CITY HALL — The underpass connecting the 500 block of East Ohio Street to the lakefront will be locked from midnight to 5 a.m. starting Wednesday through October after a fatal shooting June 18 near Ohio Street Beach.
The underpass will be locked without the approval of the City Council after 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly said Wednesday he reached an agreement directly with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, removing the need for a vote.
"This is the right course of action," Reilly said. "This will help the police stretch their resources."
Because officers assigned to patrol Downtown and the lakefront overnight are "spread quite thin," the closed gate — which already is in place and was locked in years past, Reilly said — will help officers patrol from Oak Street Beach to Navy Pier.
The move to avoid a Council vote came after 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale called the proposal an overreaction and an overreach by Chicago officials, who he said were spurred to act "because someone got murdered Downtown, and officials need to be seen as 'oh, we are doing something.'"
Reilly said Beale's comments are "dead wrong."
After a contentious meeting of the Finance Committee Monday, Emanuel's spokesman called Reilly's actions "more about style than substance."
But on Wednesday, Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said the mayor's office "always partner[s] with aldermen and community leaders when serious public safety concerns are raised."
Reilly said he has not received a response from Chicago Police Department leadership to his request that patrols be added near where Raven Lemons, 25, was shot around 2:40 a.m. on Father's Day.