Tuesday night 47th Ward Ald. Eugene Schulter delivered a “State of the Ward” speech to Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce members at Pizza DOC, 2251 W. Lawrence Ave. Schulter told his friendly audience about various projects and funds he has worked to deliver to the ward, as well as his efforts to combat a recent city 2011 budget proposal to zero out city subsidies for neighborhood chambers of commerce.
Schulter used his thirty-minute speech to tout his strong support for continued city subsidies to local chambers of commerce, which brings over $230,000 to groups in the 47th Ward. Schulter also took credit for bringing a laundry list of infrastructure projects including streetscapes and the new Metra Lawrence Avenue station.
Schulter described some larger vision programs, like a project to turn the alley east of Lincoln Square into a pedestrian-friendly area for shops and an effort to turn the Lincoln Square farmers’ market into a year-round green market like Milwaukee’s Public Market.
On the delegate agency program, Schulter vowed to vote against the 2011 budget unless funds to area chambers of commerce are restored.
“I will not vote for this budget unless we do something about this issue,” Schulter said.
In a later interview, 47th Ward Alderman candidate Ameya Pawar said he agrees that the delegate agency funds should be restored, but that the city’s 2011 $630 million budget deficit requires Chicago to, “find an alternative way to fund chambers of commerce. As Mr. [Rahm] Emanuel put it, there are no sacred cows. We need to look at other line items.”
Pawar also took issue with the proposed Lawrence Avenue streetscape, “If we’re going to be using TIF dollars, I think there needs to be a community dialogue to be had,” he said. “If we’re taking money from schools to pay for streetscaping, we need to have a real discussion.”