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Delores Holmes has been instrumental in many positive changes in the 5th Ward, initially as the executive director of Family Focus and as the 5th Ward alderman for the past eight years. It’s an overwhelming job for anyone but she has worked tirelessly to improve the neighborhoods most in need of attention, through economic and housing development and programs for families and youth.
We have lived east of Green Bay Rd. in the 5th Ward since 1964. Most of the 5th Ward is west of Green Bay, and the focus has traditionally been on the larger issues of the West Side. Over the years our neighborhood has undergone a huge shift as older neighbors have moved or passed away and their homes have been sold to investors as rental properties.
Some of these properties had been turned into rooming houses without permits, and Ald. Holmes introduced an ordinance that requires a hearing before a special use permit can be issued. These conversions brought overcrowding and other problems. Eventually neighbors contacted Ald. Holmes, who quickly responded and organized a meeting to hear us out and subsequently she began to include the City of Evanston, the Evanston Police Dept. and Northwestern University officials in a dialogue with us to improve conditions that we had been dealing with for many years. It’s a work in progress but we have come a long way since we began the process.
Other neighborhoods in the ward, on both east and west sides, have improved significantly since Ald. Holmes’ election. The Simpson – Ashland corridor has been revived with an attractive upgrade of buildings once used for small manufacturing and the shuttered Fannie’s restaurant. The area has attracted designers, tech businesses and a number of other small businesses, as well as loft apartments. BooCoo Cultural Center on the corner of Church St. and Dodge Ave. is a huge asset to the community and fills a need for a gathering place for ETHS students after school.
On the East Side, Foster St. has new businesses in a strip of buildings that were vacant for a long time. Maple Ave. south of Foster also has a new beauty salon, SLK, soon celebrating its first anniversary, and a restaurant in the works. Landlords in our neighborhood have upgraded their properties, with Ald. Holmes supporting the efforts of strict property standard regulations by the City.
Delores Holmes has a long history of activism in Evanston, and one would think that after so many years of working 24/7 as 5th Ward alderman she had earned a well deserved rest but she sees more that needs to be done and she is enthusiastic about continuing the work.
These are just a few of the reasons why she should be re-elected to another term.