Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Alderman Michelle Harris (8th) and Southeast Side community members for the dedication of the South Shore International College Prep High School, one of the 19 schools constructed and renovated under the “Modern Schools Across Chicago” program and the 48th new school opened by Mayor Daley since he took control of the Chicago Public School system in 1995.
“No other city in the nation has taken such a major step to assure that our children learn in modern, up-to-date environments,” Daley said at another stop on the “Neighborhood Appreciation Tour” he is making before he leaves office in May. “Opening a new school gives students and staff a fresh start, greater hope and an improved learning environment.”
The Modern Schools Across Chicago program is funded with City redevelopment funds from Tax Increment Financing districts – no state or federal funds are received. Since Mayor Daley assumed responsibility for CPS in 1995, CPS has opened 48 new schools, including South Shore.
“In the competition for the jobs of the tomorrow, which are the key to Chicago’s future, nothing is more important than continuing to improve our schools,” Daley said. “We must pay special attention to improving our neighborhood elementary and high schools, as we are here with this new facility.”
Construction is complete on the new $94 million South Shore International College Prep High School, at 1955 E. 75th St., which will have its first new class of freshmen students in the fall of 2011. The 209,000-square-foot school will include 26 academic classrooms, six science labs, five computer labs, four performance and visual arts classrooms, a gymnasium, a natatorium with a six-lane pool, student dining facilities and a campus park.
During the school dedication, Mayor Daley highlighted some of the major accomplishments that the City and the residents of the 8th Ward communities of South Shore, Chatham, Avalon Park, Burnside, Calumet Heights and Pullman have accomplished together:
- The Chicago Public Schools have constructed, renovated and upgraded a number of other school facilities in the 8th Ward including:
- An addition and playlot at Amelia Earhart Elementary School at 1710 East 93rd St. in 2002.
- The construction of new playlots and campus parks at seven other schools in the ward, including: Ashe, Avalon Park; Schmid; Mann; McDowell; Warren and Washington.
- Olive-Harvey College, at 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., offers students the opportunity to earn associate degrees in a variety of fields, certificates, adult basic education and the GED. The City Colleges of Chicago has recently invested more than $16 million in a series of renovations at the school, including interior and exterior remodeling, campus landscaping and mechanical systems upgrades.
- Chicago’s senior population is growing, so the City has continued to make important investments to provide safe, affordable housing like Montclare Senior Residences at 1200 E. 78th St. The development has 102 units for seniors who want to remain a vibrant part of their community surrounded by the support and services necessary to lead healthy and active lives. The City donated the land and provided a total of $1.8 million in TIF funds to support this project.
- The City has also made a number of improvements to parks, open space and recreational facilities throughout the community, including:
- The new Jesse Owens Park fieldhouse at 2032 E. 88th St, which was built in 2009 and features a competition-sized gymnasium, fitness and community rooms, locker rooms and administrative facilities.
- Gately Stadium at 810 E. 103rd St. installed a new artificial turf field in 2004.
- A total of 3.5 miles of on-street bike ways intersect the community.
- Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program, the Chicago Department of Transportation is in the process of completing the arterial resurfacing of Jeffery Boulevard – from 89th to 98th Street.
- The City has also recently invested more than $300,000 in TIF-assisted infrastructure and business improvements throughout the area, including:
- New street lighting on Clyde Avenue and 69th Street
- New trees at 97th and University
- Street repair along 91st Street
- New sidewalks on the 8800 block of South Jeffrey
- and new landscaping at 87th and Stony Island
- Through the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF), area businesses like Cattleman’s Custom Meats at 1214 E. 95th St. received a matching grant of $20,000 to complete masonry work and install a large walk-in cooler.
- Chicago’s TIFWorks program stimulates business success by funding workforcetraining costs for companies located in TIF districts. SCR Transportation, at 8801 S. Greenwood Ave. in the Stony Island/Burnside TIF, provides transportation for physically challenged individuals and senior citizens in the Chicagoland area. SCR recently received $105,000 from TIFWorks to train 450 employees in Employee Injury Prevention Techniques, Defensive Driving and OSHA-mandated training.
- The City recently completed a land use survey of the Burnside and Pullman Industrial Corridors to ensure the 8th Ward’s blue collar industries remain a vital part of its business diversity.
- The Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative fosters an appreciation of the Chicago Bungalow, encourages their rehabilitation and assists owners with adopting these homes to current needs, which in turn helps to strengthen our neighborhoods. To date, more than 10,000 bungalows – many of which are on the Southeast Side – have been certified and more than 4,800 families citywide have used the grants and other incentives offered by the HCBA to purchase or rehab their homes.
These projects represent only the highlights of what we have accomplished in the 8th Ward,” Mayor Daley said. “I’m here today to thank every resident, every business and every not-for-profit for their service, support and cooperation on all these projects.”
“Thank you for participating in the process. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time,” he said. “Working together we’ve brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future. It’s been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor.”