Thursday, July 12, 2007

7308 N. Rogers - New shade of brown, but no facelift.

This is an update. Perhaps, someone paid a little attention to a recent post. Perhaps, there was a tag team effort by Craig Gerhardt, a formal City complaint, and an attentive civil servant or two. Maybe the landlord decided to do something or Joe decided to put some pressure on a conceivable campaign contributor. There is now a consistent shade of 'diarhea brown' on the wood paneling with two particle boards that cover the plexiglass excuses for windows. The pepto bismol pink is gone, but the useless telephone numbers remain. You still can't rent from these folks; the number is disconnected.

The new particle board panels obstruct the view into the world of the decrepid office space at 7308 N. Rogers. However, this rehab/teardown still lives and empty Malt liquor and Budweisser cans enhance the weeded landscaping job. What will it take to create some accountability or attention? I admit that the Jay Medicar Garage just west of Damen is not much of a view, either.

I wonder whether the landlord would allow this to happen in his neighborhood? Would his neighborhood, perhaps in the suburbs, launch a lawsuit to enjoin what they consider a nuisance? Would the Chancery Court in the Daley Center consider the complaint and enjoin? Does the city have an interest in the indoor property or care? I hope that the landlord begins to care. Does the landlord really want to rent the space or are they landbanking for an unreasonable buyer to pay more than its market value?

How much longer will it take for this building to be rehabilitated or removed? The next door neighbors probably wonder? What does it look like next door? Here is a photo to show the contrast. This is a photo from where the razed Chinese Buffet once had its parking lot. As some of us know, the restaurant owner's son was unable to attract enough customers, so the property is now a series of townhomes, photographed below.

Does the landlord at 7308 N. Rogers live in some posh corner of the universe near Ravinia Park or the Wilmette Lakefront? What would this landlord think if someone allowed a home or commercial property near their residence to remain in this pathetic condition for an extended period of time? Do they have any sense of the effect that they may have on the people who comment as they drive or walk past 7308 N. Rogers? There is likely brick or some sort of tile under the warped wood paneling begging to be pulled off the exterior and cleaned up. This paint and particle board job looks like a reaction to a city warning.

The nearby graffiti can be removed with a little elbow grease. The boarded up windows have been the victim of layers of paint, so what is another coat of paint or a call to Graffiti busters? The challenge is likely a combination of the landlord and some tagger. Many of us in the neighborhood will clean up our property, perhaps clean up others property, as well. Yet, we appreciate that there is an inconsistent mix of landlords, some more vigiliant than others, some of whom troll lower than others for tenants who really don't care.

The city claims that it needs money, yet it refuses to work with or fine those who create and tolerate blight in the community and violate the law, perhaps unintentionally, as stated. Why ignore blight? Why not come up with reasonable ways to stop vandalism and indifference? How? Well, the city has video cameras, so it becomes a battle over vandalism versus privacy, among other things.

How can the city and its neighbors handle their challenged kid or neighbor's kid when they believe that they are tagging the neighborhood? How can we spend that extra hour setting an example for others? How can we change our surroundings and the attitudes around us. Property values will not spiral upward simply because a few people care. The grass will always seem greener in some other pasture and those who don't know the potential of Rogers Park will graze elsewhere.

Some of my neighbors have pointed out that some of our Alderman's better supporters rent property and live outside the neighborhood. We also know that some of his better supporters are union members who have chosen 'not to live' in the 49th Ward, but like to influence it. If the SEIU has members who can make a difference, then I can only hope that they make their presence known, not simply by trying to pursuade us to vote one way or another.

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