to community concerns, Alderman Reilly introduced an ordinance this week at City Council to address valet parking abuses.  This ordinance would require a significant increase in off-street parking requirements and double (or in some cases triple) fines for valets who violate City ordinance, in addition to increasing the amount of insurance valet companies must carry.

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River North/Kingsbury Alley Summary
September 26, 2008

After many months of working diligently to address community, business and City of Chicago concerns with the "Kingsbury Alley" (located from Orleans to Kingsbury, between Erie and Ontario Streets), Alderman Reilly is pleased to announce that the Gallery 400 and Admiral's Pointe Condominium Associations have voted to officially dedicate the alley to the City of Chicago.

While this issue has been a source of neighborhood concern for a number of years, Alderman Reilly began the process of negotiating with the affected parties after this issue was brought to his attention in June 2007.

This process involved dozens of meetings between City of Chicago officials, neighborhood leaders and the two condominium associations that own the alley, as well as several site visits by Alderman Reilly, city officials, neighborhood leaders and affected residents in an attempt to resolve this long-term public health and safety hazard.

While certain procedural items remain to be accomplished, this was one of the final obstacles remaining in improving this alley. The accomplishment of this critical step represents significant progress in the goal of improving this alley for the overall benefit of the River North neighborhood.

The next step of the alley dedication process requires that the property managers for both buildings mail a notice to all "First Mortgage Holders"; this notice was mailed on September 17th, 2008 and is legally bound to a 30-day "waiting" period prior to engaging in any further action related to the dedication.

In the interim, Alderman Reilly has requested that the Chicago Department of Transportation update their surveys and present his office with an updated cost estimate for the necessary alley improvements. The reconstruction of the alley will be funded by Alderman Reilly's Aldermanic Menu funds, and work is projected to begin in the spring of 2009.

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River North SummerFest and Erie Park Farmer’s Market
June 23, 2008

The 7th Annual River North SummerFest was a great success! Community members of all ages- both human and canine- mingled for a day of music, food and summer fun in Erie Park. SummerFest also marked the opening day of the Erie Park Farmer’s Market, which is open Sundays this summer from 7am to 2pm.

Click here to visit the River North Residents Association website.


CDOT Seeks Feedback for Pedestrian Plan
June 16, 2008

CDOT held a public meeting on the Pedestrian Plan in mid-June, but they are still seeking feedback on ways to increase pedestrian safety and enjoyment. CDOT is currently seeking further input on its upcoming Pedestrian Plan. The Department of Transportation has prepared an online survey; please visit this link to participate.

Click here to read the full article.


Recent Press Coverage on the Chicago Children's Museum's
Proposed Move to Grant Park

June 12, 2008

Kid's museum site approved
Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2008

"Casting aside a generations-old City Council custom in favor of a more recent tradition- namely, following Mayor Richard Daley's lead-Chicago aldermen voted 33-16 Wednesday to approve a new Chicago Children's Museum in Grant Park."

Click here to read the full article.

Like 'Braveheart,' Reilly was betrayed by peers
Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2008

"Ald. Brendan "Braveheart" Reilly looked straight ahead, as 33 of hisfellow aldermen trotted away in betrayal to join their liege lord,Richard Shortshanks, in the great Children's Museum vote on Wednesday."

Click here to read the full article.


Free Trolley Summer Service Under Way
May 19, 2008

Memorial Day weekend marked the start of Chicago’s Free Trolley summer service to many popular locations in downtown Chicago, such as Michigan Avenue, the museum campus and Navy Pier. The Free Trolley service runs until Labor Day. Find more information about the trolley service here.

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[Chicago Children's Museum] Option 6: Logan Square
Chicago Tribune – May 4, 2008

We hope Chicago's 50 aldermen--or museum board members with the courage to confront their leaders--state the obvious: No matter what the design, no matter how deep the burial of a museum, Grant Park is off limits: "forever open, clear and free."

But this $100 million project would be a spectacular investment in one of many neighborhoods. A setting away from uniquely protected Grant Park would give architects room to create an above-ground masterpiece--as opposed to a concrete tomb.

One unorthodox but intriguing possibility: Erect a combined Children's Museum, activities campus and neighborhood park near, and over, Blue Line tracks southeast of Logan Square on Chicago's Northwest Side.

Click here to read the full article

Visit www.savegrantpark.org for a comprehensive list of press coverage of this issue, and also to sign the online petition!


[Chicago Children's Museum] Option 5: Garfield Park
Chicago Tribune - April 30, 2008

As part of our search for a good above-ground museum site—one that wouldn't condemn visiting children and their families to a gloomy underground sarcophagus—we're evaluating several spots away from the lakefront. One common advantage: ease of highway access, room for parking, and less road congestion for school buses and autos. Among these potentially excellent locations: Garfield Park, at roughly the geographic center of the city.

Click here to read the full article


[Chicago Children's Museum] Option 4: Pritzker Park
Chicago Tribune - April 27, 2008

In our quest to help officials of the Chicago Children's Museum undo the dreadful damage they're inflicting on its image, we offer this fourth alternative to their attempted land grab of a relocation site in Grant Park: If you don't have paws and a tail--or feathers and a beak--you may not spend time in a pleasant but essentially featureless, L-shaped plot of land in Chicago's South Loop. Few spots in the city are so ripe to enhance into a kid-friendly learning environment. This might well be an excellent location for a new Chicago Children's Museum.

Click here to read the full article


[Chicago Children’s Museum] Option 3: Lincoln Campus
Chicago Tribune – April 23, 2008

A coalition of community, environmental, consumer rights and labor groups now formally opposes the proposed interjection of a new Chicago Children's Museum into Grant Park. Citizen Action / Illinois joins the rising clamor of voices urging Chicago's mayor and aldermen to find a better (and legal) site.

Click here to read the full article

[Chicago Children’s Museum] Option 2: Children’s Island
Chicago Tribune – April 20, 2008

Placing the Children's Museum on Northerly Island would expand and enhance the Museum Campus—a safe and natural home for this facility. And while this is lake frontage, it doesn't have the special legal protections of Grant Park.

Click here to read the full article

[Chicago Children’s Museum] Option 1: Riverwalk
Chicago Tribune – April 15, 2008

In a city of some 230 square miles, we'd like to help this museum have a spectacular home. We do, though, ask that the museum officials not cheat future centuries of children out of inheriting the same Grant Park that earlier Chicagoans bequeathed to all of us.

Click here to read the full article.


Changing a museum’s agenda
Chicago Tribune, April 17, 2008

Grant Park has survived this long for all of us to enjoy only because people of uncommon courage took bold actions to protect it.

Click here to read the full article.


Walter Jacobson on Eight Forty-Eight
Chicago Public Radio WBEZ 91.5 FM, April 8, 2008

[The Chicago Children’s Museum has] told Mayor Daley they simply cannot imagine their big new museum anywhere but in Grant Park. Problem is there’s not supposed to be a museum in the park, or a high-rise or any new building in the park… Four times during the past l50 years, the [Illinois] Supreme Court has said that Grant Park is to be forever, forever, open, clear and free of buildings. Just like Daniel Burnham hoped it would always be.

Click here to listen to Walter Jacobson’s commentary on NPR.

 

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