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Loyola University's Bid to Close Kenmore Avenue Gets Alderman's Support

 Loyola University presented new renderings of what a closed Kenmore Avenue would look like.
Kenmore Avenue Closure
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EDGEWATER — Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) introduced an ordinance to the City Council Wednesday that would pave the way for Loyola University to purchase the 6300 block of North Kenmore Avenue and transform it into a pedestrian walkway.

The council would likely vote on the ordinance during its September meeting, according to Osterman's 48th Ward Office.

Loyola has built three new buildings and has purchased all of the property on the block surrounding the street, except for an apartment building on the southwest corner of the intersection of Rosemont Avenue and Kenmore.

The university would be permitted to purchase — as a nonprofit entity — most of the street for $1, according to Osterman. But the approximately 100-foot section in front of the apartment building would cost $330,000, according to city estimates.

In addition, the university would spend $3.5 million to build the pedestrian walkway, which will also include green space, planters, trees and bike lanes.

The university's bid to close the street included 13 community meetings. The latest was with Osterman and dozens of residents last week.

They voted 40 to 28 in favor of the closure.

"Loyola University has agreed to address a number of concerns raised by neighborhood residents throughout this process," Osterman said in a letter sent to neighborhood groups Wednesday morning.

Some neighbors complain that closing the block to traffic will eliminate 52 parking spaces and create excess traffic on Sheridan Road and surrounding side streets and alleyways.

Loyola, which says it will eventually also seek the closure of the 6300 block of North Winthrop Avenue, contends the effect would be mitigated by speed bumps in alleys, signage and well-timed street lights.

The university also announced it would allow residents who live nearby to use its parking structure at 1110 W. Sheridan Rd. weekday nights from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.

No overnight parking would be allowed.

Special neighborhood permits would be issued, but residents would have to request exact dates and times for "exit passes" from the university's Department of Community Relations.

The Association of Sheridan Condo/Co-op Owners voted to support the closure as long as Loyola followed through with its concessions, such as providing parking and adding bike lanes to the walkway.

"Loyola is pleased that the alderman supports this important campus and community improvement," said Jennifer Clarke, a Loyola spokeswoman.