Municipal governments have the power to build and regulate necessary public amenities such as street improvements and sidewalks. In 1873 the Chicago Board of Public Works issued a routine notice to Isaac Arnold, a former U. S. congressman, requiring him to repair the sidewalk near property that he owned. The sidewalks in question were on the west side of what is now LaSalle Street (then Arnold Street) in the northern half of the block extending south from 17th Street. The notice in the left margin calls attention to the part of the city charter that establishes the power to regulate sidewalks. Board of Public Works Notice, 1873.
Building Codes and Standards;
Streets and Highways
The power to take land for public purposes by compensating private owners has been used for major public works as well as for urban renewal projects. In the 1950s the city demolished hundreds of buildings in Grand Boulevard and Douglas to construct Stateway Gardens (1958) and the Robert Taylor Homes (1962). In the 1950s the city also used eminent domain to build new expressways through neighborhoods on the south, west, and northwest sides. Although the initial plans for the south side expressway that became the Dan Ryan would have cut through the Bridgeport neighborhood along Normal Avenue, in 1956 Mayor Richard J. Daley and the city council moved the route to Wentworth Avenue along the eastern edge of Armour Square and Fuller Park. The new route displaced residents and businesses in neighborhoods adjacent to the neighborhoods that had already been displaced by the new housing projects. Properties Claimed by State for Construction of Dan Ryan Expressway, 1953-1954.
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