One of my all time favorite songs is “Do You Believe In Magic” by the Lovin’ Spoonful. So what’s that got to do with a building collapse? Well, a lot of people are having a difficult time grasping the concept of “Do You Believe In Coincidence”. We just heard the 49th Ward zoning committee approved the plans for Wisdom Bridge, upzoning for the 7 storey building etc. The email blast said the community approved the latest plan. However, there never was a call for a show of hands – just the usual procedure of show and talk. It’s supposed to – and I hope – be an economic development on Howard. However, that’s what was said about the Gateway Mall a few years before I moved here. I stated twice in the public meetings that if this building is also home to NFP’s here, then there’s nothing for me to purchase to boost the economy. But…back to today.
This morning was the first time pedestrians could walk on the north side of Howard following sidewalk replacement after fiber optics went during the dead of winter. They cut a strip in the middle of the sidewalk, installed the fiber optics and patched it with cement that was rough due either to a speedy patch up or the cold January weather. So for a few days, we ALL had to walk on the south side of Howard.
So what happened this afternoon? Part of the façade of Wisdom Bridge Theatre fell onto the sidewalk on the south side of Howard.
Of course, another email blast came tonight to let us know the roof collapsed and no one was injured. That’s good – but the tone of the email almost seemed joyous. Or maybe I’ve just seen too many catastrophes in 8 years up here. Last week I saw several squad cars and a paddy wagon from the train as it pulled into the Howard Station. I walked down Ashland to Rogers to learn that a man had been murdered in his apartment. Then last night I heard yelling – which happens a lot in front of certain buildings here. Around 10:15 pm or so, I heard tires squealing and more yelling. I looked out and saw undercover police, blue and whites and lots of officers scouring residential yards across the street. I heard tonight that they caught their person – what else – drugs.
Mr. Aronson and Mr. Moore – you have a lot of work to do on Howard Street. Since neither of you LIVE here – please put thought into what the BIG PICTURE is if you dare speak the words economic development. I really can’t envision North Shore residents parking behind the Howard Theatre and walking to this site for a fabulous evening of dining and theatre if the gunslingers are shooting and the drug dealers are asking them “you straight?”. That’s what we have been dealing with – isn’t it time to change something here?
This is what the North Shore folks will see if some meaningful plans aren’t put into action.
In closing, at least the demolition crew did it right. Note the water spraying as the façade came down. Spraying is required by the EPA to stop dust contamination from asbestos etc., but was NOT done when the Lerner Building was torn down, the Adelphi Theatre and the North Shore School. AND, all three are un-developed, barren patches or holes in the ground.