North of Howard is a very odd place to live these days. East of Bosworth, scores of condo conversions have taken place, yet there is never anyone on the street in this part of town. I walk my neighborhood a lot and I see the same few people trudging to and from the train every day. On the weekend and during the weekday, the only people I see on the streets where most of the conversions have and are still taking place are workmen and plenty of patrol cars. Is this what’s its like living in a bedroom community?
Howard Street is deserted as is the park, no doubt because of the camera. But it seems to this observer that the streets just west of Bosworth and north of Howard Street are more crowded than I remember from last year. Anxious mothers hurriedly shepherd their children back and forth from the Gale School, past all the double parked, gleaming cars booming with impossibly loud music and crowds gathered on sidewalks trying to communicate with each other above the din. Lots of patrol cars in this part of town too.
On my street there are some welcome developments. The Broadmoor, which has always been a trouble spot, apparently has new management as evidenced by the 2 stout security guards with sergeant stripes on their sleeves, patroling the sidewalk and standing watch outside the door. But even before that change took place, the drug dealers and general mischief makers who previously owned that sidewalk and entrance to the Broadmoor are gone. A similar group used to be camped out in front of the Northpoint Building, openly selling drugs and intimidating tenants and so far at least, there is no sign of that coordinated activity this year. Unfortunately, the security door to The Northpoint Building is propped open and has been for days. I guess some things never do change.
My appreciation goes out to Commander Rottner and all the officers who were involved in the undercover sting last year because so far at least, there seems to be a dramatic improvement on Bosworth.
Still, as a neighborhood, North of Howard offers very little of the stability and certainty most of us want and need from the place we call home. This neighborhood is in a constant state of flux and that process is not is even close to being complete. Almost all of Howard Street looks like it’s about to get redeveloped and the up zoning possibility on Paulina leaves that street in limbo for now.
We received a cordial letter from James Houlihan the other day. Mr. Houlihan, the Cook County Assessor explains that the average tax bill for a Rogers Park homeowner will increase by 30% if the Homeowners Exemption is not renewed by the State Legislature. Apparently the Homeowner Exemption is set to expire before the 2006 reassessment and is before the State Legislature for renewal.
Of course, this is the double edged sword of an improving neighborhood reflected in escalating values and the subsequent property tax burden that goes along with it. All in all, a 30% increase seems extraordinary for an unstable neighborhood who's future lies in the balance based on decisions that have yet to be made.
The Objective Observer