2024 was a busy year in the 40th Ward! Here’s what we accomplished together this year.
We solved 7,455 service requests this year! From working with CDOT to improve pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods, to resolving construction complaints, to helping small businesses navigate the permit process, we are committed to responding to every single request we receive, and doing our best to help you find solutions.
This year, we were also able to pass an amendment budget to bring on one additional ward office staff member, so we can solve your problems faster.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: this is YOUR government. That means that our highest goal is always going to be making sure that your government is meeting YOUR needs.
2023 was a big year for infrastructure investments in the 40th Ward! Here’s are some of the biggest improvements coming to a neighborhood near you:
We secured $16.4 million to develop the Lincoln Ave North Streetscape, the newest addition to the Lincoln Ave North Arts (LANA) District! With support from the Department of Planning and Development and the Chicago Department of Transportation, Lincoln Avenue will be getting a glow-up from from Western to Catalpa, including:
- Streetscaping with sidewalk and crosswalk improvements
- Corridor beautification and greening
- More public community spaces
- The creation of the Lincoln Avenue North Arts District (LANA), which will transform the use of storefronts to create galleries, pop-ups, and live/work spaces for artists to call home
The majority of the Lawrence Ave Streetscape Section II was also completed this year, including new sidewalks and light poles, a newly repaved roadway, and pedestrian islands at key intersections, among other improvements. With upgraded infrastructure, safety improvements, and economic development, we’re looking forward to a more livable and lively Lawrence Ave in 2024.
We helped secure $1.5M in funding for Winnemac Park improvements! Construction will begin early next year, and the improvements will include a fully renovated baseball diamond, refurbished tennis courts, a new pickleball space, as well as upgraded lighting and pathways.
We also broke ground on Park 599 this year! Chicago’s newest park is set to open in early 2024.
This year, we welcomed a new cultural cornerstone to the LANA District: The American Blues Theater, which opened its new, permanent space in November of this year at 5627 N Lincoln Ave.
We approved two upcoming developments this past year: 5035 N. Lincoln, a 5 story, 47-unit building with 9 affordable units and commercial and live-work space on the ground floor and Lawrence Gateway (2019 W. Lawrence Ave), a 5 story mixed-use development with 10K square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 40 residential units, including 8 affordable units.
This year, the long-awaited Clark Street protected bike lane was completed, as well as the Rockwell and Leavitt Neighborhood Greenways. We also made progress on the Peterson/Ridge Metra Station, which should see completion in early 2024.
We also funded a number of neighborhood infrastructure improvements this year, through combined Menu and Cook County and funds:
- $447K in Alley Repairs
- $403K in Street Repairs
- $346K in Sidewalk and Curb and Gutter Repairs
- $370K in Pedestrian Safety Improvements
- $331K in Street Light Upgrades
Policy + Legislation
The Committee for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
This year, Ald. Vasquez took over as Chair of the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee. One of his first acts as chair was to establish R2023-0001022, a resolution calling for monthly hearings on the City’s response to the new arrivals. The Committee’s meetings this year brought together the Mayor’s office and key stakeholders to address the City’s response to new arrivals, and also convened the National Immigrant Justice Center, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, United African Organization, Coalition of Haitian American Organizations in the Chicago Area to discuss the Black diaspora migration, Chicago’s history as a sanctuary city, and the Welcoming City Ordinance.
The Committee provided crucial operational analysis on the response to new arrivals at a city, state, and federal level: providing insight and analysis on procurement, housing, communications, crisis response, and language access. They also advocated for more transparency on new arrivals, including the creation of a website (welcometochicago.org) to make information more accessible to the general public.
In addition to the Committee resolution, this year also saw the advocacy for and advancement of several major policy items:
- Bring Chicago Home Referendum Question
- Treatment Not Trauma mental health clinic expansion
- ADU Citywide Expansion
- CTA Quarterly Reporting
As part of the FY2024 City of Chicago Budget Process, we also advocated for and secured:
- Reorganization of Department of Assets and Information into Department of Technology and Innovation and Department of Fleet and Facilities Management to increase efficiency
- Department of Environment, City Key funding
- Additional funds for ward personnel + committee
- Additional city clerk positions
The best part of our jobs is getting to engage with the community, and we did a lot of that this year! In addition to our Weekly Ward Night, and Quarterly Town Halls (save the date for this year’s first town hall, coming up on February 28th at the American Blues Theater!), and block club visits, we also held the following events:
- Two Shred Events
- Flu and COVID vaccine event
- Reimagining Public Safety panel, featuring State Senator Mike Simmons, 48th Ward Alderwoman Leni Manna-Hoppenworth, 20th District Commander James Baier, and 20th District City Councillors Deirdre O’Connor, Anna Rubin, and Darrell Dacres.
Our Neighbor Network continued it’s amazing work this year supporting the 40th Ward. Here are just some of the efforts our volunteers undertook this past year:
- Front Desk Crew: ever wondered who those friendly voices are on the other side of the phone? In addition to our staff, 40th Ward neighbors volunteer to answer neighbor questions Monday through Friday.
- Shovel Squad: our crew of volunteers are partnering with over 50 neighbors in need to shovel their walks
- Safe Streets Board: we have a passionate group of volunteers who meet monthly and regularly survey the ward to see how we can make our streets safer
- Environmental Board: our environmental board works on sustainability efforts in the 40th Ward, including the 40th Ward compost pilot!
One of the things we are proudest of when it comes to community engagement is our partnership with 20th District Mutual Aid. We are incredibly grateful to have been able to support the mutual aid effort, including operationalizing the volunteer process, securing food donations, making meals, holding donation drives, and staffing volunteer shifts. The Committee was also able to establish rapid response communication and resource sharing across all police district mutual aid groups.
In addition to working with mutual aid groups to provide for immediate needs, we also held a series of workshops for new arrivals, including a legal clinic for Temporary Protected Status applicants alongside Ald. Bill Conway and Instituto Progreso Latino, and two Know Your Rights workshops alongside the Indo-American Center.