WHAT WE KNOW:
-This is Rahm’s project, happening Rahm’s way. And Lori has embraced it 100%.
-The plan was well developed long before it was made public.
-$10 million was taken from the local TIF account to purchase the land.
-Rahm intended to begin construction in 2018.
–AECOM was selected to design & build the cop academy, and the $60 million funding gap will come from a high interest bond.
-The City approved an additional $20 million beyond the original $95 million in September of 2020, pre-construction.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
-How they assessed the budget and original pricetag of $95 million.
-When it will actually be built.
-What Ed Burke and/or Danny Solis’ roles were in facilitating the sale of Lincoln Yards to fund the Cop Academy, and approving early zoning changes on the site well before the project was made public – all while under federal investigation for corruption.
Below is a timeline of all publicly available data on the progress of Rahm’s proposal to spend $95 million constructing a new training center for police and first responders, which Lightfoot has committed to expanding.
April 19th, 2017
Alderman Emma Mitts (37th Ward) introduces ordinance changes zoning of 4301 W. Chicago to a (C3-1) Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District.
June 22nd, 2017
Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards approves the zoning re-classifcation.
July 3rd, 2017
The Mayor’s Office issues a Press Release announcing the new Public Safety Training Academy. Several local news outlets run the story online, quoting the press release directly, and including visual renderings of the proposed site that are not available online elsewhere:
They announce that the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) will oversee the development and construction of the project. None of CIT’s meeting minutes have been made available online since February, 2017 and their September 11th board meeting (which is open to the public) was rescheduled until October 11th (the same day the City Council meets and the 2018 proposed budget will be announced).
July 22nd, 2017
The only story critical of the new proposed plan appears in Crain by a better government advocate, questioning the finances of the project and CIT’s involvement:
July 30th, 2017
The Mayor’s Office issues a Press Release announcing their Letter of Intent to purchase the land at 4301 W. Chicago for the new training center. They hold a press conference in West Garfield Park which is covered widely, including this video by ABC7:
At the press conference, visual renderings of the proposed facilities are enlarged and on poster board. To date, the only images publicly available online are:
Sun Times caption reads: “An artist’s rendering of the city of Chicago’s planned $95 million public safety training campus in West Garfield Park, to replace the city’s police and fire training academies. | City Hall”
ChicagoPolice.org caption reads: “A rendering of the new Police-Fire Training Academy that will be built in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.”
Sun Times caption reads: “A new training academy will be built in West Garfield Park. | City of Chicago”
Rahm proposes to pay for the site through selling other City properties, beginning with the sale of a Fleet and Facilities Management property at 1685 N. Throop to private developer Sterling Bay for $105 million. Rahm has pegged $20 million of that to begin carrying out the plan for the training center.
September 12th, 2017
Community Development Commission approves City purchase of land at 4301. W Chicago for $9.7 million. It is covered by the Sun Times, again with photos provided by City Hall. (However, City Council still needs to approve the purchase).
This reveals that the proposed site is in a TIF Redevelopment Project Area – the Northwest Industrial Corridor.
October 10th, 2017
The Mayor’s office releases a press statement announcing that the project is moving forward, and that the Chicago Infrastructure Trust will be releasing the Request For Qualifications this week. Companies intending to apply to ‘Design-Finance-Build’ the Joint Public Safety Training Academy (JPSTA) are invited to a networking event at Garfield Park Conservatory on October 25th at 10AM.
October 11th, 2017
As expected, Rahm introduced an ordinance to City Council to approve the “Purchase and sale agreement for property at 4301 W Chicago Ave for construction of Public Safety Training Academy.” The ordinance was referred to the Committee on Housing & Real Estate, where it must pass before returning to full City Council for a vote.
*No date is currently set for the next meeting of the Committee on Housing & Real Estate, though they are mandated to announce the meeting with at least 48 hours notice. The next full City Council meeting is currently set for November 8th, 2017 at 10 AM.
UNKOWN DATE – 2017
The Chicago Plan Commission approved zoning and site plans for two major capital projects Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted in his budget address this week.
Since the proposed site at 4301 W. Chicago Ave. is within a TIF district, the Northwest Industrial Corridor, amended site plans are required. Similar to planned developments, TIF districts are created with special uses to promote certain types of development.
October 25th, 2017
The Chicago Infrastructure Trust hosted a networking event for contractors interested in bidding on the Joint Public Safety Training Academy project. It was held at the Garfield Park Fieldhouse, and only pre-registered attendees were allowed entry. The attendee list from that networking event can be found here, and the presentation from CIT is here.
November 6th, 2017
The Committee on Housing and Real Estate in Chicago City Council will meet at 10 AM in Room 201A at City Hall, and vote on the land acquisition at 4301 W. Chicago Ave.
November 8th, 2017
After heated testimonies during the Public Comment, and limited debate on the Council floor, City Council voted 48-1 to purchase the land at 4301 W. Chicago Ave for the cop academy.
Chicago Infrastructure Trust announced a shortlist of five companies selected to proceed to the RFP process to design & build the cop academy.
