“They are buying things all over the place.” said Marc Kaplan, of the North Side Action Network this past Saturday at a rally outside Graeme Stewart Elementary school.
Around 150 parents, students, and community members gathered to protest the planned school closings and development changes in the Uptown neighborhood.
Creating posters on the lawn while the school band warmed up near by getting ready for the March, Kaplan looked around across the street from the school, at “The Flats” located at the corner of Broadway and Sunnyside,
“My belief is, that when they saw this building, Stewart right, possibly on the closings lists, that they have already called the board and said ‘hey you know, you close this building down, we’ll buy it.’”
Kaplan is referencing developer Jay Michaels, and his company “The Flats of Chicago”, a high-end development group that bought up a number of properties in Uptown. Kaplan believes that the Stewart school will be transformed into pricey condominiums, much like “The Flats”, directly across the street, if it closed down as planned.
Stewart school is prime location; across from a Target, right off the red line, and just a 20- minute walk to the lakefront.
Kaplan and others attending the rally see the planned changes as edging out the low income residents to make room for luxury condominiums.
Eric Kerl, a Rogers Park resident attended the rallies simply as a supporter. He agrees that the changes are short sighted for the community. “Just on my way down here, there was a guy in Rogers Park that was stopping me on the street and asked me if I knew of any shelters around that he could go to stay in.” said Kerl.
These plans are being met with fervor from all sides of the community; parents and teachers that don’t want their schools to close, and resident who don’t want their neighborhood resources shut down and turned into pricey apartments complexes.