City, University officials discuss possibility of expanding police patrols into WoodlawnBy Peter Schuler
Originally developed in anticipation of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the Woodlawn community became home to at least half of the Universitys faculty by the 1930s.
Now, decades later, Rose Dyrud, Supervisor of Housing Services, reports that increasing numbers of University community members are once again moving into Woodlawn.
The University is working with the City of Chicago, 20th Ward Alderman Arenda Troutmanówhose ward includes the entire Woodlawn neighborhoodólocal groups and other organizations on a variety of initiatives. One initiative is the residential redevelopment of 63rd Street into 140 units of market-rate housing.
Another example of the cooperative activity in Woodlawn is an agreement among the University Police Department, the Chicago Police Department and community leaders to extend the University Police patrol area into a section of north Woodlawn, pending approval by the Chicago City Council.
The new area that would be jointly patrolled by University and City of Chicago police officers would run from 61st to 64th streets and would be bounded by Stony Island Avenue on the east and Evans Avenue (one block west of Cottage Grove Avenue) on the west.
Troutman organized a community meeting that took place at the Harris YWCA Saturday, June 9, to discuss the plan. Troutman was joined on the dais by Rudy Nimocks, Executive Director of the University Police Department, Terry Hillard, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, and longtime Woodlawn community leaders Bishop Arthur Brazier of the Apostolic Church of God and the Rev. Leon Finney Jr. of the Woodlawn Organization.
Both Nimocks and Hillard emphasized that City and University police would work in close cooperation as they have done in Hyde Park, where joint patrolling has been in effect for many years and has been successful. Troutman, Brazier and Finney all voiced strong support. In response to questions about a possible expansion of the program, Finney said he would immediately organize a task force to make recommendations to the community and the University.
Nimocks provided details on the patrol initiative, saying it is intended to supplement the efforts of the Chicago Police Department. He explained the Universitys community oriented policing, which includes rapid response to calls (on average two to three minutes), nighttime escort service from CTA stops and special house monitoring when requested by residents away from home.
In August, the City Council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance that will authorize the joint patrols, tentatively scheduled to begin in October.
In the meantime, numerous rehab and new housing projects in Woodlawn are underway or near completion. Although a small percentage of University students have always lived in rental apartments in Woodlawn, we now see faculty and staff buying or renting in the neighborhood, Dyrud added.
The University already has extended its second-mortgage program for its employees to include the area between Cottage Grove Avenue and the lakefront as far south as 63rd Street, she said.