Harold Ickes News

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There’s one thing for sure you can always count on in Harold Ickes Homes. Common conveniences such as a public laundry room, an elevator that works and work orders being filled in a timely manner are things you will never get.

For years, our Local Advisory Council President, Gloria Williams, has been urging each management group that replaces the last one to simply supply the residents with clean, safe, essential laundry facilities.

To this date, we have no such facility, which causes residents to own and operate their own personal washers that, while in use, spinning away dirty water, flood other residents’ apartments, hallways and stairwells.

This causes a decay of the floor tiles and cement stairwell steps and damage to pipes and flooded bathroom walls, not to mention destruction of personal belongings. Ickes residents want CHA to take a look at this picture and fix it.

Residents’ Journal discussed the laundry room with Williams.

GW: “[Management] learned that something was wrong with the pipes and they are trying to get estimates to fix them from some of the outside companies but to date have not been successful.”

Meanwhile, there are still thousands of dollars worth of laundry equipment on the premises steadily depreciating.

Moving right along, RJ inquired about the recent release of all trade workers, such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Williams said that “Management let this work force go as of December 31, 2003. They did tell me in advance.”

RJ: Were the residents informed?

GW: I don’t know.

RJ: It was a surprise to me and other residents who were chatting about it.

What do we do now? Who will do their work?

GW: The gentlemen who have been selected to do them.

RJ: What qualifies them to do these work orders?

GW: Well, I understand that they won’t be able to do major jobs.

RJ then discussed with Williams future redevelopment plans for the complex.

RJ: Are there plans to tear down Ickes?

GW: I know of no plans to tear down Ickes.

“If they have plans they have not revealed them to me. If the people down here are so worried about it, we need to take responsibility and do something about it.

“Someone who knows that they live next door to squatters and other residents living rent free, this is a problem.”

A Special Tour at N.T.A.
On January 23, Residents’ Journal, along with several others, toured the National Teachers’ Academy, the newest building located in the Harold L. Ickes development boundaries. Many residents see the school as the fulfillment of the promise of quality education in public schools.

A state of the art school is to be built in Ickes, Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd) told the residents of that family housing development in 1998, and she was right on target. The architect, De Stefano and Partner sLTD, upon completion of the building, described it as unique within the Chicago public school system, a 162,000-square-foot elementary school complex designed to function as a showcase of state-of-the-art technology for video observation, tele-conferences and distance learning, among other things.

Principal Linda Ford gave us a verbal overview of the development of this innovative education complex while we enjoyed coffee and donuts.

Outside the classrooms were students’ art work on exhibit. Huge bulletins boards situated by the room reflected the main theme the classroom teachers are using to connect the curriculum to eager students’ minds.

In a special teachers resources room, the group was treated to a special presentation by a first grader who fluently read a selected passage for us. It gave us a taste of the kind of education available to our young children–accomplishments underway within the walls of N.T.A.

Speaking of walls, on the third floor there are rocks, trees and hut roofs that are intended to convey the feeling of being in an African village. When one steps from the elevator onto the third floor, one encounters a huge sign reading “welcome to our third floor village.” All around the school, there are shapes of the African continent with small feet on the edges. Everywhere we went, children and teachers were busy maintaining an even level of teacher-student interaction.

Additional sites visited included the swimming pool with organized swim lessons and the art class with an extensive array of materials and students’ art work.

The room that houses the television studio, where students learn every part of production of a television show, captured four of our entourage and we couldn’t find them for a while and when we did, they were simply star struck.

It was truly an adventure in the inspection of a unique educational setting well worth the trip. Thank you Principal Ford!

Since then, I’ve learned that many of the parents who live in Ickes have not toured the school. I think maybe, just maybe, it can be done again.

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