The cost of West Edgewater Park will be determined by two main components: Features of the park and the cost for acquisition of the remediated site. Friends of West Edgewater Park is actively working to define both of these components.
On Monday, June 27th from 4 to 8pm, Friends of West Edgewater Park is hosting a community-wide open house to get ideas from the community about what the features of the park should be. This meeting will be held at St. Gregory’s Social Hall (1609 W. Gregory).
A charrette will be held on Saturday July 9th, where a group of 15 neighborhood representatives working with architects from Skidmore Owings & Merrill will transform the community input into design proposals for the new park. These designs will be presented back to the community at a meeting that afternoon from 2pm to 4pm.
Friends of West Edgewater Park is inviting everyone to come out this Monday to share their ideas and to come back on July 9th to see what the park will be.
As for determining the price of the site, following Alderman O’Connor’s suggestion, Friends of West Edgewater Park will be sitting down with Waveland Partners to begin negotiations about what the value of the property is and how much it will cost to remediate the land. The numbers for the value of the site, depending on whom you ask, range from $5 million – $25 million. The higher end of that range would depend on a zoning change, which would drastically alter the density of the site and would leave our neighborhood prone to over-development.
Alderman O’Connor has promised to schedule a community-wide meeting to present the proposed plans for the future of the Edgewater Hospital property once these negotiations have been completed.
Friends of West Edgewater Park, armed with a design proposal and a sale price for the site, will be able to secure funding for the park from private, corporate and governmental funding sources to make the park a reality.
While Friends of West Edgewater Park is quick to be asked, “Where’s the money,” few are asking that same question of Waveland Partners. Their goal is only to market the property and maximize the potential value. They freely admit they will not be developing the 297-unit rental housing that they are proposing. Who will be developing the site? In this economy, is it realistic to believe that anyone would invest in a project of that scale? If Waveland succeeds at getting their zoning request, does that mean the site and its buildings will remain as they are, deteriorating and attracting crime for another decade while an actual developer is identified?
Developing West Edgewater Park, financed by a combination of private, corporate and governmental dollars, may actually be the quickest way to finally have something done with that eyesore, which has been there for too long already. And, a park will benefit generations to come, attract and retain families to the neighborhood, help solve the open space deficit that has always plagued Edgewater, reduce crime, and boost the economy in the near term and the long term.