Spotlight on Chicago’s Chinatown Community: A Discussion with Alderman Sigcho-Lopez (05/10/22)

The CBA’s D.I.C.E Committee welcomes Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez of the 25th Ward who will join the CBA for a conversation about the social, economic and legal issues impacting Chicago’s Chinatown community. Alderman Sigcho-Lopez will share insights into the history of Chinatown and its new commercial and residential developments along the Chicago River. Alderman Sigcho-Lopez will specifically address the community’s stance on “The 78,” a $7 billion mixed-use project planned by developer Related Midwest for 62 acres of former railroad property along the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Near South Side community area. The project is intended to include up to 13 million square feet of new commercial, residential and institutional construction, 12 acres of open space, a new Red Line subway station at 15th Street, and a 20 percent affordable housing commitment for up to 10,000 residential units. The proposal to also include a casino in the megadevelopment has been met with significant pushback from the community, as residents have expressed concern that a casino will lead to more crime in the area, declining home values, contribute to heavy traffic and exacerbate problem gambling.

CBA leaders from a variety of legal backgrounds will lead a moderated discussion with Alderman Sigcho-Lopez about the changes “The 78” megadevelopment are likely bring to the community, the consequences to its residents and his thoughts on how the community and city can best navigate a new era of development and expansion.

About Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez: Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez was sworn in to serve on the Chicago City Council in May of 2019 as Alderman of Chicago's 25th Ward which includes the communities of Pilsen, Chinatown, Little Italy, BJ Wright Courts and ABLA Homes, West Loop, South Loop, McKinley Park, and Heart of Chicago. As an immigrant who came to the US alone as a teenager, Byron found care in every day teachers, coaches, and community members who gave him shelter, guidance, taught him the English language, and a gave him a pathway to a good education. Ten years ago, Byron settled in Pilsen, a historic immigrant working class neighborhood in Chicago and worked as an adult education teacher, founding the bilingual adult education program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He became politically active after former-Mayor Rahm Emanuel listed a neighborhood public school for closure where Byron volunteered as a soccer coach and lead community efforts to keep that school open which were ultimately successful. Later, Byron served as the Director of the Pilsen Alliance where he was a leader in the struggle against gentrification and displacement, co-founding the campaign to Lift the Ban on rent control in Illinois. As Alderman, Byron was the Chief Sponsor of an ordinance to curtail harassment of homeowners who have been targeted by predatory developers. Byron is a member of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. He holds a bachelors in Mathematics and Business Administration from Cumberland University, and a Masters in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a PhD candidate in the field of Urban Education Policy. To learn more, visit the website here: Office of the 25th Ward Alderman.

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Spotlight on Chicago’s Chinatown Community: A Discussion with Alderman Sigcho-Lopez Recorded (05/10/22)
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