Last night at Pui Tak Community Center, local representatives and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning unveiled the new Chinatown Vision Plan, a proposed set of developments and initiatives to sustain and support the community. While currently in draft form and filled with ideas that may be years away, the plan does suggest where Chinatown may go after recent high-profile projects such as Ping Tom Park and the forthcoming Chinatown Branch Library (which helped the neighborhood win the Curbed Cup last year).
CMAP Senior Planner Stephen Ostrander laid out an overview that touched upon development, safety, education, public spaces and improvements for the area's elderly population. One of the main strategies going forward is linking the old and new Chinatown by straightening out Wentworth Avenue just before it passes through the Chinatown Gate at Cermak Road. Along with the proposed Wells-Wentworth connector, a new direct link to the Loop, these new routes will activate nearby communities as well as open up the vacant 63-acre riverfront lot north of Ping Tom Park. Paired with suggested improvements to the snarled Archer/Cermak/Princeton intersection, these changes would facilitate more growth north of Archer Avenue (new Chinatown), and equip the area to take better advantage of the additional traffic and tourism coming to McCormick Place.
The plan included this map, showcasing future areas of development in and near Chinatown.
Other potential developments suggested in the plan include senior housing at a site north of Tan Court near Lee Parkway, and development of the empty lots near the forthcoming library.
Alderman Solis, who spoke earlier in the evening about his intention to help this neighborhood become the premier Chinese-American community in the country, said the Community Vision Plan will also be a catalyst for business and development, hopefully working in parallel with developments at McCormick Place.
"Chinatown has already proven itself as a great area," says Alderman Solis. "This plan is bringing more players into the area. I've heard from many Chinese investors looking to invest in this area."