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Lakeside Development ignoring community wishes

On behalf of the communities affected by the proposed Lakeside Development, we are writing to bring to attention to a matter of great concern — the disregard of the community by Daniel McCaffery, CEO of McCaffery Interests Inc. and developer for Lakeside Development, the largest local source of jobs in the region.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

McCaffery insults our community and our Coalition (35 member organizations strong) by asking that we wait until he forms his own advisory group for the Lakeside Development before discussing the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). The CBA outlines the commitments to the community by the developer. The Coalition has already done the legwork for the CBA, performing outreach, getting community input in drafting it, and obtaining feedback.

Mr. McCaffery continues to discount the community by not attending our meetings and refusing to recognize the Coalition. He didn’t even attend the last community town hall meeting, where 300 people attended and spoke in favor of the Coalition’s CBA.

Community support for the Coalition is shown by participation and feedback in several community meetings drawing 150 to 300 concerned residents, from the 5th, 7th, 8th, and 10th wards. The Coalition represents the residents, who deserve to be at the decision-making table throughout the development process.

As the year comes to a close, we are outraged that our efforts over the last two years are marginalized by McCaffery. In an email to our group he said “It is not productive for Lakeside, LLC or the community to discuss a CBA document that has not been fully vetted with the community and its leadership.”

We ask, how does a developer come into communities with plans that directly affect residents and judge their worthiness? We are appalled and concerned that after nearly two years working toward a CBA, our Coalition is not considered representative of the community. How does McCaffery believe he can both refuse to meet and judge who we are? We are voting citizens of Chicago and we want a dialogue about the developer’s intensions. We want a commitment to hire locally and to begin training now so that residents and families of former U.S. Steel workers, even our unborn grandchildren, can be ready and have top consideration for jobs and business opportunities at Lakeside.

We, the Coalition, believe that local residents need to KNOW that jobs for our children and our grandchildren should not be denied.

We urge our elected officials to listen to the community and support the Coalition’s CBA, so that a respectful, mutually beneficial relationship can continue at Lakeside for decades to come. We must work together to build the Lakeside Community. This starts with having the CBA agreement being signed and the activities monitored for the duration of the project. The voice of our community should not be ignored and the completion of this Community Benefits Agreement should NOT be delayed!

Amalia NietoGomez, executive director of Alliance of the SouthEast on behalf of the Coalition for a Lakeside CBA