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Chicago: 4th Ward Announcement and Community News

Dear Friends:

Please be advised that our office will be closed Monday, March 2, 2015 in observance of Pulaski Day. We will resume regular office hours (9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) beginning Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Please spread the word in the community about this newsletter. My staff and I want to make sure that everyone in the Fourth Ward is informed about the latest news.

If you know someone who wants to be added to this newsletter e-blast, please contact Lars Weborg at or call (773) 536-8103. Or, if it’s easier, simply visit and add your email address there.

Last week, we broke ground on a project that was more than a decade in the making.
The brand new, state of the art Arts & Recreation Center in Ellis Park is the result of planning and advocacy from community stakeholders committed to providing positive activities and resources for the children, families and seniors who have made our neighborhood their home.
Located at 35th and Cottage Grove Ave., the Arts & Recreation Center will have a competitive-sized pool, full-length basketball court, fitness room and rooms for meetings and programs.
We are very proud of the exciting opportunities that the brand new Arts & Recreation Center will bring to our community.

Cold Weather Resources

Temperatures are expected to stay frigid into next week, so we want to ensure that everyone is made aware of the resources the City makes available to help residents prepare for extreme cold weather conditions.

Preventing Your Pipes from Freezing

We have received the following tips from the City of Chicago Department of Water Management:
The Freezing Temperatures of winter can bring problems for your water system.
The following tips may help prevent pipes from freezing:

  • Check to make sure exposed pipes are insulated in some way.
  • Keep basement doors open to allow warmer air to circulate into unheated parts of the home.
  • Run a trickle of water from a faucet on your property if the weather gets very cold. Ideally, this would be the faucet furthest back from the street… and on the top floor. Doing it this way ensures the whole plumbing system is engaged.

City Warming Centers

Fourth Ward residents are encouraged to visit the King Center (4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.) Monday through Friday between 9 a.m and 5 p.m. to escape the cold. For more information about locations citywide and about possible after-hours locations, please click here.
The Oak Street Health Center in Bronzeville (4318 S. State St.) will also open its doors to residents looking to stay warm. To verify times of availability, please call (773) 285-9304.
Please call 3-1-1 to locate the Warming Center nearest you and please be mindful of your elderly neighbors and check on them periodically as the temperatures drop.

Sidewalk Snow Removal

Chicago winters can be especially challenging when sidewalks are not cleared of snow and ice. Clearing sidewalks is the law, and it is our responsibility to each other during the winter.
According to the City of Chicago Municipal Code, “every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground abutting upon any public way or public space shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk.”
Please follow this link to learn more about who is responsible for sidewalk snow removal and what that means.
We will have copies available in our office of the flyer included in the above link. We will also do our best to provide more literature throughout the community so that everyone stays safe this winter by sharing in the responsibility of sidewalk snow removal.

A Winter Safety Message from the Chicago Post Office:

Nobody wants a repeat of last winter’s polar vortex. Especially your letter carrier.
But this is still winter in the Midwest, which means there will still be cold and snow.
Our letter carriers can handle most of that. They know how to dress in layers, keep their fingers and toes protected, and still get the job done.
But they need your help.
Snow and ice make for treacherous footing along stairs, sidewalks, porches and pathways. By keeping a clear and clean path to your mailbox, your letter carrier will be better able to brave the elements and deliver your mail and packages.
We at the U.S. Postal Service know your mail is important to you. Letter carriers make every reasonable effort to deliver it. But if your carrier cannot safely get to your mailbox, your delivery service may be suspended until the path is clear.  That happens only after careful consideration, and only as a last resort until your carrier can safely complete his/her appointed rounds.
So when the snow hits, please keep a shovel handy and clear a safe path to your mailbox. Your letter carrier can take it from there.
Thanks from the Chicago Post Office!

Construction Bid Opportunity: Chicago Botanical Gardens

We would like to share an opportunity we recently received for business enterprises looking to bid on a project at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. The Construction Manager, Turner Construction, is looking for a company to bid on a project that calls for:

  • Multi-acre landscaping of the Learning Center Campus and the site around the new Education Building.
  • Lawn of grass-covered hillocks and a shallow stream
  • Flowering gardens that frame the atrium entrance of the Education Building
  • Installation of grasscrete paver driveway at the new Lake Cook Rd. entrance
  • Picnic area with benches and a fire pit
  • Various paths and paver areas

***Bids are now being accepted***

Pre-Bid Meeting:

Monday, March 2, 2015 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Chicago Botanical Garden, Annex Trailer 2 (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL)

Bids Due:

Friday, March 13, 2015 at 10 a.m. They are to be placed in the bid box at the Chicago Botanical Garden Visitor Center (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL)
For the full bid invitation and for instructions on how to access project documents, please click here.

