32nd Ward Newsletter: April 26, 2024

Dear Scott,

If you missed this past weekend's Earth Day events, there are still a few coming up this weekend, in Roscoe Village, South Lakeview, and Bucktown. See below for more info and join your neighbors as they improve parks and community spaces.

Want to let the CTA know what you think? Click here for a survey. I believe the CTA is in need of new leadership as the post-pandemic concerns continue to mount. While the CTA has made improvements in some areas, the lack of improvement on cleanliness, bus and train timeliness, and rider as well as employee safety are not improving at the pace they should be. Dorval Carter, the President of the CTA should be replaced by new leadership, with the CTA board beginning a process of transition.

I've also added some comments on the Mayor's plan for a new Bears stadium on the museum campus.

Have a great weekend,

Alderman Scott Waguespack

Mayor and Bears Unpack a New Stadium Deal

Yesterday, the Chicago Bears and Mayor Johnson held a joint press conference to unveil a plan to spend more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds on yet another stadium project for the team. The expected cost for a new stadium is $4.7 billion. This Mayor was elected on a platform centered around investing in the City’s South and West sides and creating a more equitable City for the benefit of all Chicagoans. Instead of delivering on this promise, he has co-opted himself into supporting a massive billion-dollar plus taxpayer subsidy for the benefit of the Chicago Bears’ owners. 

There have been no meetings with the City Council to discuss the possibility of city taxpayers funding for the Bears stadium. Governor Pritzker and Speaker Welch both spoke to the public about this press conference indicating there is no appetite for the funding demand in Springfield. 

Instead of collaborating with city, park district, county, state, and federal stakeholders on a plan for the future of Soldier Field, the Mayor has decided to unilaterally throw his support behind yet another taxpayer funded stadium plan before the debt supporting the last plan for the Bears has even come close to being paid for. Presently, the outstanding debt for Soldier Field’s 2003 renovation for the Bears is more than $620 million, and there’s also about $50 million in debt for the Guaranteed Rate Field renovations.


Mayor Johnson said giving more than a billion dollars of public tax revenue to this project amounted to economic development. What it does is generate debt and debt service. It matters how the City decides to invest its taxpayer dollars. Rather than investing in healthier, vibrant, equitable neighborhoods, schools, public safety, or parks he is advocating for handing it over to the owners of the City’s football team. The purported economic impact from this new plan of $8 billion is just as ludicrous as it sounds. These impact studies are known in the world of economics as garbage in, garbage out models that are paid for with the implicit understanding that their sole function is to justify spending public resources for private benefit. 

The lakefront has been and should be an amenity for all Chicagoans and those who visit our City. The Bears' plan doubles down on the use of this public space for their private benefit. The transportation challenges that currently plague Soldier Field are only intensified by this plan and moving roads and traffic signals will not meaningfully improve access. The museums suffer each day there is a spectator event at this site, as potential patrons avoid the area due to inevitable traffic gridlock. Nothing in the plan presented earlier addresses this fundamental flaw.

Equally important as what was said at the Bears’ press conference is what wasn’t said. The public tax revenue that they are asking for comes from hotel taxes that, in the words of the City’s Chief Financial Officer, are volatile. When the revenue from this volatile tax falls short of projections, the City’s general fund will make up for the shortfall. This means less funds available for core public services including education, public safety, infrastructure, and more. These same hotel taxes were used to fund the ill-fated renovation the Bears did to Soldier Field 20 years ago. The City taxpayer has repeatedly had to cover revenue shortfalls as this hotel tax revenue fell short of projections. Considering how poorly this investment turned out, how can we possibly support yet another massive public subsidy to the same sports franchise? 

The question is, what are our highest core concerns and priorities? Do we need to divert federal, state, and city dollars to a new stadium that has been proclaimed the top priority by one official? What promises have been made that the public needs to know? 

Beyond the simple question of priorities, there are dozens of questions that were not addressed or asked and avoided by the press conference promoters. Those questions will be put to the Mayor’s office. 

In the meantime, former Governor Quinn has joined the list of citizens submitting referendums. His submission to the City Clerk last month hopes to ask taxpayers on the November election ballot the question: “Shall the people of Chicago pay any taxpayer subsidies to the Chicago Bears or Chicago White Sox in order to build a new stadium or new real estate development?”

I’ll update you on this as we learn more about what the plans are from City Hall. 

Support Independent Bookstores THIS SATURDAY!

Support our independent bookstores this Saturday by dropping in and making a few purchases. Here are the stores participating from the 32nd Ward!

