I hope everyone enjoyed Labor Day weekend. I want to thank our friends in Labor for all they do for us. They are the backbone of the middle class. As the father of college, high school and grade school students, I understand how hectic it can be getting children back into the swing of things. I want to wish everyone a healthy, productive and successful school year. I would also like to thank our principals, teachers and staff for all they do for our children.
It has been a busy two weeks here in the 11th Ward. Last Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the Local School Council, Principal O’Connell, Commissioner Daley and myself at Mark Sheridan to announce that we will be constructing a new annex building for Mark Sheridan. The new annex will serve as a gymnasium and multi-purpose room, expand the washrooms and be utilized as a cafeteria, which is currently housed in the basement. The original school building was built in 1881 and the last expansion/renovation was done in 1901. It is time for investment. We were able to secure funding for this project from the Chicago Public School Capital Improvement Budget. It will be a great development for the entire community.
Yesterday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 31 bus launched the first ride at 10:00am. The bus route was terminated in 1997 because a lack of ridership. I would like to thank the CTA for their commitment to reinstate the bus. A special thank you to Bridgeport Alliance, 31st Street Bus Coalition, the South Loop Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner Daley and all of our seniors for supporting this effort.
The 31st Street bus will be running Monday – Friday 10:00am-7:00pm. It will begin at the Ashland Orange line station and run to 31st and King Drive. In order for the bus to be permanent, there needs to be 800 weekly riders. 31st Street is filled with plenty of shopping options. Whether you want to grab a cup of coffee, enjoy our great restaurants, go shopping or transfer to the orange or red lines, the 31st Street Bus allows access to all businesses.
In order to keep this bus and make it a life long success, we need ridership. Please encourage friends, family and neighbors to ride the bus. Let’s all “ride the bus.”
Alderman Patrick D. Thompson