Officials weighing Ronan Park expansion

City officials are eyeing an expansion to Ronan Park, after a developer backed out of plans to build condos on 1.6 acres of land next to the park.

Nearly 50 residents of the 33rd Ward attended a meeting Wednesday to hear about the expansion plan, which is backed by Alderman Richard F. Mell. Some were in favor of the expansion, while others wondered about finances.
"This all sounds good, but who is going to pay for this? If there is nothing commercial being built there, where would we get the revenue," asked
neighborhood resident Ray Steigerwald.

Mell said the projected would be funded by the Lawrence/Kedzie TIF.

TIFs, or tax increment financing districts, are established to fund improvements in areas suffering from blight. The TIF diverts a portion of property taxes generated in the district to redevelopment.

Another resident, Brenda J. Mahoney, said she was worried about traffic.

"Are you doing anything to help with the increased traffic flow that the park will create," she asked.

Mell said the expansion work would include a traffic study.

Ronan Park, is located at 2945 W. Lawrence Ave. The 1.6 acre expansion would be at the northeast corner of the park.

City officials showed a preliminary plan for the park that includes new entrances, as well as rerouting a walking path along the Chicago River

The developer had planned to build 88 condos adjacent to the park. But because of material costs and the housing slump, he was unable to sell all of the units, officials said.