January , 2019

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A new neighborhood committee, the Washington Park Residents’ Advocacy Council (WPRAC), will submit recommendations at the August 11th City Council public hearing to oppose a proposed Washington Park Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.

Citing several concerns, residents of the Washington Park community are requesting a no recommendation statement from the Community Development Commission’s of the City of Chicago on designating Washington Park as a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.  Residents will express their concerns at the City Council public hearing, Tuesday, August 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm in the City Council Chambers, 121 North LaSalle Street, 2nd Floor.

New Washington Park resident, Lakisha Thompson, states, “I am not in favor of the TIF program for the Washington Park district. Historically and nationally, the TIF program has not proven to have any long term benefits for the community from which the monies are extracted from. Since no aldermanic transparency has been demonstrated on explaining to the Washington Park on what TIF is and what it means and there has been no community involvement in the proposed project plan, then there should be no TIF designation!”

“As longtime taxpayers and residents of this community, we would like to hereby notify Commissioner Andrew Mooney that the residents of Washington Park were not given any information by the Department of Planning and Development on the Washington Park Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Area Project And Plan and the plan book was not available (May 30, 2014) until after the one statutory meeting (held on April 8, 2014) was held. There has been no time to review, understand and assess the ramifications of the Plan registered on September 1, 2011,” stated Dr. Edward Chaney, a 45 year resident of Washington Park.

According to city documents, the Plan proposes:

  • public improvements in the Washington Park area;
  • entering redevelopment agreements for the construction of public and private improvements;
  • financing portions of the cost of such improvements
  • other eligible redevelopment project costs using funds from a special tax allocation; and
  • issuing one or more series of obligations secured by TIF funds.
  • removal of current residents and seizure of properties under Eminent Domain

The key argument is that the Washington Park Community has no understanding of what the Plan is, does not understand its role as stakeholders if the process takes place and has not received accurate or transparent information neither from the 20h Ward alderman nor from the City of Chicago responsible departments regarding the plan thus far.

Chaney explains, “We the People of Washington Park,” i.e., Washington Park Residents’ Advocacy Council and Washington Park Advisory Council, believe that sufficient, factual, accurate and valid information has not been provided to the community in order that affected by the Plan are able to either agree or disagree with providing support.”

The organizations agree that the City of Chicago has the obligation to provide transparent, explanatory and clarifying information so that residents understand what has been designed. Additionally, the residents have concluded that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s TIF Reform Group has yet to live up to the promise of  reforming the TIF process. The Washington Park Community refuses to become a victim and casualty of the traditional TIF process of taxpayers paying for their own removal from their community. There has been no democratic process in Washington Park. Aldermanic bullying is the only response we have gotten.

Washington Park taxpayers believe that the TIF process in its community is fraudulent and the process is being steamrolled.

For more information about Washington Park Residents Advocacy Council, contact Cecilia Butler, President Pro-Temp, Washington Park Resident’s Advocacy Council, Jackson Park Station, P.O. Box 379552, Chicago, Illinois 60637, ceciliab128@sbcglobal.net
A note from Washington Park Residents Advocacy Council: This press release was transmitted as a public service by the TIF Illumination Project, a work of the CivicLab. The TIF Illumination Project distributes these graphic posters at TIF town meetings, or Illuminations, that have been independently organized by residents of the community. Since February of 2013 we have investigated and Illuminated 120 TIFs across 28 wards before over 2,300 people.

The complete record of these events and all the presentations made at them as well as the schedule for UPCOMING Illuminations are online at http://tifreports.com/tif-town-meetings.

We are offering a “TIF 101” workshop at the CivicLab, 114 N. Aberdeen Street, on Wednesday, August 20th, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The cost is $10. Further information is at http://tinyurl.com/TIF-101-8-20-14.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the Washington Park Residents’ Advocacy Council and not of CopyLine Magazine.

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