The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

49th Ward Residents to Choose Which Infrastructure Projects to Fund

By Benjamin Woodard | April 8, 2013 7:25am | Updated on April 8, 2013 9:16am

ROGERS PARK — A new turf field and playground for Kilmer Elementary School and a Clark Street bike lane are just two of the projects that could be funded through the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting ballot in May.

Neighbors gathered at the Pottawatomie Park field house last week to hear about which projects a group of volunteers decided to put before voters after months of planning.

On May 4, ward residents will hit the ballot box to decide which of the projects will get a piece of $1 million in ward discretionary funds.

Projects must be related to ward infrastructure.

Last year, 1,657 people ages 16 and older voted. Projects that were awarded funding included a new playground at Touhy Park, 7348 N. Paulina St., for $125,000; more than 100 trees to be planted around the ward for $75,000; and 20 murals to be painted on Metra and Chicago Transit Authority underpasses for $120,000.

The 49th Ward, under Ald. Joe Moore’s direction, was the first political jurisdiction in the United States to implement participatory budgeting, but the practice has since expanded to three other wards this year and to other cities.

Five committees surveyed the community to come up with the following proposed projects that could make it to the May ballot:

Arts and Innovation

1. Willye B. White Park Mosaic Installation: Local youths and an experienced artist would install a mosaic on the abutments on the front of the park's field house. Estimated cost: $60,000.

2. Kilmer Elementary School Turf Field: A turf field and playground equipment would replace an empty concrete area. This project would be contingent on Chicago Public Schools paying for half the cost. Estimated cost: $300,000.

3. Glenwood Avenue Cobblestone Restoration: Historic cobblestone would be restored on Glenwood Avenue between Lunt and Farwell avenues. Estimated cost: $200,000.

Bike, Walk and Transit

1. Clark Street Bike Lane: A bike lane would be installed on Clark Street between Howard and Albion avenues. Estimated cost: $75,000.

2. Sidewalk Repairs: Sidewalks would be repaired on Glenwood Avenue near Trilogy Healthcare; Ravenswood and Wallen avenues near the Wallen House; and Rogers Avenue near Pottawatomie Park. Estimated cost: $85,000.

3. Bus Stop Benches: Fifteen benches would be installed throughout the ward, mostly on Clark and Howard streets. Estimated cost: $36,750.

4. Metra Station Shelter: A 150-foot-long shelter with a full bench and three glass walls would be erected on the southbound platform. Estimated cost: $125,000.

Parks and Environment

1. New Water Feature: A misting water feature would be installed at Pottawatomie Park. Estimated cost: $75,000.

2. New Bobble Rider: A bobble-rider toy would be built at Lazarus Play Lot on Columbia Avenue. Estimated cost: $10,000.

3. Turf Field at Mary Margaret Park: A 25-by-50-foot turf field would be installed at Mary Margaret Langdon Park. Estimated cost: $80,000-$100,000.

4. Cherry Blossom Trees: Six trees and a new water fountain would be installed at Touhy Park. Estimated cost: $29,800.


In 2013, residents will vote on a total percentage of the ward discretionary funds to be used for street resurfacing. In 2012, residents voted for 53 percent, or $530,000, of the money to be used on streets, resurfacing 11 of the worst. This year, the Streets Committee determined the following streets were in most need of repair:

1. 7300 block of Bell Street: Chase to Jarvis avenues

2. 1200 block of Birchwood Avenue: Lake Michigan to East Lake Terrace

3. 1734 block of Columbia Avenue: Hermitage to Ravenswood avenues

4. 7500 block of East Lake Terrace: Birchwood Avenue to Howard Street

5. 1400 block of Estes Avenue: Glenwood to Greenview avenues

6. 1800 block of Estes Avenue: Ravenswood to Wolcott avenues

7. 1600 block of Greenleaf Avenue: Ashland to Paulina avenues

8. 6500 block of Greenview Avenue: Arthur Avenue to Albion Street

9. 1400 block of Jonquil Terrace: Sheridan Road to Greenview Avenue

10. 7700 block of Marshfield Avenue: Jonquil Terrace to Juneway Terrace

11. 1800 block of Morse Avenue: Ravenswood to Wolcott avenues

12. 6600 block of Newgard Avenue: Albion Street to North Shore Avenue

13. 7100 block of Paulina Avenue: Estes to Touhy avenues

14. 6900 block of Ravenswood Avenue: West side, Farwell to Morse avenues

15. 6950 block of Ravenswood Avenue: West side, Morse to Lunt avenues

16. 7400 block of Seeley Avenue: Jarvis to Fargo avenues

Traffic and Public Safety

Sheridan Engineering Study: A commission would study the feasibility of Sheridan Road pedestrian safety projects, such as the timing of traffic lights and curb bump-outs. Estimated Cost: $30,000.

This year, for every three streets resurfaced, one block of street lights will be updated. The committee determined the following streets to be in the most need of additional lighting:

1. Juneway Terrace: Ashland Avenue to Sheridan Road

2. Greenleaf Avenue: Ashland to Greenview avenues

3. Chase Avenue: Ashland to Greenview avenues

4. Glenwood Avenue: Albion to North Shore avenues

Vote for your favorite projects from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 at the Chicago Math and Science Academy, 7212 N. Clark St.