Emerald residents back Newman dorm

09/19/2012 10:00 PM

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

A rendering of the proposed Newman Center dorm and student center at 1352 S. Union St.

Our family of six lives on Emerald, 200 feet from the proposed Newman Center, and we support it.

1 – We live in a successful university community. Similar to other communities where families, students and businesses peacefully coexist, University Village succeeds most when we work together, think beyond personal inconveniences, and support positive growth of a diverse community. The university AND residential areas have expanded west and south in recent years.

Further, a study examined this potential development and concluded residential home values in and around three other universities in Chicago did not decline as much as other like properties during the recent market downturn.

2 – Issues of concern by immediate residents have been addressed. With over 2,000 signatures in support of this development, we believe the majority of UV is in favor of the Newman Center at this location. Issues have been diligently addressed: Parking is resolved. Shading is a physical impossibility. No one owns a city view. “Density” is relative, somewhat arbitrary, and applicable to ANY realistic developer.

We CHOSE to live in one of the nation’s most populous cities and “University” Village. Currently, we live within blocks of three UIC dorms with 1,500 students. This adds incrementally (250 students). Nonetheless, “density” was significantly addressed when the development went from 17 to five stories with a partial sixth.

3 – The Newman Center has a strong history in the neighborhood. As lifelong Catholics, the Newman Center provides much to young people — including 15,000 of UIC’s 25,000+ who identify themselves as Catholics. Newman has come to this discussion with a collaborative spirit, earnestly attempting to work with neighbors.

4 – Perspective is important. Homes on Emerald are feet from one of the nation’s busiest freeways. Behind our garage is a major UPS facility. Down the block are 24-hour hot dog stands. Homelessness is the largest issues for some neighbors, not likely helped by an abandoned building on the site.

A beautiful, multi-million dollar development, bringing security and stability, blending with the neighborhood’s look and reflective of the population, with strong financial backing and a network of support, housing mature residents, seems like an ideal neighbor. A developer who will continue to work with us during construction and beyond is a bonus.

The undesirability of this piece of land and the area’s high small business failure means, if not the Newman Center, the likely next developer will erect a structure MUCH larger, MUCH higher and requiring MANY more residents/renters/traffic to be financially viable and sustained. Many point to a high-rise condo or UIC dorm.

It’s unrealistic to expect a “perfect” neighbor who can develop and exist without common inconveniences and a getting-to-know-you period. Attempting to “kick the can” is unfair to a genuine potential developer - and tireless community partner.

A Newman Center development at this proposed site has potential to strengthen the immediate and broader area, answer a large community need, and continue a history of businesses, families and students successfully working together.

Chris & Sam Kelly
1417 S. Emerald

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By Emerald Ave Resident from University Village
Posted: 09/25/2012 0:42 AM

I live near the proposed location and I am opposed to the dorm. Contrary to your statement my issues have NOT been addressed. Also, the Newman Center had said 12 months ago that they would address the homeless issue as an act of good faith. No action whatsoever was taken by them. Fortunately, the homeless issue has been resolved recently despite their lack of action. In short, I would be happy if the dorm was in the neighborhood but not directly across the street from residential homes.

By UV Neighbor from UV Emerald
Posted: 09/22/2012 9:46 PM

We have a great block with great neighbors. We have had a number of causes on this block and it is great that you chose one to take an active part in. However, why cut relationships with your neighbors? It is ok to have a difference in opinion and move forward as good neighbors no matter what the end result is on this particular topic or any other topic we will endure in the future.

By Thom from UV Halsted
Posted: 09/22/2012 9:15 PM

We live near right next door to a bunch of students and it is an absolute nightmare. I can relate to the concerns of those who are opposed on know some of them. Also, none of the opposition is against the Catholic faith so not sure why that is even in the outline of key points. Nobody cares about the affiliation that comes with this dorm except the fact that its a DORM, period - except for you. Would you be this passionate in your support if it were affiliated with a Jewish organization?