Job Opportunities with the Chicago Housing Authority

We have been made aware of several opportunities to work for the Chicago Housing Authority. Right now, there are openings for a:

  • Compliance Specialist
  • Senior Project Coordinator
  • Victim Assistance Program Liaison
  • Senior Contract Specialist
  • Procurement Specialist

To learn more about these opportunities and for information on how to apply, please click here.
We’ve also identified various opportunities for Section 3 residents including a:

  • Program Supervisor
  • Security Official/Gate Keeper
  • Laborer

To learn more about these jobs, please click here.
We’ve also received information about on-the-job-training through CHA. For more information on those programs, please click here.
If you or someone you know might be interested in these opportunities, we encourage you to apply or pass along accordingly!

The Problem Landlords Ordinance

Residential rental tenants in the City of Chicago work hard for the money they spend every month on a place to live.   For those hard-earned dollars, they should also receive the assurance that the buildings they call home meet the basic safety standards required by the City of Chicago.   I was very proud to vote last month on a measure that will give renters that peace of mind, the Problem Landlords Ordinance.   The Problem Landlords Ordinance identifies landlords and building owners who have failed to meet minimum requirements such as  providing adequate heat, hot water and working smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors.   A list of those substandard landlords, in cooperation with the Department of Buildings is then published bi-annually, creating a more transparent, accessible resource for renters.   But the ordinance does more than that. It also makes it clear that the City of Chicago will not tolerate the kind of neglect that jeopardizes our residents’ health and safety.   Owners who appear on the list will be prohibited from obtaining business licenses, receiving zoning changes, acquiring city land or receiving financial assistance like Tax Increment Financing (TIF) or obtaining building permits not related to addressing their violations.   The City Council has taken this critical step toward earning Chicago renters’ trust and ensuring their safety.

Mariano’s has Broken Ground in the Fourth Ward

Last month, we were proud to break ground on the Mariano’s Fresh Market that will be coming soon to the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Mariano’s will kick start the economic development of 39th Street. At 74,000 square feet, it will serve as an anchor development, attracting additional retail to the corridor.
Mariano’s has committed to hiring members of the community, including public housing residents.
We’re also happy to report that the development team includes a joint venture with an African-American construction firm, and the store is designed by an African-American architect.

The Obama Presidential Library

Last month, I was proud to join hundreds of friends and neighbors to testify at a public hearing in favor of the Obama Presidential Library coming to our South Side community.
If you’d like to watch my full testimony, click here.

Updates from the Department of Streets & Sanitation

Blue Cart Recycling Schedule Now Available Online

Please follow this link to learn more about the Blue Cart recycling programming and click here to determine what your schedule is, based on the zone you live in.
Please be on the lookout for postcards from the City that will outline the 2015 recycling schedule. They should be arriving soon.

Carton Recycling

The Department of Streets and Sanitation and the Carton Council will continue their campaign for carton recycling in Chicago. **Remember: cartons can be recycled through the Blue Cart program, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of this resource. Please click here to learn more.

Guidelines for Business Owners

Below are the general sanitation laws that apply to all Chicago businesses. We ask your cooperation in complying with the following:

  • Sidewalks and exterior areas must be kept clean, free of weeds and all litter. Outside areas adjacent to the premises must be kept clean, neat and monitored daily.
  • Snow and ice must be removed from sidewalks in front of and adjacent to all buildings, housing and places of business.
  • Arrange for refuse to be removed by a licensed scavenger service.
  • Have sufficient containers to hold all garbage. All commercial dumpsters must have information prominently displayed on the exterior identifying the user of the dumpster and the scavenger company servicing it.
  • Check the dumpster area often. Dumpsters must be in good condition, properly sealed and not leaking. Garbage must be contained with lids closed and locked.
  • Use and maintain a clean crease box. Grease must be properly contained with the walls and ground around the container clean at all times.
  • Burrows and openings must be sealed and dock areas must be well baited to promote rodent control.

City Council Update

As 2014 drew to a close, I was proud to co-sponsor two very important ordinances in City Council.

