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Loyola Seeks to Close Kenmore Ave. for Pedestrian Walkway

By Benjamin Woodard | April 11, 2013 7:05am | Updated on April 11, 2013 10:22am

EDGEWATER — Loyola University confirmed it has plans to permanently close part of Kenmore Avenue as it prepares to open new dormitories this year.

"We bought a lot of property down here" on Kenmore Avenue, Jennifer Clark, Loyola's vice president of community planning, said at an Edgewater block club meeting Monday.

Clark said the university wanted the neighborhood to know it intends to push for a closure of Kenmore Avenue, between West Sheridan Road and Rosemont Avenue, to make way for a pedestrian-centered walkway.

Conceptual drawings show the residential street — which has been closed since the university began constructing a dormitory there — replaced with grass, a permeable walkway and flower beds outside the dorm, which is set to open this summer.

Loyola owns 32 parcels on the block, Clark said.

Dan Luna, 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman's chief of staff, said the City Council's approval is necessary to close the street.

"We’re really exploring how to proceed on this," he said Wednesday. "As much as Loyola wants to announce this is moving forward, we’re still in the very beginning stages."

Luna said the alderman's office would hold public meetings on the proposal.

Tim Later, president of the nearby block club, said Loyola's presentation Monday was informative, but the group hadn't formed a formal opinion about the proposal.

"That was the first time our group had seen it," he said, and the group planned to discuss it more at a May board meeting.

Loyola also plans to develop two now-empty lots on Winthrop Avenue, Clark said.

Abutting the "L" tracks, a lot formerly occupied by the Wincrest Nursing Home and Chicago International Hostel, which were demolished, would become a green space for students and the public, Clark said.

Directly to the east, the university plans to build tennis courts open to the public on an empty lot formerly occupied by an apartment building.