Creating redevelopment guidelines for Jefferson Park, Gladstone Park business areas
by BRIAN NADIG
Efforts to establish redevelopment guidelines for the Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park business districts are moving forward.
Alderman John Arena (45th) recently announced that a proposed comprehensive economic development plan for Jefferson Park has been accepted as part of the Regional Transportation Authority’s Community Planning Program of Projects. The RTA will fund 80 percent of the creation of a master plan for Jefferson Park, while the remaining cost will be paid with funds from the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District.
Jefferson Park qualified for the RTA’s program because the commercial district includes the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., which is scheduled to undergo a $25 million renovation in the next couple of years.
The project calls for the hiring of a consultant firm which will work with Arena’s office, the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce and neighborhood groups in gathering input for a revitalization plan which will be made available to the public and be given to prospective developers for the business district. A similar plan was put together several years ago for the Six Corners commercial area.
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the ultimate goal of the master plan is to help attract more stores and restaurants to Jefferson Park. “We’re intent to make that happen, and one of the first steps is this mater plan,” he said.
In Gladstone Park, funds are not available for a formal plan that includes the hiring of an urban planning firm. However, the city Department of Planning and Development is working with elected officials, the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce and the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association to create a land-use study of the Milwaukee Avenue commercial corridor between Foster Avenue on the south and Devon Avenue on the north.
The department will make a presentation on the area’s existing zoning at a community workshop that the chamber and association will hold at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Associated Bank, 5200 N. Central Ave. The workshop also is being sponsored by Arena, Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th), State Representative Robert Martwick (D-19) and State Senator John Mulroe (D-10).
At the neighborhood association’s Nov. 3 meeting, Laurino said that the workshop is designed so that residents can express concerns about the commercial corridor and to make recommendations for improvements. Laurino’s comments were in response to concerns that some landlords do not appear interested in leasing their vacant storefronts because they do not post a “for rent” sign on the property.
“We want to see businesses thrive on that stretch (of Milwaukee),” Laurino said. At the workshop, attendees will be broken up into smaller groups and asked to list the pros and cons of the different sections of Milwaukee.
The meeting also will include updates on existing development projects on Milwaukee. It was reported at the association’s meeting that additional land is being sought for a possible car dealership in the 5300 block of Milwaukee Avenue, where six buildings recently have been demolished. Gateway Chevrolet was once located on the block, but its former showroom was among the buildings that have been torn down, and the site is being used for vehicle storage.