Kenmore Ave. Closure Could Cost Loyola University $330,001, Officials Say

By Benjamin Woodard on July 19, 2013 9:26am 

Slideshow
 Loyola University presented new renderings of what a closed Kenmore Avenue would look like.
Kenmore Avenue Closure
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EDGEWATER — What does it cost a private university to purchase a public street?

For nonprofit Loyola University, $330,001, said Wayne Magdziarz, the school's vice president for capital planning.

University officials and Ald. Harry Osterman met Thursday at the 13th neighborhood meeting about the proposal to permanently close the 6300 block of North Kenmore Avenue.

Loyola has built three new buildings and has purchased all of the property on the block surrounding the street, except for an apartment building on the southwest corner at Rosemont Avenue.

The owner doesn't want to sell, Magdziarz said.

The university would be permitted to purchase — as a nonprofit entity — most of the street for $1 under a city ordinance, according to Osterman. But the about 100-foot section in front of the apartment building would cost $330,000, according to city estimates.

In addition, the university would spend $3.5 million to build the pedestrian walkway.

As at many of the meetings so far, neighbors expressed mixed reactions about Loyola's plans.

"This is not a college town," said Beth Bergmann, who urged people to resist the plan. "[Loyola is] not the end-all, be-all."

Bergmann said her condo building on Sheridan Road opposes the closure.

But others applauded the university after resident Jim Ness said: "Thank you, Loyola. Somebody needs to tell you that you're doing a great job."

Some neighbors complain that closing the block to traffic will eliminate 52 parking spaces and create excess traffic on Sheridan Road and surrounding side streets and alleyways.

Loyola, which says it will eventually also seek the closure of the 6300 block of North Winthrop Avenue, contends the effect would be mitigated by speed bumps in alleys, signage and well-timed street lights.

The university also announced it would allow residents who live nearby to use its parking structure at 1110 W. Sheridan Rd. weekday nights from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.

No overnight parking would be allowed.

Special neighborhood permits would be issued, but residents would have to request exact dates and times for "exit passes" from the university's Department of Community Relations.

At the end of the meeting, neighbors voted 40 to 28 in favor of the closure.

The Association of Sheridan Condo/Co-op Owners voted last week to support the closure as long as Loyola followed through with its concessions, such as providing parking and adding bike lanes to the walkway.

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