WHAT WE KNOW:
-This is Rahm’s project, happening Rahm’s way.
-The plan was well developed long before it was made public.
-The City has held no public meetings on the plan at any stage in the 37th ward.
-City Council has never discussed the plan in full, only the land purchase.
-$10 million was taken from the local TIF account to purchase the land.
-Rahm intends to begin construction in 2018.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
-It’s not clear where the entire $95 million will come from, or whether that is an accurate cost prediction (many estimate it is a low figure).
-Who the city will hire to develop and construct the site, though it will be announced very soon. The shortlist of companies was made public by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust in December 2017.
-When City Council will be asked to approve the company selected to design & build the cop academy (though we expect it to happen this Spring, according to Chicago Infrastructure Trust documents).
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.
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.
March 13, 2018
Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot calls Rahm Emanuel’s proposed cop academy plan “ill-conceived” at the City Club of Chicago.
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.