Harold Ickes News


Things have changed dramatically here in Ickes. On one hand, they remain the same. But some things have gotten worse.

The most dramatic change has occurred all along the State Street Corridor, where public housing has had its imposing presence whittled down to flatlands of mystery.

Who knows where all the families have gone? Who knows what will occupy the vacated land? Who knows when and if sufficient housing for low-income families will rise from the demolition of “a city within a city?”

Another real change coincided with the heating up of the Illinois state primary election. All of last year, a change seemed possible to the residents unhappily tolerating the overwhelming, constant onslaught of strangers. The new lighting systems shone bravely down on the hundreds of milling males and females who homelessly paced the front, back and inner catacombs of the public housing systems seeking sweet release.

During the third week of February, when the politicians’ faces and platforms became more constant on television, fewer groups of seekers struggled down the paths in pain.

Fewer families’ faces waited to transact. Suddenly, riding down State Street as I did daily, there were no more swarms of loiterers claiming parking spaces, cluttering lobbies, overcrowding elevators and spitting where they pleased. By the time primary day came, the scenes in front of, inside of, and in the surrounding places were sterile where they were once so infected. One can truthfully say the State Street Corridor is clean as a whistle. At last! Whew!

Nevertheless, the battle for safe, decent parking remains the same in this development for residents of 2310 – 2250- 2240 S. State St. and other buildings.

We risk our well being just coming from work trying to park in a dry place, away from deep mud pits, serious pools of water and unfair parking tickets.

My experience has been to be the only recipient of 2 parking tickets in a long line of cars parked so close to a fence that no one could even open the passenger side door. Many of my neighbors have paid, contested, and I’m sure ignored a slew of unfair tickets.

I spoke to the new main manager, Mr. Williams, about the problem and he said, “I’m working on it. We will be taking care of that soon.”

I also asked if he could supply me with a letter to explain our circumstances with the parking so that we wouldn’t have to keep paying for tickets that are given out wrongfully.

He said, “Tell me what you need and I’ll get it for you.”

Well, that’s the last I’ve heard from management. I would hope this would be the end of the frustration surrounding the parking here.

However, it’s been back to square one. The construction company has ripped up the pavement from State Street on 23rd Street moving west to Federal Street. You cannot drive near the building you live in, so you take your chances on State Street.

There was no warning. They left big holes in the ground where water has pooled. It’s dangerous walking for children and seniors and impossible for a toddler. There are no barriers, no notices revealing a time for repairs, nothing. Disrespected again.

We do expect for the apartments to be renovated. But why do we have to suffer the depths of disrepair before the dawn of renewal?

Again, if you can believe it, the mailboxes in my building – as in many others – look horrible. A few of them don’t even lock. There is a space between two banks of boxes six inches wide and 12 inches deep used for garbage, debris and trash.

The door leading from the front hallway to the back exit is dangerously hanging on one hinge over the lower one, so the top of the door leans, lying in wait to fall on some unsuspecting victim. Management seems not to care. It’s been hanging this way for a month.

The bright spot in all this was the day we delivered the latest edition of RJ. The children, boys and girls, enjoyed the job. They got paid, learned skills and gained pride in a job well done.

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