Affordable Requirement Ordinance (ARO)

This summer I was appointed to a task force to study and make recommendations on the City of Chicago’s inclusionary housing law, the Affordable Requirement Ordinance (ARO).  The task force has completed its work and its recommendations have been drafted into an ordinance.
I am proud to co-sponsor this ordinance which strengthens the City of Chicago’s commitment to affordable housing.  The new ARO will create new incentives and requirements for developers to build affordable housing in communities of opportunity. The new ARO will also help generate additional resources for new housing construction in Chicago neighborhoods.
Click here for more information on the ARO.
Click here to read the full ordinance.

Taxi Reform

For years taxi drivers have suffered. They have suffered from higher gas prices, higher fees imposed for taxi cab companies and higher penalties from the City of Chicago.
For decades, the taxi industry here in Chicago has had more and more fees imposed upon it by City regulations. With the recent popularity of nascent ride sharing companies, this meant the taxi industry was struggling to keep pace with the cost of doing business.
Some reports estimate that some taxi drivers were earning less than the minimum wage.
So, the Chicago City Council voted to scale back some of the fees to give hard working taxi drivers a fair shot at competing in today’s landscape. The ordinance passed today will:

  1. Reduce the maximum administrative fine the City could levy against drivers from $1,000 to $400.
  2. Lower the lease cost that drivers pay if they don’t own their medallions.

Click here to download the full ordinance.These two ordinances are important steps toward making Chicago work for everyone.

Ban on Choke Hold by Peace Officers

In December, I joined Aldermen Edward M. Burke (14th),  Carrie Austin (34th) and Michelle Harris (8th) in proposing an ordinance that would ban all law enforcement officers from using controversial choke holds when subduing suspects and other individuals in Chicago.
The prohibition would extend to all peace officers serving within the city limits of Chicago, including Chicago police officers, deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals and private security guards.
The measure was introduced to the Committee on Finance following days of protests across the nation stemming from a New York grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer in the choke hold-related death of Eric Garner, 43.
Garner, an unarmed African-American man who suffered from asthma, died in July after repeatedly telling police that he could not breathe after he was subdued, according to a videotape seen worldwide.
Under the proposal, “No peace officer, private security contractor, or private security personnel shall apply a choke hold in the performance of his or her duties, unless faced with a situation in which the use of deadly force is justified under applicable law. A choke hold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”
I sponsored this ordinance because in its passage, our city would lead the way for other cities across America to expeditiously act to institute similar protections.

A Higher Minimum Wage for Chicago

In December, I was proud to co-sponsor an ordinance that will raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $13 per hour by the year 2019. This was a critical step toward strengthening our middle class and giving working Chicagoans a chance at a decent life. No man or woman who works in the City of Chicago should ever live in poverty and this ordinance goes a long way to ensure that.

Benefits of Raising the Local Minimum Wage:

  • Approximately 410,000 workers, or nearly 31% of the Chicago workforce will receive a raise
  • $860 million will be added to the local economy over five years
  • $13 per hour reflects the cost of living in the City of Chicago and is roughly the equivalent of $15 per hour in Seattle and $11 per hour throughout the rest of the state of Illinois

Synopsis of the Ordinance:

The current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour will increase to:

  • $10 on July 1, 2015
  • $10.50 on July 1, 2016
  • $11 on July 1, 2017
  • $12 on July 1, 2018
  • $13 on July 1, 2019
  •  An increased amount consistent with inflation every year after that

The current minimum wage for tipped employees of $4.95 per hour will increase to:

  • $5.45 on July 1, 2015
  • $5.95 on July 1, 2016
  • An increased amount consistent with inflation every year after that

Once $13 per hour for non-tipped employees and $5.95 for tipped employees are reached, they will increase relative to inflation (capped at 2.5%) every year after that, provided the local unemployment rate does not reach 8.5% or greater (as calculated by IDES)


  • Subsidized temporary youth employment programs that employ youth under the age of 24
  • Transitional subsidized programs for hard-to-employ individuals like the formerly incarcerated and the homeless

Incorporates current State of Illinois exemptions to the minimum wage law:

  • Youth under the age of 18 can make 50 cents below the state minimum
  • Adults in the first 90 days of employment can make 50 cents below the state minimum
  • Businesses employing less than four workers
  • Immediate family members of business owners like parents, spouses, siblings or children

With state approval, a sub-minimum wage for:

  • Employees with disabilities
  • Trainees (for no more than six months)

