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Over the past four days DNAinfo|Chicago reporters Linze Rice and Benjamin Woodard have written two topical articles on the dumping of “long-standing water” from the Edgewater Medical Center basement into the Chicago sewer system.  The first article, written on November 15th by Ms. Rice and Mr. Woodard, reports on the putrid odors pumping at the 5700 N. Ashland Ave site was producing in the West Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood and homes.  The second article, written two days later on the November 17th by Mr. Woodard, reports on the MWRD’s halting of the dumping.  Apparently, the new owner of the property, Sedgwick Acquisitions, LLC, had not secured the proper permit for the discharge.  Sedgwick Acquisitions, a venture of MCZ Development, plans to raise the parking garage and construct 19, high-end, single-family homes there.  In an earlier DNAinfo|Chicago article Mr. Woodard reported on the sale of the garage property to MCZ Development at the end of this October for $3.6 million, and the pending sale of the remaining EMC property to the company for another $3.9 million.

If you were impacted by the dumping, the MWRD Hazardous Waste Dump Hotline number, which is for reporting “illegal dumping of waste into waterways or sewers or complaints of water pollution“, is (800) 332-3867 or (800) 332-DUMP.  The contact info for the MWRD commissioners is below.

  • Kathleen Therese Meany, President Board of Commissioners, (312) 751-5646, Kathleen.Meany@mwrd.org
  • Barbara J. McGowan, Vice President, (312) 751-5640, Barbara.McGowan@mwrd.org
  • Mariyana T. Spyropoulos, Chairman of Finance, (312) 751-5650, Mariyana.Spyropoulos@mwrd.org
  • Michael A. Alvarez, Commissioner, (312) 751-5665, Michael.Alvarez@mwrd.org
  • Frank Avila, Commissioner, (312) 751-5620, Frank.Avila@mwrd.org
  • Cynthia M. Santos, Commissioner, (312) 751-5685, Cynthia.Santos@mwrd.org
  • Debra Shore, Commissioner, (312) 751-5690, Debra.Shore@mwrd.org
  • Kari K. Steele, Commissioner, (312) 751-5694, Kari.Steele@mwrd.org
  • Patrick D. Thompson, Commissioner, (312) 751-5670, Patrick.Thompson@mwrd.org

According to DNAinfo Chicago reporter Ben Benjamin Woodard the West Edgewater Area Residents’s board (W.E.A.R.) is calling for the demolition of Edgewater Medical Center (EMC) if a buyer cannot be found in 60 days.  In addition, today’s online article reveals that the Edgewater Medical Center Bankruptcy Estate, the legal entity that owns the property at 5700 N. Ashland Ave. which has sat vacant for 13 years, is seeking to have vacated in bankruptcy court  the $14M in property taxes it owes Cook County.  Here is a link to the DNAinfo article.

DNAinfo Chicago reporter Benjamin Woodard has written an interesting article, Edgewater Medical Center Buildings An ‘Immediate Danger,’ Neighbors Say, about City activity at the abandoned Edgewater Medical Center over the weekend.  According to his piece in today’s online publication when city inspectors visited the location–5700 N Ashland Ave.–on Sunday they found the site to be “dangerous” and concluded that the Edgewater Medical Center Bankruptcy Estate has failed “to keep the premise in a “safe condition so it does not constitute actual and imminent danger to public”.  In addition, apparently in response to their findings, Alderman Patrick O’Connor has stated the City is taking steps to bring the Edgewater Medical Center Bankruptcy Estate to building court for the violations.  This recent spate of activity resulted from renewed efforts by the West Edgewater Area Residents neighborhood association to once again call to the attention of the City the hazardous conditions of the site.

6th Feb. 2013 Proposal for Redevelopment of Edgewater Medical Center Site

Dexia’s site plan as presented by Waveland Partners on the 6th of Feb. 2013 for the redevelopment of the former Edgewater Medical Center in Chicago, IL (Andersonville/West Edgewater, 5700 N. Ashland Ave., 60660).

Last Wednesday WBEZ’s The Morning Shift concluded a three-part series examining the need for open/green space in the urban environment and how that need is impacting plans to redevelop the Edgewater Medical Center.

On Monday, Feb. 24th, Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia (@wbezsarabia) spoke with Gapers Block (@gapersblock) politics editor Monica Reida (@monicareida) about her article, The Saga of Edgewater Medical Center (earlier post).  Although the interview probably generates more questions than answers, here is a link to the audio of that 11-minute interview.

