Summer is in full swing. Before you know it, our kids will be heading back to school. My wife and children will be heading back within the next two weeks. My wife Katie will be heading back to her second year as Assistant Principal at Bridgeport Catholic Academy (BCA), my daughter Nora will be heading back to college, my daughter Grace will be heading to high school and my son Patrick will be starting 7th grade.
The schools in our Ward are receiving much needed improvements. We have some of the oldest schools in Chicago Public School (CPS) inventory right here in the 11th Ward. Healy and Ward school are both receiving $5.9 million on roof and masonry repair renovations. Healy also received new sidewalks along Wallace. A $4 million TIF project is underway at McClellan to add an elevator and outdoor track. Construction for a new playground at Armour School will commence this week and the construction of a new gym at St. Jerome has already started. We are also excited to open the $8 million annex building with a new gym and classroom space in addition to an elevator at Mark Sheridan. This will be ready for the start of school.
Construction is going on throughout the Ward. Whether it is the new residential developments, the commercial and industrial buildings being constructed or infrastructure work, our Ward is seeing a lot of investment.
New water mains were installed on Union Ave from 47th-49th, on Lowe Avenue from Root to 43rd Street and on 31st from Morgan St. to Lock St. On Halsted from Roosevelt to Harrison arterial street resurfacing is taking place. This work as well as the private developments are stirring up the rodents and other critters. We are aware and working with Streets and Sanitation.
Our Ward 11 Streets and Sanitation team’s Rodent Control specialist have been baiting throughout the Ward. Since June 1st until July 26th there have been 628 OEMC rodent baiting requests. We have been baiting along the alleys and with residents consent, we can bait on their property. However, putting down poison won’t get rid of rodents as long as they can picnic on our garbage.
We all need to do 3 basic steps to limit their food supply: 1). Make sure garbage cans and recycling bins are tightly shut. Overflowing garbage attracts rodents and raccoons. Please call the Ward Office and report any private or commercial sites that are not taking care to seal up their garbage bins or dumpsters. And take a good look at your own black bins. If rodents have chewed a hole at the bottom of your garbage bin, please let our office know so your bin can be replaced. My staff is already surveying the alleys for bins that need replacement. 2). Clean up after your pet–in the alley, on the street and in the park as well as in your own yard. And don’t forget that the parkway strip in front of your building is your responsibility as well! Dog poop is like caviar to rodents. Bags containing dog waste must be disposed of in a closed garbage bin, not left where rodents can find it. 3). Bag up yard waste such as twigs, branches and weeds into a compostable brown bag for pick-up. A pile of decomposing yard waste invites rodents to move in. If you have a backyard compost pile, make sure it’s in a container, and do not add food scraps–especially meat–to compost.
We also need landlords to stay vigilant and keep your property clean and safe. That means monitoring the area around your building as well as the units to make sure there are no easy access points for rodents, and that any problems are dealt with quickly and effectively. It is not only the right thing to do for your tenants and our community, it’s also your obligation under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.
The fewer hiding and dining places for rodents, raccoons and other creatures the better. Keeping the neighborhood clean is not just about rodents. We want to protect our property values and set a good example for our kids. That means picking up trash, even if it’s not trash we personally dropped, and getting together with the neighbors to clean up your block. Let’s make it obvious that we care about our community by taking care of it.
Our office (773-254-6677) can assist you with scheduling an inspection and treatment visit by the Rodent Control team. They can suggest ways you can make your property less vulnerable to rodent infestation. It is going to take the effort of everybody to beat the rodents, keep our community clean and protect our quality of life.
11th Ward Alderman, Patrick D. Thompson