The WRCO Board was surprised to learn that the old Northtown Library building had been sold. In response a letter was sent to Ald. Silverstein regarding the process and lack of transparency. The full letter is reprinted below.
Dear Ald. Silverstein,
It has come to the attention of WRCO that the old Northtown Library building has recently been sold. The WRCO Board wishes to express our strong disappointment with the lack of transparency involved in the sale of this public building. As you know, WRCO was interested in the building becoming a multi-cultural arts center serving the whole community. We contacted you several months ago for help in finding out the status of the building with the Department of Planning and Development. You responded that the building did not meet the criteria for a Request for Proposal. We received no response when we questioned what that meant, and you offered no further information. It now appears the building was available for sale but there was no communication to the residents or organizations of this community that purchase was possible. Residents and organizations were not given the opportunity to bid on a public building that would sell for below market rate.
We find this process to be one that is inherently unfair and subjective. Therefore, we again propose, as we have in the past with the West Ridge Roundtable, that you implement a Citizens Advisory Committee on Economic Planning and Development. Almost half of the wards have Zoning Advisory Councils that advise aldermen on zoning and development. We believe the 50th ward needs such a committee so residents can know and be involved in the future development of their community. We will be following up with you to further discuss this concept and how it could be organized.
Evelyn Miks, Chair Mirko Popadic
Andrew Rowlas, Vice-Chair Ashish Sen
Hillorie Morrison, Secretary Shikha Sharma
Irv Loundy, Treasurer