Green (backs) is the color of the new development code
We seem to have a new invasive species making its presence felt in the Elmwood Village; architectural elephants! First two sprang up between West Utica and Bryant. Then one popped up across from Spot Coffee near Cleveland Avenue. A new one is growing at Delevan and Elmwood.
The elephants are fed by a handful of developers with money to move around. They’re nurtured by planning and zoning boards that say “Yeah, sure! We talked to the neighbors and a few even like elephants, so go right ahead!” The biggest elephant, coming soon to Forest and Elmwood, will really be king of the jungle, although now that Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. has purchased a big chunk of the street north of Bidwell Parkway perhaps there will be a challenge for who is king.
The Catch-22 in this invasion of budget-Bauhaus architectural animals is that developers see money in attracting more people to live in our neighborhood because of its character. Then they plow ahead and destroy its character with large, out-of-scale buildings.
When I grew up here, we didn’t have an Elmwood Village. We just called it the West Side. If we get more and more elephants moving in, it won’t be a village anymore. It will become a five-story urban apartment district. The drafts I’ve seen of the new Green Code do not seem to address this problem in any significant way. The only green in the Green Code is the color of money to be made by developers.
Change isn’t always progress. “Development” often enriches the few at a great cost to the many: me and all my neighbors.