NEAR Meeting Discussion Topics
Minutes of NEAR Annual Meeting
February 23, 2012

President Richard Ward called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. at the Fairmount Hotel Moulin Rouge Room.
The first speaker was Alderman Brendan Reilly who talked about several issues involving our Near East Side Community:

1. The recent remapping work that will partially be effective in November, and fully effective in 2015. Reilly noted that this part of his ward stayed intact, but a portion of his north ward boundary had to be removed because he had 26,000 too many constituents over the last ten years because of the exploding population of the downtown area.

2. City Budget: Because Alderman Reilly is Vice-Chairman of the Budget Committee, he had interesting insights about the various sources of new income that are being explored and the spending priorities that the City Council and the Mayor are considering.

3. G-8/NATO summits in May – Reilly suggested that people sign up for info from to keep informed. He noted that security will be very tight in our area of the city since many of the delegates will be staying at nearby hotels. He promised to work with the host committee to make sure that this neighborhood is not excessively inconvenienced. To sign up for his newsletter, which will include much info, contact He also noted that it was a great opportunity to show the world what a great city Chicago is.

4. Other NEAR issues:   Pedway – Reilly agreed there were problems with how the financial responsibility was shifted from the developer, and could be brought up when the developer needs approval for additional buildings.   K-8 School – no plans in the works. The Chicago Public Schools has no money to open a school even if the developer built the shell of one.    North Grant Park –To applause, Reilly announced that the Children’s Museum would be staying at Navy Pier and not moving to north Grant Park. Gambling in downtown Chicago - Mayor Rahm Emmanuel would like to have it but is conflicted about where it would be located.   Bikes and Segways on sidewalks – Reilly wants them off the sidewalks and into the parks (like Grant Park and Lincoln Parks). He will continue to monitor this problem.
Reilly had to leave for another meeting and NEAR President Richard Ward continued the discussion of various issues involving our community. Of special interest, he showed slides of the plan for the re-development of North Grant Park. Since these are not final, he urged everyone to come to further hearings.

ELECTION OF NEAR DIRECTORS FOR TWO YEAR TERMS: The following directors of NEAR were elected unanimously: Richard Ward, Fran Weinstock, Pat Reis, Dick Thennes, Leslie Fox and John Wizgrid.

The meeting ended at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Patricia Reis, Secretary

(Fairmont Hotel International Ballroom)
A summary of Alderman Brendan Reilly’s remarks at the Sept. 16, 2010, NEAR meeting:
1.City Budget Issues/Challenges
Alderman Brendan Reilly spoke primarily about the $655 million budget shortfall in the city for next year --  and what he thinks should be done to address the problem.
2. Children's Museum Move to Grant Park
Alderman Reilly is monitoring the issue. He said he would support the effort to go to the state Supreme Court, using the Montgomery Ward cases as legal precedent, if ground is broken
3. Elementary School in New Eastside
Plans for a school in the Lake Shore East complex are moving along. The plan for a K-8 school is progressing.  Space between Shoreham and Lancaster is being considered as the best site. Reilly is very involved.
4. Cleaning Lower Streets, Sidewalks and Undeveloped Lots
The alderman’s office has taken a significant role in this. Lower Wacker drive is being cleaned up and better lighted – esp. in the area that crosses into the River Walk. Ramp on Lower Wacker is being repaired and Lower Wacker is being resurfaced.
With regard to Lower Randolph, the city has had to cut down on amount of cleaning done weekly ($$ issue), so it may take some time to address the problems there.
5. Crime Reduction/Police Issues (NEAR Beat 124)
Reilly introduced Commander Kennedy of the Police Dept’s 1st District and talked about what is being done to address crime issues and infractions, like tour buses parking along our streets. Reilly asked people to call 911 for problems, as he gets a printout that tells him what the issues are.
Sign up for Alderman Reilly’s weekly newsletter He represents 100,000 people in his ward, so this is the best way for him to communicate with people.
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