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City Panel Backs $300M Redevelopment Of Old Children's Memorial Site

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Plan Commission has given its approval for the hotly-disputed proposal for a $300 million redevelopment of the old Children's Memorial Hospital site, over objections from Lincoln Park residents.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the project would include twin 21-story residential towers, a smaller condominium building, a senior housing center, a five-story health club, and 100,000 square feet of commercial space.

City Panel Backs $300M Redevelopment Of Old Children's Memorial Site

The project would replace the vacated 6-acre parcel once home to Children's Memorial Hospital, near the six-corner intersection of Fullerton and Lincoln avenues and Halsted Street.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), business leaders, and others said the project would revitalize the community.

"Children's had been the anchor of our community. We needed a new one," she said. "So the neighborhood said that it wanted to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented place. We wanted this crossroads to encourage walkability and activity, rather than forcing people to circumnavigate the entire site, as the Children's complex did."

But many Lincoln Park residents opposed the project, saying the high-rises are not a good fit for the neighborhood, and the project would make traffic congestion worse.

"We don't want the high-rises, and we don't want the density, and the loading docks on Fullerton," Lincoln Park homeowner Laurel Hansen said. "By the way, those high-rises are gorgeous, and I think they would look great in the Loop, or on the lakefront, but not in this neighborhood."

Fellow Lincoln Park resident Lisa Barrow echoed those sentiments.

"It is not consistent with the character of this historic neighborhood, and it imposes costs to current area residents; in terms of lost sunlight, increased congestion, and truck traffic," she said.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appoints the members of the Plan Commission, has backed the project, which now goes to the Chicago City Council for a vote.

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