It is spring once again, and in Hyde Park there are some welcome sights and sounds of air compressors, diesel excavators, front end loaders, and the backing-up beep, beep, beep of heavy equipment.
Some things are getting done that needed doing.
For instance, Metra is using Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds to repair the viaducts across 59th Street, the Midway, and 60th Street. Much work still needs to be done at this station (we called the staircase from the 59th Street Metra platform the "Stairway to Hell" last spring). But still, it's a good project; no controversy there.
Also, the U of C has begun the construction of new headquarters for the Chicago Theological Seminary at 60th & Dorchester. Good project; controversy there. Remember the “community” garden on what is now the construction staging site abutting the actual construction? The gardeners insisted on remaining on the University-owned property during and after construction. They said the staging could just as well be done a couple of blocks away. Well, yeah, but at what cost, along with neighborhood disruption and safety problems as material and equipment is moved over the street?
That the Seminary is being built is good news. Even better: For once, a strident clique of Hyde Parkers was sent packing, along with their silly claims of entitlement and righteousness. For the greater good, the garden got moved. The carrots and radishes will grow again, perhaps on less sacred ground. But they will grow.
Nice as these two projects are, it’s too bad that they’re public works or U of C-sponsored. Private sector development in Hyde Park remains stymied by … well, just read some of the past entries on this blog.