All Working Chicagoans Deserve Paid Sick Leave

The vast majority of middle class workers in Chicago earn paid sick days. It’s something many of us take for granted. So much so, that it’s hard to imagine an employer who doesn’t offer paid sick days.
But the truth is that a disproportionate number of hourly workers and low income workers are not offered paid sick days from their employer. That means when those employees get sick, they face the unpleasant choice between getting healthy or earning a day’s pay. If a family member or child is ill, the employee must decide between taking care of a loved one or reporting to work.    Without paid sick leave, hourly workers routinely report to work ill, further jeopardizing their health, the health of their co-workers and the clients and customers they serve.   Without paid sick leave, guardians are unable to stay home from work to care for their sick children without sacrificing a day’s wages, or worse, their job.   Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) has introduced an ordinance that requires most employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees.  I am a co-sponsor of the ordinance along with twenty-five aldermen.
Simply said, this is not a perk.  Paid sick leave is something every working person is entitled to. And, these sick days must be earned—employees would only be provided with sick days commensurate with their time on the job.
Under the ordinance employees may only earn up to nine paid sick days per year, and unused sick days would not roll over from year to year.
This ordinance is a floor, not a ceiling. It does not limit other generous benefits employers can offer.
Low income Chicago workers should have access to paid sick days just like their middle class counterparts.

Pedestrian Bridges at 41st and 43rd

We were proud to announce last Fall that federal funds will boost construction of the long-awaited lakefront bridges connecting Kenwood and Oakland to our beaches, lake path and more.
Not only will these bridges provide a beautiful access point to lakefront activity, but we will also use their construction as an opportunity to bring well-paying, high-skilled jobs to our community.
To read more about the projects, please click here.

Chicago Park District/Public Health Updates

Prescribed Burns

Please be advised that the Chicago Park District will be conducting prescribed burns at Burnham Park, McCormick Prairie and Burnham Nature Sanctuary (47th St.) at any time, as weather permits, between now and April 30, 2015.
If you have any concerns, please email Jason Steger.
For more information on prescribed burns, please click here.

City Warming Centers

With temperatures expected to drop significantly in the next few days, we want to ensure that everyone is made aware of the resources the City makes available to help residents find refuge from extreme cold weather conditions.
Fourth Ward residents are encouraged to visit the King Center (4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.) between 9 a.m and 5 p.m. to escape the cold. For more information about locations citywide and about possible after-hours locations, please click here.

Infrastructure Projects

35th Street Pedestrian Bridge

Construction of the 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge has begun. Effective now, the bridge will be closed. The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2015. It includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Removal of the existing pedestrian bridge
  • Resurfacing and improvements to 35th Street from South Cottage Grove to South Lake Park Avenue
  • Resurfacing and improvements on South Lake Park Avenue between 35th Street and 36th Street
  • Patching and reconstructing sidewalks on South Lake Park Avenue and 35th Street
  • Removal and reconstruction of street lighting on South Lake Park Avenue and 35th Street
  • Furnishing and installing roadway lighting and accent lighting on the proposed bridge structure
  • Construction of and landscaping for pedestrian plaza areas at the east and west approaches to the proposed bridge
  • Relocation of a cantilever sign on northbound, South Lake Shore Drive

For more information about the project and to view other renderings of the proposed bridge and site plan, please click here.

53rd Street Sewer Lining

Crews will be performing work on a Sewer Lining Project on 53rd Street from South Cornell Avenue to East Hyde Park Boulevard.   This project will rehabilitate the existing sewer without the conventional digging method, and is intended to minimize, perhaps even eliminate, street cave-ins that result from failure in old sewers.   During work days, mobilization will start at 6 a.m. with work commencing at 7 a.m. and is expected to complete daily by 7 p.m. No parking signs will be posted in the immediate area of work a day before scheduled work. Residents are urged to move their vehicles away from the work site to avoid being towed.   To prevent odors in your home, please pour two to three cups of water into each basement floor drain. Please also restrict your water usage as much as possible.   A City Engineer will be on-site during the duration of work to answer questions. For any other questions or concerns, please call 311.

Langley Avenue Sewer Improvement

Now underway, the Chicago Department of Water Management will be installing approximately 1,400 ft. of new sewer on S. Langley Ave. from E. 40th St. to E. Oakwood Blvd.
These improvements will enhance area drainage and reduce flooding after heavy rains.
Dates are weather dependent, but nearby residents will be notified of the work in advance to minimize any possible inconvenience.

