Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) announced the formation of his new Ward Council in last Friday’s weekly email to constituents and invited each new block club to choose and send a representative to the Ward Council for their first meeting in late October.
“My vision is a Ward Council made up of block club representatives and delegates from chambers of commerce who will advise me on important decisions,” said Pawar in the email. “We will meet monthly to discuss current issues, such as city services, legislative policies, and other community concerns.”
For areas of the 47th Ward that do not yet have block clubs, residents can become part of the Ward Council, but they’ll have to start a block club first, Pawar told Center Square Journal this afternoon.
“We’re asking people to identify a block club that is in their area, or we can help them start a block club,” said Pawar. “We can look to see if there’s been a block party in your area. So there if is some informal organization going on, we can connect you with them as well. The block clubs can be as formal or informal as you like, but there needs to be some structure.”
The 47th Ward Council was an initiative promised in Pawar’s campaign last spring. No other Chicago ward has such a body and it is unclear how strong the group will be since there is no city legislation empowering the body. Indeed, most aldermanic authority, such as approval of zoning plans, approving TIF projects and directing city projects in their home ward, derives from City Council custom, not actual legislative authority. As a result, all the authority for the 47th Ward Council will be derived from Pawar’s influence in City Council. In addition, if he choose to overrule the Ward Council, its members would have no recourse.
Block clubs interested in sending a representative to the Ward Council should contact Dara Salk at email@example.com or Dan Kleinman at Dan@chicago47.org in Ald. Pawar’s office.