Petition for Preservation
Francis W. Parker School has been trying to expand its institutional footprint in the East Lincoln Park neighborhood for many years. Parker, like many developers before them, would like to take down vintage buildings and disturb the character of this quiet residential neighborhood that welcomes so many diverse Chicagoans throughout the year as a gateway to Lincoln Park. Parker’s most recent push to expand has been secretly in the works since October, even though it threatens to displace many families from their homes—families who shop in our community, send their children to our local public schools, and are critical eyes and ears on our streets. In addition, Parker refuses to say what they will do with the properties.
We ask you to stand with us to defend Chicago’s century-old East Lincoln Park neighborhood, community, and place.
We herein petition our elected representatives to defend the rights of Chicagoans to freely pursue happy lives within our neighborhoods without fear of unfair, forced disruption of our community or eviction from our homes.
Specifically, we wish to preserve East Lincoln Park’s current balance of residential, commercial, and institutional use; its diverse, family-oriented demographic composition; the character of its architecture and landscape; and, as importantly, its vital tax base.
As every Chicagoan knows too well, citywide property taxes are increasing significantly. But Francis W. Parker School is incorporated as a non-profit and pays no taxes for the 6 acres of real estate it already owns—valuable real estate measured not in square feet, but in acres, for which its pays zero taxes. Now Parker wants to acquire more properties, and get more tax subsidies, leaving all Chicago citizens, not just those in Lincoln Park, to make up for the city’s lost revenue. Bottom line: 99% of the city’s population cannot afford the tuition at the Parker School, but we all subsidize Parker—a publicly-paid subsidy for not only the school’s operation, but now to underwrite its purchases of our neighbors’ homes.
Our three goals for our community are simple:
1. Preserve the current residential composition—the families and individuals whose lives will be uprooted if they are forced out of their homes, out of the neighborhood, and out of our local schools.
2. Preserve the historic aesthetic character—the vintage single-family and low-rise architecture and landscape of the neighborhood.
3. Preserve the tax base—of the neighborhood and the city as a whole.