Danny Solis became alderman in 1996, and since then, his goal has been simple: to make the 25th Ward the safest, healthiest, greenest community for residents and businesses. “The 25th Ward is the best in the city,” Alderman Solis says. “I want to continue to help make the Ward a place where more people want to raise their families, where arts and cultural organizations thrive, and where restaurants and shops love doing business in. My work is to make the 25th Ward a place residents can be as proud to live in as I am.”
To do so, the alderman stands behind key issues, creating a number of initiatives focused on the following areas:
Environment & Beautification
Danny has made the greening of the 25th Ward a priority for years, bringing many changes to its neighborhoods in an ambitious bid to make this the greenest, most environmentally friendly ward in Chicago. For the past 16 years, he has supported and pushed through initiatives that benefit and beautify all corners of the 25th Ward, from building out Ping Tom Park in Chinatown and the Jefferson Playlot in the UIC area and the Rauner Family YMCA soccer turf to adding the wrought-iron lamp posts and Aztec calendars on the sidewalks on 18th Street.
Danny’s most recent effort was reaching an agreement between the City of Chicago and Midwest Generation to close down the Fisk Coal Power Plant. Going forward, he remains committed to creating jobs at the Fisk site and cleaning up any residual pollution the plant leaves behind.
Danny’s bicycle and pedestrian-friendly vision for the 25th Ward was inspired by a trip he took to the Netherlands. His goal to reduce car emissions and increase biking and pedestrian traffic has resulted in the creation of two bike parking lots, unique approaches to increasing community public space while addressing safety and community connections, and the 18th Street Protected Bike Lake.
Danny is also pioneering the city’s first Green Streets, which feature permeable paving that absorbs pollution and solar-powered information kiosks for self-guided tours in English and Spanish.
Infrastructure & Development
On a recent Crain’s Chicago Business article, neighborhoods of the 25th Ward were on par with North Shore communities in terms to foreclosures — zero in Chinatown and very few in Pilsen. Housing and real estate trends like these bolsters Danny’s goals of making the Ward more livable for residents, current and future.
Danny’s other efforts to improve Ward infrastructure include main water pipe replacement and filling vaulted sidewalks (20-25 to date). His commitment to community development resulted in the expansion of University Village, welcoming more housing, businesses and revenue in the 25th Ward; and revitalizing the Pilsen Industrial Corridor, which created thousands of jobs for the neighborhood. In 2006, he also successfully lobbied for Pilsen to be declared a state historical district, a landmark status that enables over 4,000 properties to participate in the Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program.
Looking ahead, Danny hopes to continue facilitating the development of the Creative Industry District, a live/work community along the Chicago River and Cermak.
Education is a key issue for Danny. During his time in office, he has focused on tackling the structural and overcrowding problems in the Ward’s schools, resulting in the expansion of Benito Juarez High School and Jungman and Pickard Elementary Schools; and a new campus for Orozco Community Academy. As a result, none of the 25th Ward’s schools are overcrowded.
In the future, Danny hopes to focus on supporting teachers, principals and parents in creating an environment where children can learn and thrive.
Safety in the 25th Ward is of utmost priority for Danny. One initiative that the alderman championed during his time in office is improving lighting throughout the ward, such as on Halsted and 18th Streets.
As much as with the greening and beautification initiatives above, Danny’s vision for continued safety within the ward is based on fostering a strong sense of community, where neighbors and community leaders know and watch out for each other.
Businesses are an essential part of the 25th Ward’s communities, and Danny’s priority is to work together with business owners to bring their plans into fruition. Whether it is providing financial support, working together to solve parking problems or creating ordinances, Danny and his office work to develop strategies to help businesses locate in the Ward.