Daley Says Farewell at Welles Park

By Samantha Abernethy with photos by Sarah Tilotta. | Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mayor Daley addresses hundreds of community members at Welles Park. Photo by Sarah Tilotta.

Mayor Richard M. Daley brought his farewell tour to the 47th ward on Friday. While he has made individual stops in most wards, he consolidated this event to bid adieu to the 32nd, 33rd and 47th ward.

Mayor Daley arrived at Welles Park, flanked by County Commissioner John Fritchey, at left, and 47th Ward Ald. Gene Schulter. Photo by Sarah Tilotta.

The event doubled as a farewell for outgoing 47th Ward Ald. Gene Schulter, who started as aldermen 36 years ago, under a different Mayor Daley.

Mayor Daley strolled into Welles Park, flanked by Schulter and County Commissioner John Fritchey.

Community leaders, who spoke of Daley’s achievements, include Bau Graves, executive director of the Old Town School of Folk Music; Liz Griffiths, executive director of the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce; Joel Nickson, chef and owner of Wishbone restaurants; and Yolanda Luszcz, owner of Gene’s Sausage Shop.

State rep. Deb Mell and Ald. Schulter’s wife Rosemary also accompanied the mayor on stage, but did not speak.

Daley looks on as community members tout his local achievements. Photo by Sarah Tilotta.

The 32nd Ward office said Ald. Scott Waguespack was invited the day before, but was unable to attend.

The crowd was composed mostly of students from the nearby elementary schools. The more restless little viewers occupied themselves on the jungle gym behind the podium.

The farewell tour is Daley’s attempt to shore up his legacy as his 22-year reign comes to a close. In his speech, Daley spoke about his efforts to make Chicago more environmentally friendly and more welcoming to artists. He also touched on the ever-controversial TIFs, calling them a vital source of revenue, and improvements at Chicago Public Schools.

Ald. Schulter also emphasized green spaces and art programs when he took the podium to thank constituents. He encouraged more programs for children and for seniors, saying they are “the two most vulnerable populations in any community.”

Speakers focused on small business loans and incentives that brought them to where they are now.

Photo by Sarah Tilotta.

On either side of the podium, photos of area parks and schools were on display like a family photo album.

On display: Cleveland Campus Park, 3121 W. Byron; Bucktown-Wicker Park Branch Library, 1701 N. Milwaukee; Lincoln-Belmont Branch Library, 1659 W. Melrose; Lake View High School Campus Park, 4015 N. Ashland, completed in 1997; Mary Hartwell Catherwood Apartments, CHA senior building in Lakeview; Columbus School Campus Park, 1003 N. Leavitt, completed in 2008.

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  • http://www.alrpra.com JNickAugustineJD

    Thank you for decades of dedication to the City of Chicago. I wish you and your family the best!

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