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A Street Car on Clark? Task Force Seeks Feedback on Revitalization Ideas

By Serena Dai | April 22, 2013 1:18pm
 A task force hopes to improve a stretch of Clark Street from Diversey Avenue to Barry Avenue.
A task force hopes to improve a stretch of Clark Street from Diversey Avenue to Barry Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LAKEVIEW — Vintage street cars on Clark Street? A pedestrian walkway near Surf Street?

A task force hoping to revitalize the strip of Clark from Diversey Parkway to Barry Avenue wants community feedback on such ideas next Wednesday.

Clark Street has been losing businesses and lacks the same flavor of the rest of Lakeview’s business corridors — and the Clark Street Task Force, run by the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, wants to change that. 

The task force is holding its first open house on from 6-8 p.m. May 1 on the second floor of the Century Shopping Centre, 2828 N. Clark St., for community members to give feedback on potential ways to spruce up the street.

Attendees will be able to post stickers on maps and displays to indicate which ideas they like and which they don't, said David Collins, the chamber's community development manager. Already, the group and consultant company The Lakota Group have interviewed property owners, residents, shoppers and business owners to come up with concepts to present at the open house.

Potential fixes include short-term ideas like adding more greenery or creating a pedestrian walkway between Broadway and Clark near Surf to long-term ideas like putting in street cars.

"It’s a very fast street," Collins said. "We talked about ways to slow that down a little bit so that people really see what’s on Clark."

The task force is made up of local business owners, property owners, an aldermanic representative, retail specialists and a representative from the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development

Next week's open house will feature a brief presentation before attendees offer feedback on the ideas. The hope is that the task force will be able to present a comprehensive strategy to the city and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th)'s office that has the support of the community, Collins said.

Eventually, the chamber-run Special Service Area 8 tax district will fund some of the short-term fixes like more greenery. But large-scale efforts like street cars, which would be part of a larger Chicago Department of Transportation project, would require city financial support and coordination.

"We want to hear what stakeholders feel," Collins said.