May Beat Meetings

14th Police District-

1432- May 22, 6:30pm

Holstein Park

2200 N. Oakley


14th District Twitter

14th District CAPS- 312-744-1261

18th Police District-

1811- May 7, 5pm

St. James Lutheran

2050 N. Fremont


18th District Twitter

18th District CAPS- 312-742-5870

19th Police District-

1921- May 15, 6:30pm

Police Auditorium

2452 W. Belmont

1922- May 9, 6:30pm

Lincoln Belmont Library

1659 W. Melrose

1931- May 28, 6:30pm

Gantz Boys and Girls Club

2915 N. Leavitt

1933- May 14, 6:30pm

Illinois Masonic

836 W. Wellington


19th District Twitter

19th District CAPS- 312-744-0064

Street Sweeping

Next week, street sweeping will occur in sections 11, 12, and 13 (Lincoln Park). Please be on the lookout for signs and make sure to move your vehicle on your scheduled day (south and east sides of the street are normally done on the first day, north and west on the second; please watch for signs).

Sweepers will do more than one pass on the block in their initial cleaning, but will not come back to clean sections outside of their officially scheduled day. Please take the time to help clear the curb in front of your property to keep the sewers flowing well. Any leftover landscaping debris from winter months should be bagged and put in the alley by your trash cans. Please do not sweep landscaping debris into the street. Piles of leaves and heavy garbage also clog the sweepers and will cause significant delays. Other large objects like branches and metal will also damage the sweepers, so please remove them from curbs.

Residents can view street sweepers in real time using the Sweeper Tracker online tool. 

Property Tax Exemptions Deadline is April 29

The deadline to file for exemption savings for tax year 2023 is Monday, April 29, 2024.

If you received an application booklet in the mail, please mail it in immediately or apply online. Property tax savings are reflected on the 2nd Installment Property Tax Bill.

As a reminder, homeowners must reapply for the Veterans with Disabilities and Low-Income Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze (the “Senior Freeze”) Exemptions. The Homeowner, Senior, and Persons with Disabilities Exemptions are automatically renewed.

All homeowners are strongly encouraged to apply online. This allows staff to easily locate the application, provide a status update, and notify the homeowner if missing documents are needed.

Applications can be downloaded at www.cookcountyassessor.com/exemptions. 

Upcoming Chicago Library Events!

This year we are partnering with local nonprofit Common Pantry to host a food and essential item drive. Please consider donating items at Commonwealth Tavern during the Clean and Green Event on 4/27 from 8:00am-12:00pm.

As part of our RVN Clean and Green Day, we will be accepting donations on behalf of Cradles to Crayons Chicago. Donation bins will be located at Commonwealth Tavern and Leigh Marcus Chicago. Please consider donating your gently-used items to help our neighbors in need.

Bucktown Garden Walk

Flowers are blooming all over Bucktown. You may not be ready to start your yard work, but it is time to sign up your garden for our annual Bucktown Garden Walk on July 13 and 14! You can help show off how amazing Bucktown can be and meet your neighbors by opening your parkway, front garden, back yard, or rooftop for people to view.

Registration is FREE this year. We do offer the opportunity to donate when signing up to support the event and the BCO. Sign-ups will close on June 10th.

Sign-up your Garden Now!

Holstein Park BINGO Fundraiser

Friends of Holstein Park is hosting Bingo Night at Leavitt Street Tavern on May 9th at 8pm. $35 per person gets you two Bingo cards and 10 games of Bingo. All money raised will be used to support the Holstein Park pool this summer. 

Register here: https://givebutter.com/l9cIqU

2024 Aldermanic Forum

May 22nd 9AM - Athenaeum Center

Join the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce (LRVCC) as we welcome 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, 44th Ward Alderman Bennett Lawson, 46th Ward Alderman Angela Clay, and 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin for the 2024 Aldermanic Business Forum.

This event will give businesses the opportunity to hear directly from their local representatives about issues that matter to them. 

Registration is required. Please submit any questions you have for the Aldermen by May 15th. 

Register Here

This spring, from April to May 31, The Chicago Office of Inspector General is launching a series of Listening Tours, designed to gather community input to give ideas on where we should focus our attention as we develop our plans for 2025.

We are asking four questions (see the full survey here):

  • Have you heard of the Chicago Office of Inspector General?
  • What could Chicago City government do to improve the quality of your life?
  • What do you wish you knew more about in Chicago City government?
  • What have you seen go wrong in Chicago City government?

City News Links

Alderman Scott Waguespack
2657 North Clybourn
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-1330

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