Then on Tuesday, Feb. 25th, The Morning Shift hosted Bob Dean, the Deputy Executive Director for Local Planning at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  Even at only 6-1/2 minutes it was an informative discussion. Tony Sarabia began the segment by referencing a recently published empirical study that finds that open/green space in the urban environment improves mental health (link to Smithsonian.com article about the study; link to actual study).  A little after 1-3/4 minutes into the interview the subject of the need for open/green space in the Andersonville/West Edgewater Community and how that need relates to the redevelopment of the Edgewater Medical Center came up.  In response to Tony Sarabia’s question, Bob Dean made two points.  First, “there is need for additional green space” in Andersonville/West Edgewater.  Second, that need for open/green space should be “balanced with the idea of bringing in active development, whether it is commercial or residential”.  The current proposal, which includes 39,867 sq. ft. (0.92 acres) of donated land for a genuine neighborhood park, addresses the Andersonville/West Edgewater need for open/green space and simultaneous brings in “active development” (here are two links to pieces about the current proposal: Dexia Makes New Offer and A Revised Proposal for the Edgewater Medical Center Site).  Here is the link to the audio of that interview.

Finally, on Wednesday, Feb. 26th, Alderman Patrick O’Connor (@40thWard) joined Tony Sarabia to continue the discussion from the previous two days.  With Alderman O’Connor providing specific details about the past, the present, and the future, their discussion was informative.  Answering a question about need for open/green space in the 40th Ward,  Alderman O’Connor spoke about the importance of differentiating between the open/green space need at the macro level in the 40th Ward and the open/green space need at the micro level in the 40th Ward. Prefacing his following statement that the City’s 2011 acquisition of 20+ acres in the Rosehill Cemetery for a park/nature preserve has done a lot to address the open/green space need at the macro level in the 40th Ward, he acknowledged the need for open/green space here, “in this particular part of the neighborhood [Andersonville/West Edgewater] there is not a tremendous amount of green space.”  Here is a link to the audio.

If WBEZ adds to the series, this article will be updated.  On a final note, thank you to WBEZ and The Morning Shift for producing this superb 3-part series–it was an informative pubic discussion about the issues impacting the redevelopment of the Edgewater Medical Center.  Chicago is fortunate to have a public radio station that has the ability to produce quality local reporting.  In addition, a sincere thanks to the series’s participants–Monica Reida, Bob Dean, and Alderman Patrick O’Connor–for making themselves available for the series.

Gapers Block contributor Monica Reida (@monicareida) has written an article, ‘The Saga of Edgewater Medical Center,’ that pulls together a lot of information about the the history of the Edgewater Medical Center and the eventual redevelopment of the site.  Among others Craig Cernek, Friends of West Edgewater Park current president, and Ellen  Shepard, executive director of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, are quoted in the article.

Interesting DNAinfo article by Benjamin Woodard about Dexia’s efforts to redevelop Edgewater Medical Center.  What Has Been Happening with Edgewater Medical Center Redevelopment

Raise a glass. Build a Park. Come to the Summer Fund Raiser for Friends of West Edgewater Park Sunday, June 23. Marty's Martini Bar, 1511 W. Balmoral Ave., 2-5 pm. Help in the greening of our new park on the site of the old Edgewater Medical Center. Marty's Martini Bar will donate profits of all drinks purchased from 2-5 pm, Sunday, June 23rd.

Raise a glass. Build a park.

There is an update about the Summer Fund Raiser at Marty’s Martini Bar this Sunday between 2 and 5 PM.

Vea Cleary’s idea for an adaptive reuse of the EMC site continues to mature. A concept visualization done by Vea and her design team from marqardt+gridwerk (www.mpgwa.com) (www.gridwerkarch.com) was recently presented to Heartland Housing, a Heartland Alliance company (www.heartlandalliance.org).

From the alley west this plan is essentially identical to the current planned development proposal, which removes the buildings and parking garage west of the alley and replaces them with the neighborhood park and 19 single-family homes. From the alley east this plan differs from the current planned development proposal, which removes the existing buildings and replaces them with 12-story mixed-use building. For the existing buildings from the alley east to Ashland, this plan guts and re-purposes them as a community center and a senior LGBTQ-friendly residence.

This concept, or something like it, is being promoted and explored by both the design team at marqardt+gridwerk, a chicago interdisciplinary design and architecture firm, and Pappageorge Haymes (www.pappageorgehaymes.com), the well know architectural firm specializing in adaptive reuse, as well as Heartland Housing, a non-profit corporation experienced in acquisition, funding, and management for projects like these.

Members of the marqardt+gridwork design team plan to be at Marty’s this Sunday to show and discuss the concept visualization.

For more info about Heartland Housing’s LGBTQ-friendly project in Lakeview or adaptive reuse, please follow this link.

Hope to see you there.

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