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Alderman Smith Moving Rest Shelter to Edgewater Glen?

A reader wrote in informing us of some latest developments regarding the REST homeless shelter:
According to the writer, Alderman Smith is pushing for Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood to be the future home of the 65-bed REST shelter. Smith allegedly held a closed-door meeting to change the zoning of Immanuel Lutheran Church from residential to commercial to accommodate the shelter, despite opposition from neighbors, parents of children who attend preschool at the church, and other politicians. A second meeting was held, but it was only open to the congregation of the church. A third meeting will be held tonight @ 7pm at the church (1500 W Elmdale). Apparently there are numerous children’s groups at this church, on top of the above mentioned preschool, as well as a park across the street. Why is our Alderman meeting behind closed doors on an issue that neighbors have an obvious concern about?

12/22/08 UPDATE
A reader who attended the meeting wrote:
“I attended the meeting tonight & smith was not there, but sent her Cheif of Staff, Doug Frasier. He said that Immanuel Lutheran is OFF THE TABLE, that there are 2 options in the works, on commercial streets, but REFUSED to say where, what cross roads, etc, but the options are in the 48thward. All of the local media (ABC, FOX, Newsstar) was there as well as a great turnout of parents. He was questionedby numerous attendees on the manner in which the meetings were held (closed door, etc) and he said that due to the time constraint (claiming only 2 weeks, but per a trustee at Epworth, they let the REST & alderman know of the Church notrenewing the lease in 10/07), that the format for letting the community know about the plan wasn’t going to be happening “by the book” so to speak (proposal, meeting with block club, etc. as stated on the 48th ward website)….per Doug Frasier, there will be a new meeting about the new location sometime next week, but with the alderman’s office being secretive and underhanded with THIS location, I expect the next location’s meeting to be done in the same manner.”

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