Alderman John Arena has prioritized promoting economic development in the Ward to help small businesses grow, fill up empty store fronts and office space, and create more local job opportunities. He has helped bring new economic activity in every corner of the Ward, including over 80 new businesses from Leadbelly Burgers in Gladstone Park to Berrista Coffee in Old Irving Park. By improving the Ward’s infrastructure, inviting businesses to see the area and actively marketing 45th Ward locations to potential employers, John has begun a virtuous cycle of economic growth that he will continue over the next four years.
John has focused on infrastructure improvements that give businesses access to the city services they need and give families the safe community they deserve. During his first term, he has filled more than 3,700 potholes and repaved almost 20 miles of streets. John has also worked to make our neighborhoods more vibrant, with new playgrounds built, hundreds of graffiti cleanups, and dozens of new trees planted.
RESPONSIVE AND TRANSPARENT WARD OFFICE
John has made himself accessible to the community by keeping his Ward Office open to residents more than 50 hours a week. He holds a weekly Ward Night every Tuesday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at 4754 N. Milwaukee Ave. Neighbors can come in and share any concerns they have with him face to face. From holding community meetings any time a major decision needs to be made to giving neighbors a vote on how their tax dollars are spent each year through the participatory budgeting process, John works hard to make sure he hears input from residents every step of the way.
John has worked hard to maintain the 45th Ward’s high-quality schools. With his help, 22 new classrooms were added to Hitch Elementary, Prussing Elementary, and Gray Elementary, and a new playlot was built at Beaubien Elementary. John believes parents and teachers should have a stronger say in how their neighborhood schools are run. That is why he has been a strong and consistent advocate of an elected school board that would be more responsive to the needs of our community’s families.
Chicago needs to hire more police officers to improve public safety. The city is hiring 500 new officers and needs to hire 1,000 more to keep up with recent attrition.
CPD resources should be devoted to neighborhood police officers walking or driving a beat and developing relationships in their communities. Addressing crime in a reactionary fashion through mobile saturation teams is less effective than investing in officers who work consistently in an area and know the people who live there.
The 45th Ward is one of the safest areas in the city, but we must keep our police officers in our neighborhoods to maintain that level of safety.