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Alleys Plague 47th Ward Residents, According to Block Audits

By Patty Wetli | February 25, 2013 2:12pm
 Residents of the 47th Ward will have the opportunity to vote on infrastructure projects for 2013.
Residents of the 47th Ward will have the opportunity to vote on infrastructure projects for 2013.
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Jeramey Jannene/Flickr

LINCOLN SQUARE — Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) has $1.3 million in "menu" dollars to spend on infrastructure improvements and if residents have anything to say about it, the lion's share of those funds will be used to repair the neighborhood's alleys.

At last week's Ward Council meeting, Pawar presented a list of preliminary menu projects for 2013, based on nearly 80 block audits as well as complaints to 311 and issues brought to the ward office.

Among the myriad infrastructure elements assessed in block audits — street surface, pedestrian conditions, traffic signage, etc. — alleys were most often identified as being in need of attention.

More than 30 percent of audits labeled alley surface conditions as "terrible," compared with fewer than 6 percent labeling streets as such. Alley drainage was another major concern, rated "terrible" in more than 31 percent of audits.

To narrow the number of menu projects — $1.3 million won't pay for everything on the preliminary list — residents have the opportunity to vote on those actions they consider most urgent.

In his weekly newsletter to constituents, Pawar said he will post an online survey March 5 asking residents to select the projects they'd most want to see completed. A paper version of the survey will also be available at the ward office, 4243 N. Lincoln Ave.

The survey will be open through March 19. Pawar will then present final menu recommendations at a community meeting in April.

The ward office also is still accepting submissions for menu items not included on the preliminary list. Residents should direct those ideas to Jim Poole, community specialist, by March 1.