Last night about 50 people attended the CAPS meeting for beat 931, about twice the usual turnout. The additional people were mostly from the 4700 and 4800 blocks of South Marshfield Avenue. Apparently there's been an effort to organize neighbors to get new sidewalks, street resurfacing and some action to clean up the parking lot at 48th and Marshfield. One of the families on 4800 got in touch with an organizer for the Illinois Hunger Coalition, and together they got about two dozen additional people to turn out as part of their effort around street improvements.
Alderman Willie Cochran, the new alderman in the 20th Ward, was there as well. The people from 4800 told me they had been calling all last week to get him to come. At first they were told he would be there, then at the last minute a staffer said he wouldn't make it, so they didn't press everybody to come. Then he made it after all, and they were sad they hadn't shown their full muscle. If that's what the did without really trying, I'm still impressed.
I got there late so I'm unclear what action if any will be taken about the parking lot, which is full of empty beer bottles, condoms, etc. Cochran did not make any specific promises about their block, just said there will be work done but some of it may have to wait until spring. As for the sidewalks, any sidewalks that are cracked and uneven by more than two inches are supposed to be fixed by the Department of Transportation, not the alderman's office. He told them to call 311 and his office and his people would bug Transportation for them, too.
There was also much talk about the shooting on Saturday night. A man was shot and killed at 48th and Marshfield. The shots came from the railroad viaduct. Someone at the meeting was a witness-she was a friend of the victim and had been standing with him when he was killed. She asked whether the city could put lights up on the railroad tracks to make it easier to see what's going on up there. Ald. Cochran told her that because the railroad owns the land they would have to decide to put up lights. That viaduct has been a problem for years--people go up there with guns and use it as a sniper's perch.
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