What to do about the Polish Triangle?

Date: 
08/19/2011
AugMtg2011

Mieko Joy Yoshida, NNMS; Scott Rappe, EVA; Ed and Mary Tamminga, WPC; Kapra Fleming, PPNA; and Jesse Buendia, Holy Trinity High

Kapra Fleming, President of the Pulaski Park Neighborhood Assn. (PPNA), took the lead to bring different groups and organizations together to discuss actions that can improve the environment of the Polish Triangle and the quality of life for all who do or would like to utilize that historic parcel of land.

"I wanted to get people together at the level of the neighborhood organizations to talk about what we should be doing so that we begin dialogue with people who have a vested interest in improvement," Fleming explained.

Three community organizations and two local institutions were represented. In addition to Pulaski Park, East Village Assn. (EVA) and the Wicker Park Committee (WPC) along with Near North Montessori School and Holy Trinity High School were present.

Efforts to address this location in the past were briefly reviewed.  The WPB' s Master Plan (SSA#33) raised issues and identified possible solutions around the Triangle. In 2009, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) teamed up with WPB to look at the location and transform the Polish Triangle into a well-used public space.

A Place Making project for the Polish Triangle was produced and presented in March of 2010. It may be download.

Primarily Scott Rappe from EVA reminded everyone of two issues with previous efforts to take action on the site. One is that there are multiple stakeholders on the site which include CTA, Metra and CDOT. The second is that CTA and Metra are reluctant to expend monies on the Division St. station because of the proposed Circle Line.

The Circle Line's purpose is to link existing rail lines with a new line that would encircle the city, making cross town travel easier and more efficient. Historically, as many will recall, the origins of the elevated and subways were independent companies creating a lines to bring people from outside the downtown area into the center and then back out. There was no need in the 1800s to consider cross town traffic.

Even during the Circle Line's inception in 2002 obvious hurdles were funding and the plan about impact on the community.  In the last ten years, funding has not been made any easier. Financially no one sees any real activity possible for many years to come.  In the meantime, the Polish Triangle is in need of attention.

With various assignments, people left the Aug. 15 meeting with a commitment to meet on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. If any other groups wish to be part of this neighborhood coalition, please send an email to Kapra Fleming at the House of Two Urns.

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