On May 15, the Illinois Senate passed H.B. 4496, which sets a deadline for the Ill. Dept. of Public Health to update the state’s plumbing code to be more consistent with leading technologies and methods that promote water conservation and safety. The Illinois House of Representatives already approved the bill; the next step is for Gov. Pat Quinn to sign this bill into law.
Where We Stand
Ill. House Bill 4496, sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente (D-Lincolnshire) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood), begins the important process of updating the Illinois Plumbing Code and sets a deadline for completion: the end of May 2013.
For several years, MPC and its partners, particularly Openlands, have been advocating for an update of the plumbing code to allow for rainwater harvesting for non-potable reuse, such as flushing toilets. There are no statewide minimum safety standards for rainwater harvesting systems, which forces property owners and developers who want to save water by installing such systems to seek complicated, time-consuming variances from their local municipalities.
Our advocacy also has ensured that a range of stakeholders – including the pipe trades, architects, public works officials, environmental advocates, and planning advocates including MPC and Openlands – will be involved in this comprehensive and overdue update of the state’s plumbing code.
Project Progress Report
Reconnecting Neighborhoods: Near West Side
Chicago’s Near West Side is one of three mixed-income communities included in Reconnecting Neighborhoods, an MPC community engagement project commissioned by the City of Chicago in 2008, to study the potential for new transit, retail and pedestrian access. MPC identified strong community support for a new station on the CTA Green Line and redevelopment around the United Center.
Earlier this month, United Center’s owners Jerry Reinsdorf, of the Chicago Bulls, and Rocky Wirtz, of the Chicago Blackhawks, announced plans to build 260,000 sq. ft. retail complex on the H parking lot to the east of the stadium.
As Joanna Trotter relates in her blog, Retooling the United Center: New expansion proposal made public, the United Center leadership were active partners in Reconnecting Neighborhoods, and asked MPC to analyze the economic impact of their preliminary redevelopment plans. MPC determined the expansion would create approximately 289 construction jobs, 505 new long-term service industry jobs, almost $35 million in additional income through the first 16 months, and almost $2 million in additional state and local tax revenues.
Principles of Placemaking
Albany Park's Multicultural Sculpture Park and Healing Garden
For the past year, a pair of large art installations has claimed a home amidst the trees and otherwise bare park space at Argyle Street and Lawrence Avenue in Chicago’s Albany Park community. ‘‘Happy Family” and “Come. Unity” are the first sculpture pieces to adorn the community-planned and managed Multicultural Sculpture Park and Healing Garden
in an underused area of Ronan Park.
The concept for the Sculpture Park and Healing Garden began in 2006, as residents voiced a desire for more quality parks in their community during a comprehensive planning meeting led by the North River Commission. Among many topics that emerged was the residents’ resounding desire for a healing garden to help local refugees from war-torn countries – an idea initiated by Kompha Seth, co-founder and president of the Cambodian Association of Illinois and lead project partner. Since then, residents, local organizations and institutions have been pouring their community efforts into a plan to revamp the currently underutilized open space into a culturally rich and thoughtfully designed healing garden and park.
Read more about Albany Park’s Multicultural Sculpture Park and Healing Garden on MPC’s website
Visit the website of the Multicultural Sculpture Park and Healing Garden