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'Disgusting' Lot Near Wentworth School Cleaned Up After Alderman Complains

By Wendell Hutson | August 28, 2013 7:09am
 A vacant lot in Englewood once filled with trash was cleaned up by the city after it was flagged by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th).
Englewood Vacant Lot
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ENGLEWOOD — A vacant lot filled with "disgusting" trash near Daniel Wentworth Elementary School was cleaned up after Ald. Roderick Sawyer raised a stink.

Community residents welcomed the city's effort. They said they had been trying to get the city to clean up the lot for months.

"I am happy that the city finally decided to do something about the lot," said Bernice Crawford, who lives next door to the lot.

Sawyer (6th) noticed the vacant lot at 7039 S. Ada St. Friday when he joined Wentworth Principal Dina Everage and school staff on a walk through the neighborhood to introduce themselves to residents.

"When I saw how bad that lot looked, I called Streets and San right away," Sawyer said Tuesday. "What I saw in that lot was disgusting, and it made me sick." 

He added: "I'm glad the city got the lot cleaned before school started."

Before the lot was cleaned by the city's Streets and Sanitation Department, it contained broken bottles, beer cans, discarded furniture and bags of trash.

"All that trash made the lot a health hazard. It should never have gotten that bad," said Everage. "Now let's hope it is maintained regularly."

Crawford agreef. She said she had been calling the city for months and wondered why it took an alderman to get anything done.

"It should not have taken an elected official to call and report it before the city did anything," said Crawford, 73.

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the Mayor's Office, said he could not immediately confirm when the lot was cleaned or if the city received previous calls from residents.

After Chicago Public Schools closed John Altgeld Elementary, 1340 W. 71st St., and dozens of other underutilized schools in June, Wentworth moved from 6950 S. Sangamon St. into the Altgeld building, which was renamed Wentworth.

According to Crawford, the trash accumulated over months. She sais it was pitched by people who don't live on the block.

"I see cars parked in front of the lot every day. People sit in their cars eating and drinking and then throwing their trash in the lot," said Crawford, who has lived on the block since 2010.

Ronald Johnson, 56, who has lived on the block since he was born, said he is glad to finally see changes.

"I have never seen so many police hanging around here, let alone the city cleaning any of these vacant lots," Johnson said. "The kids need to feel safe when they are going to school, and walking past a dirty lot is creepy."