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New Apartment Complex Plans Causes Opposition, Racial Debate In Jefferson Park

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Northwest Side residents and aldermen are clashing over a planned apartment complex as issues of race and the neighborhood's future are debated.

Residents who oppose plans for a mixed income apartment complex in Jefferson Park came to City Hall to reject suggestions that their feelings have a lot to do with race and class. But, Trisha Kannon, with Northwest Side Unite, said they are fighting the project because it is too big and not in character with the neighborhood. WBBM's Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

"We are not exclusionary people. We are not discriminatory people. We care deeply," Kannon said. "We are not racist simply because we oppose a development. Our community and our coalition is diverse."

Nick Kryczka, with Neighbors for Affordable Housing in Jefferson Park, suggests those are code words.

"In evoking their right to prohibit certain quantities of people, when they complain about density and height, and qualities of people, when they insist on neighborhood character, they double down on the very same racially and socially exclusive traditions that built segregation during the middle of the last century," Kryczka said.

Alderman John Arena backs the project in his ward, but neighboring Alderman Anthony Napolitano opposes it.

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