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Can Andersonville Businesses Save Trumbull From Closure?

By Adeshina Emmanuel | March 25, 2013 10:19am
 Lynman Trumbull Elementary School, 5200 N. Ashland Ave.
Lynman Trumbull Elementary School, 5200 N. Ashland Ave.
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Trumbull School

ANDERSONVILLE — Local School Council members at Lyman Trumbull Elementary School said they plan to tap the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the Andersonville Development Corporation to rally support to save Trumbull.

Chicago Public Schools officials have proposed closing 54 schools by next school year, including Trumbull, 5200 N. Ashland Ave. The 97,470-square-foot, four-floor building was constructed in 1909, according to CPS, which said it would cost more than $16 million to renovate it.

Trumbull's LSC is reaching out to Andersonville's thriving business community to "make sure they are aware of it and how this is really going to affect them," said LSC member Ali Burke.

"It’s a lot broader than what people think,” said Burke, who has children enrolled at the school.

Burke said she and other LSC members are meeting this week with officials from the Chamber and the Development Corporation.

With the decrepit Edgewater Hospital campus nearby at 5700 N. Ashland Ave. still sitting vacant (although there have been proposals to reuse the building) Burke is worried about adding another empty building to the corridor.

The exact date of the meeting has not been set, Burke said, and officials with the organizations were not immediately reachable for comment.

But even before CPS proposed closing Trumbull, Development Corporation managing director Colleen O'Toole had already pledged her organization's "full support" to keeping Trumbull open.

In a February letter to CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, O'Toole expressed concerns over how the financial ramifications of Trumbull being shuttered.

"Representing the interests of our commercial district, the schools add vitality and foot traffic to our Foster/Ashland corridor while increasing interest in our community. Parents and teachers have long supported our locally-owned, independent businesses," O'Toole wrote.

"Additionally, the school building is a unique and treasured historic building that sits along the Nationally Registered Andersonville Commercial Historic District."

Residents in neighborhoods across the city are also grappling with the question of what happens to buildings closed by CPS.

CPS efforts to sell many of the properties in the coming round of school closings could lead to demolitions or re-purposing of buildings, officials said.

School district officials said CPS is still trying to sell buildings vacated after school closings last year.

DNAinfo Chicago reporter Lizzie Schiffman contributed to this report.