18th Street Bridge Reconstruction

Now through April 1, 2015 the Chicago Department of Transportation will be performing reconstruction of the 18th Street Bridge that will require a full closure for all vehicular traffic.
Traffic will be detoured south to cross the river over the Canal Street Bridge and via Cermak Road, Archer Avenue and Clark Street.
All bicycles will be detoured north to cross the river at Roosevelt Road via Canal and Wabash Avenue.
The 47 year old movable bascule bridge will be restored with new roadway and sidewalk decks; repaired truss, floor beams and lateral bracing; and upgraded electrical and navigational lighting. The 18th Street Bridge is an important infrastructure to our area as it is a major travel connection to and from the South Loop and Chinatown neighborhoods.
For the full detour map, please click here.

Pershing Complete Streets Project

The installation of the Pershing Complete Streets Project between King Dr. and Oakwood Blvd. is underway.  Improvements will include upgraded pedestrian crosswalks, buffered bike lanes and new motor vehicle lane lines will be installed as part of the project. Temporary “No Parking” signs will be hung during work hours and removed as the crews finish each block.

Water Main Project: Washington Park Court

The Department of Water Management will soon be installing 995 feet of 8-inch water main in South Washington Park Court, from East 49th Street to East 50th Street and South Washington Park Court, from East 50th Place to East 51st Street.
The old main consists of a 6-inch pipe and it’s time to expand its capacity. Further, the old pipe dates back to 1894 and needs to be replaced.
The Department of Water Management will begin installing the new water main shortly, and they expect the water main work to be completed in early February 2015. Restoration will follow in mid April 2015. Dates may change depending on weather and other factors. If there is any appreciable change, we will notify you.
Workers will allow traffic to flow on South Washington Park Court outside of their working hours. When they are working in the street, they have to close it to traffic for reasons of safety. You will always be able to reach your home or business, even if it means putting a metal plate in place. Outside of working hours, a lane will be left open for local traffic only.
They will post signs in their work area for “No Parking” as needed, during work hours (7 a.m.-4 p.m.). They are agreeable to parking outside of those hours, but will have to insist that cars be moved by the start of the next workday. They will try to preserve as much parking as they can.

Water Main Project: South Champlain Avenue

The Department of Water Management will soon be installing 2,204 feet of 8-inch water main in S. Champlain Ave., from E. 42nd St. to E. 44th St., and in E. 42nd St., from S. Champlain Ave. to S. Cottage Grove Ave.   They will begin installing the new water main shortly, and expect the work to be completed in June. Final restoration will follow in late July. Dates may change depending on weather and other factors. If there is any appreciable change, we will notify you.   The Department of Water Management will allow traffic to flow outside of our working hours.  When they are working in the street, they have to close it to traffic for reasons of safety. You will always be able to reach your home or business, even if it means putting a metal plate in place.  Outside of working hours, a lane will be left open for local traffic only.
The Department of Water Management will post “No Parking” signs as needed, during work hours (7 a.m.-4 p.m.). They are agreeable to parking outside of those hours, but will have to insist that cars be moved by the start of the next workday. They will try to preserve as much parking as they can.

Ward & City Services

Service Request & 311

As Alderman, my primary responsibility is to ensure the City of Chicago is responsive to your service requests. You can file a service request online, by phone or in person. No matter how you submit a service request, my staff monitors incoming concerns to ensure a timely and appropriate response. It’s important to get a CSR number so we can locate, track and serve your claim more effectively.

Request Services Online

You can access the City of Chicago’s online service request form 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

311 Tracking System

Chicago’s new “Open 311” service request system was announced recently, it allows Chicagoans to track service requests from the time they are submitted and receive an email when the issue is resolved through a new “311 Service Tracker.” The system also allows residents to submit photos with service requests, encouraging more accurate and detailed reporting of issues to City departments.   Here is the web link:

Request Services by Phone

You can request city services by calling my office at (773) 536-8103. My staff is available to file your requests Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.   If you cannot reach my office, I encourage you to dial 311. City operators are available to accept your request 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Request Services In Person

Visit the 4th Ward Office at 435 E. 35th St. to file a service request in person. My staff is available to facilitate your service request and answer any questions you may have.

Office Hours

Our ward office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ward Constituent Night

Ward constituent night is typically the first Monday of every month, unless there is a holiday or some other conflict, at the Fourth Ward Service Office, 435 E. 35th St. The next date will be TBD.

Ward Meeting

The date and time of the next Fourth Ward Community Meeting will be TBD.

Ald. William D. Burns

Fourth Ward, City of Chicago

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