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Roosevelt Square: CHA Releases Request for Proposals, Seeks Public Input

By Chloe Riley | February 26, 2014 9:57am | Updated on February 26, 2014 11:59am
 Roosevelt Square property management at 1222 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Roosevelt Square property management at 1222 W. Roosevelt Rd.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

NEAR WEST SIDE — The Chicago Housing Authority has released a request to urban planners to come up with proposals to revamp Roosevelt Square, a large mixed-income housing development on the city's Near West Side.

The Request for Proposals (RFP), issued Monday, asks for a blueprint for the future of the 84 still-undeveloped acres within Roosevelt Square's borders.

The RFP states that 591 units have already been built, but it does not state how many additional units should be built.

Conceived in 2002 as a replacement for the violence-ridden ABLA Homes, Roosevelt Square originally included a six-phase master plan that called for the creation of 2,441 units of housing, including low-income rental units, affordable housing for working-class residents and market-rate condominiums.

The CHA announced in January that it would be revisiting plans for Roosevelt Square as part of a larger overhaul of its Plan For Transformation, a 12-year-old housing plan that aimed to kick start the city's public housing system.

The deadline for developers to submit proposals is March 21.

"CHA is updating the Roosevelt Square Master Plan to implement sustainable, mixed-income/mixed-use redevelopment that will benefit the entire community," CHA spokesman Matthew Aguilar said in a written statement issued Wednesday morning. "The new approach looks to drive development and create livable communities that will attract jobs, retail, educational opportunities as well as other commercial development and facilities."

Earlier this month, Aguilar said the request for proposals would be issued between April and June. His said Wednesday that original time frame was "an estimation."

Community organizer Dennis O'Neill, who had met with the CHA about the new plan in January,   said the March 21 deadline was nowhere near enough time for a developer to properly gauge the needs of the neighborhood.

O'Neill also said CHA should have sought more input from the area's public universities and schools like University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush University and Smyth Elementary.

O'Neill also criticized the CHA's decision to include an option in the RFP for planners to also include a propsal for revitalizing CHA's Oakwood Shores, a mixed-income Bronzeville property which takes up 94 acres on the south side.

"Those communities are vastly different and there's already more than enough work for a master planner at Roosevelt Square," said O'Neill, , head of Near West Side neighborhood group Connecting4Communities.

The Roosevelt Square development has had consistent issues with crime; in December, both residents and Near West Side Police Cmdr. Melissa Staples expressed concern over a gun-filled rap video shot at an apartment along the 1200 block of West Washburne Street.

The CHA will host a public meeting to address questions regarding the new proposal on March 6 at 11 a.m., 60 E. Van Buren, 12th floor, Conference Room 1200.