About The Committeeman

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When John Arena ran for alderman of the 45th ward he promised to bring services and community improvements to ward residents and to be an independent and progressive voice in City Council. On both fronts, Alderman Arena has delivered.

In conjunction with the staff of his 45th

  • Opened an accessible, responsive ward office that is open over 50 hours per week, among the most of any council member, and instituted a weekly Tuesday evening Ward Night where constituents can come to discuss any issue directly with him.
  • Allocated $791,000.00 in Small Business Improvement Funds (SBIF) for the Ward;
  • Instituted Participatory Budgeting to allow taxpayers to determine how to spend $1,000,000.00 in Aldermanic Menu Funds for infrastructure improvements and economic development projects;
  • Established a Land Use Zoning Process that ensures community input in every proposed zoning change;
  • Helped lead revitalization efforts for Six Corners, resulting in tens of thousands of new leased square footage of retail space for everything from local establishments like Josi’s Yogurt Shop, Filament Theatre, National Veteran’s Art Museum, 6 Corners Bistro, Taurus Restaurant, Oak Street Medical, Inside Out Art Studio’s, to national chains like Chipotle & Jimmy John’s;
  • Helped bring Renaissance Senior Housing, a $21,000,000.00 senior center to the ward, slated to be completed by the end of 2014;
  • Secured $108,000.00 in Open Space funds from the Jefferson Park Openlands Fund to establish the St. Robert Bellarmine Community Spirit Garden at Higgins and Central;
  • Worked with developers on a plan to construct 49 single-family homes on the former Riddell factory site, which will be underway this year;
  • Organized nearly 50 community-based events doing everything from creating beautiful murals to planting community gardens and hosting dances for resident senior citizens;
  • Worked closely with the local police commander to keep residents engaged in safeguarding their neighborhoods. Leveraging the hard work of the men and women of the CPD and CFD we continue to make the northwest side a great place to live in the city;
  • Worked with CDOT and other city departments to get 1570 potholes filled, replaced 2,030 feet of water mains, replaced 1,641 feet of sewer mains, repaired 987 sewer structures, replaced or repaired 19,237 feet of sewer lining, and replaced or repaired 5.5 MILES of gas lines; and
  • Developed a strong presence on social media and created a weekly email newsletter to keep constituents informed on issues, events and actions he takes on behalf of taxpayers.

As an independent voice in City Council and as a founding member of the City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus, John has:

• Fought hard to keep Chicago’s neighborhood libraries open and opposed efforts to solve the city’s budget problems on the backs of our children and families.

• Introduced, as the main-sponsor, a Referendum for an Elected School Board;

• Co-sponsored a resolution for a Moratorium on Charter Schools;

• Co-sponsored a resolution calling for a TIF Surplus to be used for CPS; and

• Co-sponsored the Privatization Accountability & Transparency Ordinance.

Since being elected 45th Ward Alderman in April 2011, John has been a consistent, independent voice in the Chicago City Council, willing to ask tough questions on issues and fight for 45th Ward residents, not for the existing political power structure. As John looks forward to the rest of his first term in office and to what he would like to accomplish should he be re-elected, he is committed to bringing responsible development to every corner of the ward, working with residents to continue projects to beautify their communities, and continuing to be a leading independent voice for good government in City Council.