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Farewell from Alderman Smith

Dear Friends,

As I prepare to leave office after almost 22 years as Alderman of the 48th Ward, I would like to thank all of you for your support, encouragement and hard work.

Together we have accomplished much. From increasing the safety on our streets and improving our schools to developing our commercial districts and instituting a host of environmental initiatives, our Ward has been transformed.

We’ve established task forces to address…and improve…problem blocks and areas, created two new parks and renovated or expanded every other park in the Ward. We’ve built major additions to three of our elementary schools, substantially renovated the Senn campus and created a world-class auditorium there. More importantly, we’ve instituted new academic programs in our schools that are making a difference for our students.

The 48th Ward has become one of the most desirable areas of the City in which to build, live or run a business. We have six National Register Historic Districts within our boundaries. Clark Street, and now Bryn Mawr and Granville, are popular shopping and dining destinations. We have a vibrant performing arts community and are home to many fine theaters. And, at last, the tools are in place to restore the Uptown theater and revitalize the surrounding entertainment district.

We are the leader in innovative environmental projects, from permeable surfaces to traffic calming and car sharing. Our public art and beautification projects have received national acclaim. And we are proud that we remain the most diverse area of Chicago.

But this did not happen overnight, and I did not do it alone. Special thanks to my hard working staff and to the block clubs, Zoning and Planning Committee members, religious institutions, community organizations and the many people who came to me with ideas and then rolled up their sleeves to make those ideas a reality.

We have accomplished much, but there is more to do. Alderman-elect Harry Osterman will have to do more with less as we try to solve the City’s budget crisis. Our community organizations and social service agencies are facing funding cuts, and the needs keep growing. I urge you to stay involved and continue to make this The Great 48th Ward.

I again thank you for all you’ve done and all you will do. And I wish you and yours health, joy, peace and prosperity.

Warmest regards and good wishes,

Mary Ann Smith

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