Thursday, July 13, 2006

What to do with the YMCA site

Park supporters have argued that children who live near the old Y site are cut off from nearby Gifford and Lords parks by busy Chicago and Liberty streets. They have said a park would benefit the neighborhood's underprivileged children who lack other recreational opportunities...

Housing proponents point out that the city is improving the open area beside Channing Memorial Elementary School, just south of Chicago, and say upscale homes will boost property values more than a park could. (Elgin Courier News 7/9/06)
It's just a 3 acre site. I have to doubt that an experienced developer would build an upscale project there without enormous subsidies from the city. You just have to look at Wellington. "Build it and they will come" has not worked--not yet at least. From all appearances, Wellington is still vacant except for one unit, purchased through a sweetheart deal.

I'm skeptical that upscale homes can be sold there, and I'm skeptical that they will boost property values more than a park would. A nearby park is a significant amenity. What good does it do to have an upscale home nearby?


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