North Park Village Advisory Council asks residents to take online survey as part of new community engagement and planning process for 155-acre NPV
by BRIAN NADIG
The North Park Village Advisory Council has launched a three-year planning initiative that asks residents to take an online survey, whose results could shape the future of the 155-acre site at 5801 N. Pulaski Road that includes senior housing and a nature center.
“We want as much responses as possible … whether a North Park Village user or non-user … or a resident of the city or suburbs,” NPV co-chair Jac Charlier said.
Called “Remembering Our Past, Living in the Present and Building for the Future,” the initiative is outlined at www.northrivercommission.org/npvbuildingforthefuture
The Web site also includes extensive information on the history of NPV, which from 1915 to 1974 was home to the Chicago Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium. A proposal in the 1970s to convert the site to a shopping and high-rise apartment complex sparked a storm of controversy and eventually led to efforts to preserve the open space on the parcel.
The advisory council’s planning initiative marks the first effort to gather widespread input on the site in probably 30 or more years, Charlier said.
The goal is to gather input that would be used as part of a new community engagement and planning process that proposed changes for the village would have to go through, Charlier said. Changes could be more permanent in nature such as a new use for a vacant building or temporary such as a 5K fundraiser or other outdoor activities that fit with the community’s vision for the property, he said.
A recent plan to convert a former heath center at the village into a pre-school has been pulled by the Chicago Public Schools, but at time news of the proposal broke, the advisory council maintained that the plan would have to go through a new planning and engagement process that will be created as part of this initiative.
Any new construction that would change the footprint of NPV may be prohibited under the site’s planned development ordinance, which governs the property’s zoning, or under a conservation easement, which recently was placed in perpetuity and protects the village’s open space.
The North Park Village Advisory Council consists of local organizations, including nearby civic groups and on-site resident organizations, and the North River Commission works closely with the council to help ensure that local residents have input on the development and maintenance of the village, whose land is owned by the city of Chicago.
The advisory council’s purview deals mainly with the large open space areas of the village and possible new uses for the buildings, which include structures built as part of the sanitarium. The city has contracted with management companies that oversee the on-site senior housing.
The planning process will look at vehicle transportation, walking and biking; open space, gardens and sustainability; historic preservation; adaptive re-uses of vacant and underutilized facilities; and updated vision plans for Peterson Park and the nature center, both of which are part of NPV.“This is more than just a park,” Charlier said of NPV. “It’s nature, housing, a gymnastics center, a recycling center.”