OLD TOWN — Lincoln Park's alderman shifted Tuesday night's local meeting on the North Branch Industrial Corridor to a larger venue in order to accommodate what she expects to be a big crowd demanding a major new park.
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) announced late Monday that the meeting had been shifted from Adams Playground Park, 1919 N. Seminary Ave., to the old Old Town School of Folk Music building at 909 W. Armitage Ave.
Smith posted the change in venues on Facebook and said she called for the shift "to accommodate the expected turnout and lack of air-conditioning" at the small Adams field house.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Press Office, however, clarified Tuesday that the Adams meeting would go on as scheduled in addition to the meeting at the Old Town School.
For months, Smith has called for changes in the North Branch Industrial Corridor to address the need for a major new park, especially with the framework plan already adopted by the Plan Commission proposing new residential zoning just north and south of Goose Island, projected to bring thousands of new residents to the area.
The demands for a new park by Smith and several neighborhood groups were all but ignored in the final framework, although Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) boasted of getting the concession to set aside "at least" 10 acres for public open space.
Emanuel proposed codifying those changes last month with new zoning for the corridor, a 760-acre tract running along a 3.7-mile stretch of the Chicago River between Fullerton Avenue and Kinzie Avenue. It was fast-tracked for passage this month by the City Council, with the Plan Commission having the matter on its agenda July 20, followed the next week by a joint meeting of the Finance and Zoning committees July 24, ahead of this month's Council meeting on the 26th.
The Department of Planning and Development also hurriedly scheduled five public meetings on the matter simultaneously at 5 p.m. Tuesday to gather public comment. In addition to the 43rd Ward meetings set for the Old Town School on Armitage and the Adams field house, meetings are set for:
• The Fleet Management lot at 1685 N. Throop St. in the 2nd Ward.
• St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St.
• Holstein Park Field House, 2200 N. Oakley Ave.
• Room 1003A in City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
Smith urged her constituents, on both Facebook and an in email, to "please attend this meeting to continue our fight for needed park space in the community."