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.