Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the creation of a 13-member advisory committee on Thursday
that will recommend ways to reuse the city's 50 shuttered neighborhood
school buildings in order to turn them into community assets.
city of Chicago has an opportunity to use these facilities to
revitalize our economy in key areas and expand opportunity for
Chicagoans in our neighborhoods,” the mayor said in a statement
regarding the new committee. “I look forward to reviewing the
recommendations after the committee’s extensive community input process
and careful consideration of what is best for our future.”
the school-closing process, a large number of community members said
they were worried that charter schools would set up shop in the empty
buildings or that the shuttered schools would be left vacant and attract
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has said
multiple times that charters would not take over the buildings. And the
chair of the new committee, Wilbur Milhouse with Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc., said the buildings would not be left empty once the committee recommends what to do with them.
"There's a lot that needs to be done first before we can recommend what to do with these buildings," Milhouse told DNAinfo Chicago. "But whatever uses are decided on, it must be a revenue-generating development that could be sustainable for years to come."
The committee is set to have its first meeting after the Labor Day holiday.
Those on the committee include:
Wilbur Milhouse (Chair), Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc.
Andy Mooney, Department of Housing and Economic Development
Shirley Calahan, Calahan Family Foundation
Ricardo Estrada, Metropolitan Family Services
Jim Capraro, former Director of Greater Southwest Development Corp.
Linda Goodman, Goodman Williams Group
Tom Tyrell, Chicago Public Schools
Raul Raymundo, Resurrection Project
Susana Vasquez, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Julia Stasch, MacArthur Foundation
Bernita Johnson, Quad Community Development Corp
Alds. Latasha Thomas (17th) and Rey Colon (35th)