As you walk down the streets of Roscoe Village, you can’t help but notice several vacant buildings in a neighborhood that was once booming with business, housing and development.
Some locals in the area agree that the economy is to blame for the slowdown, but one candidate running for alderman in the 32nd Ward– which also includes Wicker Park, Lakeview and Bucktown — blames the current alderman, Scott Waguespack.
“Scott Waguespack hasn’t allowed for smart growth within the ward, and that can hurt a community,” said David Pavlik, a Democratic candidate.
Mary Markarian, executive director of the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, said despite economical harsh times, development has slowed down in a good way since Waguespack defeated longtime incumbent Ted Matlak in 2007.
“Zoning isn’t flying through as quickly as it was under Matlak’s regime. Developers actually have to make appointments to sit down with Waguespack to discuss plans,” said Markarian, who supports his administration.
Waguespack said over-development in the ward was one of his biggest challenges in his first couple years as alderman.
“Development was out of control and a difficult situation to deal with. But we were able to get a handle on it to create a fair playing field for everyone,” said Waguespack.
Michael Root, a real estate broker at Root Reality in Roscoe, said business was booming while Matlak was in office because he helped change the zoning ordinances for building within the ward.
He said it used to be that business developers couldn’t build within a structure previously used for manufacturing, until Matlak changed the regulations so they could be used for condos and store fronts.