HYDE PARK — A group of South Shore residents is upset after a Bridgeport nonprofit was selected to paint a mural of the neighborhood on the shuttered branch of Urban Partnership Bank.
“The main thing is we want South Shore involved,” said Yvette Moyo of the Planning Coalition.
The group, which advocates redevelopment in South Shore, had hoped to get local artists involved in painting the boarded-up windows of the bank, which closed on March 22.
On Thursday, Urban Partnership Bank announced it had hired the Bridgeport-based Neighborhood Foundation to paint a mural of the neighborhood on the boarded-up bank at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd.
Christopher Toepfer said last week that the nonprofit planned to paint an image of the architectural landmarks of the neighborhood and iconic Metra and bike trails, which bisect South Shore. He said community members were encouraged to come out on Wednesday to help paint.
The Planning Coalition had planned its own rogue mural operation for Saturday, but canceled after the bank announced it had hired the Neighborhood Foundation.
Brian Berg, a spokesman for Urban Partnership Bank, said the bank never approved the Planning Coalition’s plan to paint its building, but invited the group to make a proposal after catching wind of the clandestine mural plans.
“We looked at their proposed design, and we chose to go with the group that specialized in it,” Berg said. “This is [the Neighborhood Foundation’s] specialty, their expertise — doing board-ups that reflect the community.”
He said the bank started its search for artists to paint a mural before boards went up on the windows on April 6 and was already deep in the process when the Planning Coalition made its proposal.
“The process had already started, but we still gave it serious consideration,” Berg said. “We just felt more confident with a nonprofit that had worked in the communities we serve and came highly recommended.”
He said the Neighborhood Foundation presented a plan that more broadly reflected South Shore and could be completed more quickly and cheaply.
On Monday night, the Planning Coalition was appealing to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who is expected to take up the issue at a ward meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave.
The group is hoping Hairston will push for more community input in the design of the mural.
“We want input from the community, nothing imposed on us,” Moyo said. “That’s the way we feel about it, but we feel the alderman is working it out.”