Archive for January, 2008

Graceland-Wilson Neighbors Association was founded in 2002 by a group of neighbors. Our first years were busy with summer BBQs and a holiday progressive dinner people still talk about.

The Fire Station garden was the first community garden through a joint effort with GWNA and the great guys at our fire station. We hosted a fundraiser at Frankie J’s, now the Spot, and raised more than $3,000. The City’s community garden folks provided the plants and Steve Choe, a neighbor and landscape architecture, created the garden design.

But like all good things, block clubs take time and effort. Over the past few years our block club suffered from neglect. We decided it’s time to revive our block club, reacquaint ourselves with our neighbors and work for a better community.

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Truman College officials unveiled plans to build a new student administration center and parking garage at the south end of the school at a July 26, 2007 community meeting. Construction of the block long building is expected to start spring 2008 and continue for eighteen months.

Truman administrators, the alderman and STV Inc, the architects, presented the plan including architectural renderings that showed a 6-story building running along Sunnyside from Racine to the El tracks.

The first floor will house the student administration offices and bike parking. The remaining stories will be a parking garage.

The south end of the building running along Sunnyside and Racine raised resident questions on safety. The architects stated the building will have windows along Sunnyside and Racine; yet no renderings were shown. This street-frontage area has crime issues and neighbors asked for more detail on lighting and security.

Residents were also concerned when they learned the eastern walk-way from Sunnyside to Wilson would be eliminated, cutting off pedestrian access to the Wilson El Station.

Parking garage access will be a two-way entrance/exit eliminating the existing mall between the Truman buildings. Cars will enter and exist off Wilson. Racine north of Wilson may be one-way.

Truman’s new president, Lynn Walker, stated, “We have a sincere desire to learn from your comments and feedback.” Resident questions/concerns were raised and will be addressed in the next community meeting. The next meeting will be set soon. Questions to be answered:

  • What will be done to replace the pedestrian sidewalk from Clifton to Wilson?
  • How will the building facing the Racine and Sunnyside address design and safety?
  • How will the project be integrated into the Wilson Yard Plan?
  • Will this project have a south entrance to the rehabbed Wilson El station?
  • What security measures will be taken? Cameras? 24/7 security guards?

All of these concerns will be included in the next redesign on the building. The funding for this $55 million project comes from:

  • $30 million City Colleges
  • $15 million State of Illinois
  • $10 million Wilson Yard TIF fund

Residents can ask questions or register to be notified by email for the next meeting at Please forward this email to your neighbors.

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