Stories by Heather Cherone

Chicago’s Skyline Set to Change as Aldermen OK Plan for Tribune Tower East

A rendering of Tribune Tower East, a proposal from developers CIM Group and Golub & Company, released by the City of Chicago.

Aldermen on Tuesday advanced a proposal to build what could become the second-tallest building in Chicago — and the third tallest in the U.S. — on what is now a parking lot next to the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue.

Logan Square Affordable Housing Complex One Step Away From Final Approval

A rendering of the Emmett Street Project slated for Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. (Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation)

A proposal to build a 100-unit affordable apartment complex in Logan Square is one step away from final approval after years on the drawing board.

Aldermen Turn Up Heat on Delivery Apps

(Photo by Christopher Williams on Unsplash)

Amid warnings that 20% of Chicago restaurants will not reopen after the coronavirus pandemic, aldermen Monday turned up the heat on delivery apps that critics say are hurting already-struggling restaurants.

Coronavirus’s Toll on Chicago Budget ‘In Excess of $500 Million’: Official

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has added “in excess of $500 million” to the city of Chicago’s projected budget deficit for 2021, Chief Financial Officer Jennie Bennett told aldermen Monday.

José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen to Feed Workers At New COVID-19 Testing Sites

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s effort to beat back the coronavirus pandemic got a boost from two celebrities Monday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city was making “good steady progress” toward the next phase of reopening.

Library Employees to Head Back to Work Wednesday, But Libraries Won’t Reopen

(Smart Chicago Collaborative / Flickr)

Employees of the Chicago Public Library will head back to work on Wednesday, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot tossed cold water on Library Commissioner Andrea Telli’s suggestion that libraries could reopen as soon as June 1.

City Set to Cancel Rent for Airport Stores, Restaurants, Rental Car Companies Amid Pandemic

(WTTW News)

With O’Hare and Midway airports deserted amid the coronavirus pandemic, stores, restaurants and rental car companies are set to get a two-month break on most of the rent they owe to the city under a proposal that cleared a key city panel Friday.

Lightfoot Warns Against Attending, Holding Religious Services

Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Albany Park (Facebook photo)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged Chicago religious leaders on Friday not to hold in-person worship services this weekend, warning those who fail to follow the governor’s stay-at-home order are “playing with a fully loaded and cocked gun.”

Lightfoot Delays Demolition of Building at Former Crawford Power Plant After Outcry

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot late Thursday called off a planned demolition of a building at the former Crawford Power Plant after protests erupted and the alderman objected.

4,500 Small Businesses Apply for Emergency Grants: City Officials

(StockSnap / Pixabay)

Approximately 4,500 small businesses on the South and West sides applied for $5,000 emergency grants to help them stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, city officials announced Thursday.

Aldermen OK New Leader for Office of Financial Analysis as Budget Crunch Looms

Chicago City Hall (MIke / Flickr)

The office designed to help aldermen keep tabs on how the city spends tax dollars is set to get a new leader after nearly a year without anyone at the helm.

Lakefront Will Not Reopen in Next Phase of Chicago Plan: Lightfoot

A scene along Chicago’s lakefront on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the date Mayor Lori Lightfoot first closed the lakefront and other public spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic. (WTTW News)

The lakefront will not reopen during the third phase of the plan to reopen Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday during a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago. 

Waive Property Tax Late Fees for 2 Months: Preckwinkle

(WTTW News)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle backed an effort Wednesday to give property owners a bit of financial “breathing room” by waiving late fees on second-half property tax bills due Aug. 3.

Lightfoot’s Plan to Protect Affordable Housing with $3M Fund Advances

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

An effort to protect 3,200 affordable homes in Chicago from the worst of the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic advanced Tuesday, with aldermen endorsing a plan to create a $3 million fund.

City Cancels Block Parties Through May 31 — Summer Gatherings ‘Under Discussion’

(HaiRobe / Pixabay)

In the latest sign that the coronavirus pandemic will reshape summer in Chicago, city officials informed aldermen Tuesday that no permits will be issued for block parties through May 31 — banning the popular parties on Memorial Day weekend.

Lightfoot Announces New Rules to Force Delivery Apps to Disclose Fees

(tommy pixel / Pixabay)

Delivery companies would have to disclose the commission or service fee paid by a restaurant under new rules announced Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as the apps have come under fire for hurting already-struggling restaurants.

6 New Testing Sites to Open on South, West Sides of Chicago

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city would partner with a charity founded by Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn, fueled by a grant from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, in an effort to conduct 10,000 tests per day in Chicago.

Aldermen Endorse Plan to Spare Businesses from ‘Fair Workweek’ Lawsuits for 6 Months

(Photo by Lightscape / Unsplash)

Amid the pandemic, Chicago employers will still be forced to give their workers two weeks’ notice of their schedules starting July 1, but will be spared lawsuits for an additional six months under a measure that advanced Monday.

Lightfoot Outlines 5-Phase Plan to Reopen Chicago

(WTTW News)

Chicago will reopen gradually once the number of confirmed coronavirus cases begins to decline and hospitalizations drop, according to a plan released by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday.

As City Scrambled for Protective Gear, Officials Paid $1.5M to Addison Furniture Store for Masks, Gloves

Family members wearing masks walk along the sidewalk in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, all residents should wear face masks or coverings when social distancing is not possible. (WTTW News)

The Howard Elliott Collection has provided 1 million protective masks, 300,000 face shields, 119,000 gloves and 37,500 cloth masks to the city, officials say. But at least one alderman wants to know why a Chicago-based firm wasn’t selected for the work.

Aldermen Advance Effort to Suspend Business License Renewals During the Pandemic

The Northwest Side neighborhood of Montclare. (WTTW News)

Chicago businesses would not have to renew their licenses — or pay late fees if those licenses expire — under a measure that cleared a key city panel on Thursday. 

Lightfoot Vows to Confront ‘Surge’ of Coronavirus Cases Among Latino Chicagoans

People wait in line for a food drive in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side on April 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

The number of COVID-19 cases in Chicago’s Latino community has more than doubled in the past four weeks, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday, calling the data “no less breathtaking” than the rate of infection in Chicago’s African American community.

Illinois Attorney General Sues Hilco Over Botched Smokestack Demolition

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

The plume of dust that coated homes in Little Village after the demolition of a smokestack included mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants, according to a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

‘Perfect Storm’ Hits Illinois As Revenue Drops $2.74B in April: Report

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

State tax revenue dropped $2.74 billion in April due to the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. 

Push to Change Illinois Constitution to End Gerrymandering Stymied by Pandemic

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

A high-profile effort to convince Illinois lawmakers to change the way the state draws congressional and state legislative districts has fizzled out after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the General Assembly.