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St. Anthony is set to build a hospital to be part of a $600 million development at the previous trade school location in Little Villiage. Although this is big news, not all residents are happy. Some residents would prefer for the site to stay in public hands and possibly have a brand new CPS trade school established.
What is The Talk?
On a vacant land on 31st Street and Kedzie Avenue lies what used to be in Little Village. What used to be here was Old Washburne Trade School, which provided well-paying, secure jobs for people of the community in the past. Now, the neighborhood “is at the mercy of an unstable gig economy.”
Furthermore, Lucky Camargo declared “the neighborhood is subject to a siege, and inequality of income is rampant.” In addition, she declares this is what makes this kind of “exploitation” occur. She also states that the facility gains from public dollars.
On the other hand, around the same time, the Chicago City Council unanimously accepted a $5 million bid from the medical company to purchase the vacant land.
The Focal Point Community Campus, a $600 million project was slated for this site. In this 32-acre mixed-use project there will be affordable housing, recreation centers, retail, and trade school available.
In response, Camargo told the Sun-Times that she wanted to see the land staying in the public hands and possibly become the residence of a new state-of-the-art CPS trade school. She adds it is not sufficient for Focal Point to incorporate a private trade school.
More About the Building
With this new hospital being built, the company will move the campus to a newly developed 400,000-square-foot facility located at Focal Point with approximately 150 beds. The current building, located at 2875 W 19th Street, will close.
Although it is closing, the facility will make efforts to hold on to 1,000 jobs and provide additional 20 permanent jobs. In this, the project is predicted to add 1,500 temporary construction jobs. Camargo adds that there is “no stipulation that those workers need to be from Little Village.”
The developer of the hospital was given six years to complete the project in addition to a potential one-year extension. If not completed by then, the land could possibly return back to the city.
The sale of this land is one more mega-development that is turning the lives of longtime residents of Little Village upside down, according to Camargo.
In spite of her opinion, the project has the substructure of many political leaders including those of the following: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and state Sen. Celina Villanueva. Furthermore, 22nd Ward Alderman Michael Rodriguez “threw” his full support behind the Focal Point Project.
Written by Ke’Lena Thomas
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Chicago Sun-Times: New St. Anthony Hospital to be part of $600 million development at former trade school site in Little Village; by Manny Ramos
Featured Image Courtesy of lee’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons (License)
Inset Image Courtesy of Chad Davis’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons (License)