by Michael R. Allen
During testimony at Monday’s Preservation Board meeting, Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr. (D-3rd) stated that he would no longer support demolition in the Hyde Park Historic District, a federally-certified local historic district located entirely within his ward.
According to Bosley, decades of demolition have taken their toll. After watching buildings fall during days when the Hyde Park neighborhood was more desperate for development, he sees mistakes in past practices. However, the alderman wants to see extensive new construction in the neighborhood because it makes the older buildings more attractive to rehabbers.
Bosley was testifying in favor of a plan to build two new houses on 25nd Street offered by Mark Zerillo in consultation with realtor, developer and Preservation Board Vice Chairperson Mary “One” Johnson. The houses would entail reuse of existing foundations poured in 1995 but never build upon that would support two-story brick-faced frame houses supposedly modeled on older flat-roofed flats on the neighborhood.
Cultural Resources Office Director Kate Shea opposed granting preliminary approval due to the project’s lack of compliance with the standards of the local district. (Read Shea’s report here.) The Preservation Board concurred; a motion to withhold preliminary approval made by John Burse passed by a vote of 5-1 with board member Ald. Terry Kennedy (D-18th) opposed.
The Preservation Board also granted preliminary approval to infill housing in Hyde Park proposed by a development group headed by Ken Nuernburger (more here). That plan called for demolition of a two-story commercial building at 2303 Salisbury and a two-story brick house at 3915 N. 25th Street, across the street from the foundations proposed for reuse by Zerillo and the Johnsons.
The Board approved demolition of the building on Salisbury by a vote of 8-1, with member Mike Killeen dissenting. The Board denied demolition of the building on 25th street by a vote of 5-3, with members David Richardson, Johnson and Kennedy dissenting. Chairman Richard Callow abstained from these votes.