Alderman Mitchell brings City Departments and Mayor to address constituents’ concerns

Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a Town Hall Meeting hosted by 7th Ward Alderman Greg Mitchell. Photo by Tia Carol Jones.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a Town Hall Meeting hosted by 7th Ward Alderman Greg Mitchell. Photo by Tia Carol Jones.

 Alderman Mitchell brings City Departments and Mayor to address constituents’ concerns

By Tia Carol Jones
Seventh Ward Alderman Greg Mitchell hosted a town hall meeting where he brought residents’ concerns to various City departments, including the Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Streets and Sanitation, Bureau of Forestry, Department of Water Management, Department of Housing, Department of Planning and Development, as well as the Chicago Police Department.


The Chicago Department of Transportation highlighted arterial street resurfacing, residential street resurfacing, concrete work, lighting projects and Peoples Gas system modernization work in Jeffrey Manor, and CDOT has been replacing curb, gutter and driveway slips. The Streets and Sanitation, Bureau of Forestry, revealed that grid trimming will return. It means that residents in the 7th Ward will not have to call 311 for tree trimming. The goal is to ensure all trees that need trimming will be done.


 The Bureau of Forestry will start a survey in July where it will look for Ash trees to remove, with the goal to remove diseased, dead and storm damaged trees.

Mitchell brought up concerns about maintenance of abandoned properties and vacant lots. City lots can be maintained by Streets and Sanitation, but private lots can only be maintained by the City if a citation is issued, and the grass is 10 inches or more. Then, private lots can be cut by the Streets and Sanitation cutters. Mitchell and staff in the office have been cutting grass in the vacant lots. The goal is to help the city by servicing the ward.


Representatives from the Department of Housing, Department of Buildings and Department of Planning and Development addressed concerns about vacant and abandoned single family homes. Those representatives acknowledge that those properties are an eyesore in the community. They are looking to do some holistic development in the community, catalyzed by INVEST South/West.


South Shore is a priority corridor for INVEST South/West. The area encompasses 79th Street, with Stony Island to the west and the Metra tracks to the east. The plan is for a 39-unit residential, mixed-use development, a medical center and condos on the Southwest corner of 79th and Exchange.


Residents also wanted a plan to address and increase homeownership. In January of this year, the City of Chicago passed the Encumbrance Ordinance that would relieve city debt on abandoned and vacant properties in moderate- and low-income communities as a way to encourage more rehabilitation of single-family homes and increase homeownership in those communities.


“We’re really proud of that Encumbrance Order, we worked on that for a really long time. We are able to identify a property and start the process of acquiring property and get it in the hands of a person, understanding they will return it to homeownership, and we can wipe away the debt. That gives a person a low entry point to get that developed,” Mitchell said.


Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Alderman Mitchell and representatives from the City departments. Lightfoot acknowledged that she has been communicating with Mitchell about quality-of-life issues in the Ward. She said she was at the meeting to listen and to ensure that the city was responsive to the residents.


“This is a man who is absolutely dedicated to you and making sure that your needs as a community are met,” Lightfoot said about Mitchell. “You’re not going to find anybody that is more dedicated to this community than Alderman Greg Mitchell.”

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