6th Ward Chicago: 2012 Year In Review
As we approach the first City Council meeting of 2013, it is a good time to look back on what the 6th Ward accomplished in 2012. This was a year where we did face some challenges but significant investments were made for the future of our community and the city of Chicago. In City Hall the council passed the budget for the upcoming year which continued some of the streamlining that began in the last budget. The budget invested in grid tree trimming, and provided funding to counteract the effect of the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic. Alderman Sawyer supported plans to issue tickets for small marijuana possession and the Infrastructure Trust. Alderman Sawyer worked with other Aldermen to re-instate full hours at the Chicago Public libraries. The council also approved digital billboards and food truck plans that did not affect sites in the 6th Ward. Alderman Sawyer joined a group of Alderman who expressed concerns about the greater cost some of the streamlining and consolidation was having on the community which culminated in his introduction of the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance in November.
A challenge coming to the area is the proposed renovation to the Red Line; the south side train lines will be closed for a total of four months during the summer. Alderman Sawyer pushed the CTA to work with the community to create the alternative plan. The Alderman is very aware that this will be a difficult time for many residents and is going to continue to do all that he can to help the process work as smoothly as possible. On the positive side there will be station renovations including a major overhaul of the 95th Street Red Line station, and a much faster and smoother commute downtown to set the groundwork for the Red Line extension. Alderman Sawyer joined the protests and is working to ensure significant African American representation on these projects.
Alderman Sawyer was very active in education this year. He supported the Chicago Teachers Union during their seven day strike, and spoke out on behalf of doing what is best for our students and addressing wrap around services in the community. Further, Alderman Sawyer spoke out with members of the Progressive Caucus who attempted to get the State Legislature to delay the school consolidation plans. As we move forward in 2013, Alderman Sawyer is pushing for a transparent and flexible process as the Board of Education contemplates closing nearly 100 schools.
In the community Alderman Sawyer brought over $3 million in investment projects. There have been new lights, new street paving and concrete work done. There is much more work needed, that is why Alderman Sawyer has continually called for a capital plan for Chicago to do basic maintenance, and allow the Aldermen to use their "menu" funds for specific infrastructure improvements. Further, we had a changeover in our Commanders in the 3rd and 5th Districts as we try to address a few troubling trends in the community before they get out of hand. Alderman Sawyer pushed for more police in the budget, going as far as suggesting a commuter tax to ensure sufficient police officers.
There was also the issue of the ward remap; this has caused great confusion and issues with some of the population who are leaving wards they have become accustomed to and lived in for years. At this point, the issue is not fully settled. The boundaries do not go into effect for service until 2015 and there is pending action that will occur on this matter in 2013. Alderman Sawyer will keep all residents informed past, present and future on developments, and he is offering service to all residents to do what he can.
Finally, Alderman Sawyer has worked with our community groups and tried to strengthen our organizations to be active and make our voices heard in the new year and in the future. There is much work to be done in promoting our business strips, addressing the housing crisis, finding jobs for our residents and keeping our seniors safe.
We look forward to inviting you to our open house for our new office located on the corner at 8001 S. King Drive and a great year ahead. You can see some great images from our exciting 2012 below.