Saturday, September 6, 2008

Morse Avenue Streetscape? Huh? Where? When?

People who are close to the wheelings and dealings of Chicago's 49th Ward told me months ago that the long-promised, nearly-mythical Morse Avenue Streetscape would commence "right after the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival." Uh, huh. Well, that festival came and went two weeks ago. There is less pavement torn up on Morse Avenue today than there was a month ago. The huge puddle at Morse and Greenview, there for nearly a year, was finally cleaned up after The Bench bitched about it. The excuse for letting it go so long: "Why tear it up now when it'll just get torn up again for Streetscape, right after the Glenwood Arts Fest?" Are we being played by Joe Moore - again? Mr. Ribbon Cutter has made no announcements about a looming Streetscape, which would be out of character for him (or any alderman) if indeed it was about to happen. What does Joe Moore's own web site say about this? Here are the only references to a Streetscape project on his site (as of 7:44 p.m., 9/6/08): Morse Avenue has also seen new restaurants and pubs and will soon see a new coffee house and an exciting new restaurant and entertainment venue. $800,000 in improvements were made to the Morse Avenue El Station. And a new streetscape project will get underway on Morse Avenue this summer. From the "ALDERMAN JOE MOORE'S STATEMENT OF CANDIDACY December 10, 2006" See it here... Note: Pigeons still crap on you as you enter the CTA station on Morse Avenue. Duck! The Morse Avenue Streetscape continues to improve. Look for bold changes this summer with $3 million in streetscape improvements. From "The 49 Line," Winter 2006-2007. See it here in PDF or View as HTML... We've looked. Don't see 'em. Oh yes, there's also the "Streetscape" up on Howard Street: Moore has also overseen the opening of a new 14,000-square foot branch of the Chicago Public Library, a new 2.5 acre park which replaced an adult bookstore and dilapidated housing, a soon-to-be-constructed 20,000 square foot community center, the renovation of the old Howard Theater building, the Sheridan Road and Howard Streetscape beautification projects, hundreds of units of affordable rental housing and new condominiums geared toward lower-income working families. From Joe Moore's official biography, date unknown, viewable here... In the words of Barack Obama, "I mean, words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up. I mean, come on, they must think you’re stupid!" Did I mention that Barack Obama endorsed Joe for reelection in 2006, and that Joe is an enthusiastic backer of Obama?