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BIKER NEWS: Veterans food pantry gets reprieve from city

BIKER NEWS -- A volunteer-run food pantry for homeless veterans in the Washington Park neighborhood that was in danger of being clos...



BIKER NEWS -- A volunteer-run food pantry for homeless veterans in the Washington Park neighborhood that was in danger of being closed because of numerous building violations got a reprieve Tuesday.

After being told about the repairs being done to the RTW Veterans Center in the 5500 block of Martin Luther King Drive, representatives of the Chicago Building Department and the corporation counsel's office agreed to give the group until May 7 to bring the brownstone fully up to code.

In April, city inspectors cited RTW — for Remake The World — for a host of problems ranging from structural issues to an overgrown lot. Arnetha Gholston, RTW's founder, has said she thinks someone wants the pantry out of the neighborhood, one of two potential sites for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum.

The University of Chicago, the library's sponsor, has substantial real estate holdings in the community, as does the city. A university spokesman has said the school had no role in requesting the city inspection and also noted that RTW's site was not included in the school's proposal for the Obama library.


At Tuesday's hearing in a Daley Center courtroom, city officials listened intently to Gholson's recitation of planned repairs. They even suggested cheaper ways of bringing the structure into compliance.

They did ask if RTW would sell, if an offer were made for the property.

"Of course we would," Gholston said. "But either way, we're going to get that building into shape."

Gholston was surrounded by two dozen representatives of organizations that have supported RTW's effort, including a group of ex-Marines that worked on the building on Veterans Day alongside University of Chicago students. Union electricians have been addressing wiring problems. An African-American motorcycle club has pledged to provide security. A Latino group held a fundraiser.

A representative from Lutheran Church Charities belatedly joined the hearing. "We just heard about this," Jim Morrison said. "We've got a donor who will pay to repair the windows."

The hearing ended with shouts of "Hurrah!" "Thank you!" "Praise the Lord!" Among those celebrating the outcome were two elderly men, one wearing a baseball cap lettered "1st Marine Division," the other's cap announcing "1st Cavalry Division."

This article was first published on Dec 1, 2015
Get a copy of Chicago Tribune or go to www.chicagotribune.com for more stories.

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Veterans food pantry gets reprieve from city
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