Unknown – Spring 2018
Chicago Infrastructure Trust is expected to select a winning company to design & build the cop academy, pending City Council Approval:
We learned via a Freedom of Information Act Request that the Chicago Infrastructure Trust is at least two months behind in releasing the JPSTA RFP to the shortlisted candidates.
March 26, 2018
People’s Law Office files Freedom of Information Act Request lawsuit against the Mayor’s Office on behalf of #NoCopAcademy for withholding critical documentation of the origins of the new cop academy.
May 22, 2018
At Chicago City Council Budget Committee Meeting, Chairwoman Carrie Austin calls for vote on Ordinance 02018-3823, which would allocate around $20 million from the sale of a Fleet & Facilities Management property to fund new cop academy. Vote is called before public testimony and without any council debate. #NoCopAcademy supporters are ejected from City Hall.
May 23, 2018
At full City Council meeting, Fraternal Order of Police members are given seats inside chambers, while #NoCopAcademy supporters are denied entry. When City Council votes on Ordinance 02018-3823, aldermen Carlos Rosa and David Moore call to defer and publish the vote. Mayor Emanuel immediately adjourns calls for a meeting on Friday May 25th.
May 24, 2018
Shiller-Preyar Law Offices file suit against City on behalf of #NoCopAcademy for violations of Open Meetings Act during Tuesday’s Budget Committee meeting.
May 25, 2018
After heated public comment testimony, City Council votes 39-2 to pass Ordinance 02018-3823. Aldermen Carlos Rosa and Ricardo Muñoz vote “no,” alderman Maldonado was absent but declared his intention to vote “no,” and 9 aldermen were absent during the vote.
May 31, 2018
Chicago Infrastructure Trust sent the Request For Proposals to the five shortlisted companies, seeking bids. Clarifications continue to be posted on the CIT website, as recently as July 24, 2018.
November 15, 2018
Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Rahm Emanuel and alderman Emma Mitts announced the selection of AECOM to design and build the cop academy.
January 15, 2019
#NoCopAcademy attorneys at Shiller-Preyer Law Offices settled with the City of Chicago in our Open Meetings Act lawsuit. Read the Full Settlement Agreement Here.
Of note, were the words regarding future actions by Budget Committee Chair, Carrie Austin: “…The Budget Committee and its Chairman consider the public comment process to be an important aspect of their activities and they value the information and insights that may be provided through such comments, and they will endeavor to continue to allow for public comment before Committee action to the maximum extent practicable;”
January 23, 2019
Rahm Emanuel and alderman Emma Mitts introduce two final ordinances to approve the project, including:
- an ordinance to approve the contract with AECOM which was referred to Budget Committee
- an ordinance to approve an additional zoning change to the Planned Manufacturing District at the site of the cop academy, which was referred to Zoning Committee.
February 21, 2019
The Chicago Plan Commission agenda includes a vote on the Planned Institutional Development regarding the cop academy.
February 28, 2019
City Council Committee on Zoning, Building and Landmarks voted on the proposed zoning changes regarding the cop academy.
March 12, 2019
City Council Budget Committee voted on the proposed contract with AECOM.
March 13, 2019
Full City Council voted on the cop academy contract with AECOM, the proposed zoning changes to allow construction of two restaurants on the site of the cop academy, and for the funding gap to be financed by a $60 million high interest bond. The vote was 38-8, with the following alderman voting against: Ramirez-Rosa, Maldonado, Hairston, Waguespack, Mell, Garza, Pawar, Arena.
Over 300 people, supporters of #NoCopAcademy, were denied entry from the City Council meeting, despite empty seats inside the chamber.
March 13, 2019
Mayoral run-off candidate Lori Lightfoot announced her intention to use closed schools for police training, dubbed “mini cop academies,” and Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance to lease the closed South Shore International High School campus to the Chicago Police Department for $1 through 2028. After public outcry, this ordinance was held in committee. Mayor Lightfoot brought it out of committee and had it passed one year later, with no opportunity for public input.
September 10th, 2020
The Lightfoot administration asked the Public Building Commission (PBC) to approve an additional $20 million for “Phase 2” of the cop academy. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (former mayoral contender who supported #NoCopAcademy) was the sole “no” vote on the PBC.
October 1st, 2020
The Public Building Commission approved another $250,000 for a “Formulation Request” for Phase 1A of the cop academy. Scant details are available on the PBC website as to why this money is needed, what it will be used for, who will receive these funds, or where the funds are coming from. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (former mayoral contender who supported #NoCopAcademy) was again the sole “no” vote on the PBC.
October 7th, 2020
Mayor Lightfoot introduced an ordinance to allow the city to purchase a lot from the Chicago Transit Authority for $10 in order to build two restaurants, Peach’s and Culver’s, on the site of the proposed cop academy. While not as costly, it’s a concerning move that shows her determination to move forward with a vision that is directly counter to calls to defund police. The move to include the restaurants took place years after initial planning and just weeks before the final city council vote on the cop academy in 2019, likely to make the project more enticing to aldermen in light of the massive disinvestment facing the neighborhood slated to receive the cop academy.