Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is Gerber/Hart really moving to 6500 North Clark?

Permits from 2007
(Edgewater/Rogers Park) - With all the gay & mainstream reporters covering the so-called move of the Gerber/Hart Library in the last month or so, like it was some sort of done deal.

Praise was dished out on the various net-boards, everyblock, community websites, facebook and twitter pages - like a bunch of high-school cheerleaders rooting for the home team.

Problem is, did any one of these cheerleading reporters and reports, gay or straight, actually do any digging; other than run their various versions of the library's web press release?

Here's what it said:
"We have now finalized plans to move to our new home. Gerber/Hart Library and Archives will soon be located in Clark Point Plaza at 6500 North Clark Street. We plan on moving at the end of April," said Karen C. Sendziak, president of the library's board of directors.
Here's what happened. I believe too many reporters trying to cover this story drank too much of Ms. Sendziak's kool-aid she was serving up.

Now, in fairness, Kate Sosin, with Windy City Times, has done the most leg-work on the story; questioning the library, the President - and the board members who would actually say they were board members.

Watching the story unfold, you could tell Ms. Sosin was having to "pull teeth" - sort of speak, to get anything solid out of the very reclusive Karen C. Sendziak.

Who know's, maybe that's why all the LGBT reporters chose the press release route?

No water
Here's what isn't being reported - that just doesn't add up.

How can this library, with all its archives, be able to pull off this move by the end of April?

The building has been listed as recently as Feb. 2012 as for sale at $2,750,000. That's a lot of scratch to come up with in this tight market.

Who owns the building right now? How are they able to lease out something long term, something they've just put on the market?

The building is in need of serious work to get ready for the library. Work which isn't being performed at the moment.

It needs walls to create space.
It needs electricity to run light.
It needs to be have access for the handicapped.
It needs restrooms.

All these activities require official work permits from the city of Chicago. Facts are, I couldn't find any active permits posted on the building at 6500 North Clark Street. The one's posted are 5 years old.
Talk about permits growing mold. Two of the three permits posted on the property are so old - they've got Daley's name on them.

More facts. The water to the building was cut off due to non-payment in November 2011. (see photo #2)

More questions without answers: Who's helping with the entire movement of the all the Gerber/Hart library's massive archives of over 30 plus years of material? Is Karen doing this herself?

I know for a fact they've got a copy my entire collection of Gay Chicago Magazine's. It took me and two others nearly 3 months to organize and move my archived set from start to finish last year - so I know the enormous task of this undertaking.

One ex-board member, Darryl Vincent, known better in the lgbt gossip community as 'historian' St. Sukie de la Croix, has recently say to gay paper, WCT,  "Jon Henri Damski's collection is sitting outside the bathroom for several years..."

Ms. Sendziak needs to update the community, and not just the LGBT community, on the library's progress. Edgewater and Rogers Parker residents too.

Because now, time is running out on the current lease; and the new home looks far from ready.

This new library needs to look like a world-class public library worthy of what the the city Chicago has to offer its all residents and visitors traveling to Chicago.

Ms. Sendziak, either let us Edgewater, LGBT'rs and Rogers Parker's know what's going on - or you'll need to step aside and let someone else clean up the mess you've created. 


Clark St. said...

I live a block away from the building. No work has been done on it for over a year. Before that, work was done in small fits & starts. It's obvious that the original builder ran out of money. He never has redone the sidewalk, as part of it is still the driveway to the former loading dock of this former factory. If you look into the windows, there are all sorts of unfinished pipes & electrical work, plus there is even some parts of utilities from the factory that this used to be. There is a drain for a downspout just west of the sidewalk at the north end of the building [at the parking lot], it overflows onto the sidewalk every time it rains as it's apparently connected to another downspout & the drain line to the city sewer is probably clogged.
The original developer also illegally altered the building permits he's required to post on the site by blacking his contact number. That was done long before he ran out of money. There's also a portion of a very large wood & steel packing crate at the west end of the parking lot that homeless people have used as a sleeping shelter at times. The homeless were also camping out under the rear overhang, next to the police station & causing real trouble in the area until the 2432 beat meetings went after it & forced that to be fenced & boarded off.

Brad Tucker, former President Gerber/Hart Library said...


I am surprised you are jumping on Tracey Baim's bandwagon regarding Gerber/Hart’s upcoming move. As an ally of the LGBT community and someone who cares about Rogers Park, I would have expected you to celebrate the fact that Gerber/Hart would be helping build your community. I am curious: Whom have you talked to? What sources have you confirmed?

As far as I am concerned, Tracey Baim and her reporters have stooped lower than any reporter in the gay press ever has on this one. I don't know if she thinks she can put the library out of business so she can claim it’s collections for her for-profit gay history website or she is now in the business of making up the news, not reporting it.

During my term as President of Gerber/Hart, I considered Tracy Baim to be a good friend of the organization. Why doesn't someone ask her why she's turned on the Library and is going for blood?

The front-page innuendoes, distortions, and lies reported constantly in the Windy City Times over the past two months are baseless and without merit. Tracey's mother was a respected author and journalist. I’d bet that if she knew what her daughter was publishing and the insidious manner she using in an attempt to destroy the reputation of Gerber/Hart, she would slap her in the face.

Gerber/Hart has been around for 31 years. It's always been a volunteer run organization. Mistakes and have made, but the Library can claim huge victories over the years – including the fact that it's still in business, serving the community and thriving financially. The newly adopted bylaws reflect the fact that the Library and Board members are subject to attacks from all sides. This time it’s from Tracey Baim and the Windy City Times. Next time it may be for copyright infringement because someone looking to make a profit scans and puts Library or Archival materials on a website without author permission. Come on… with friends like Tracey Baim, who needs enemies?

When G/H moved to Granville 13 years ago, there was angst and upheaval in the community also. The space severed us well over the years, but now the Library MUST (I repeat MUST) move.

I promise you in writing that the Library is 1) moving and 2) the decision will prove to be one of the smartest decisions every made by Gerber/Hart. I know what it takes to move a library – we moved Gerber/Hart in one day. I have no doubts that Karen and her volunteers can’t move it in two months.

Yes, I have some insider information. No, I am not going to share it. I care too much about the future of Gerber/Hart to play into Tracey Baim's hate mongering. I just hope she is willing to apologize to Karen Sendziak and Gerber/Hart Library as loudly as she has criticized them. I wonder if Tracey will be willing to write a check for the thousands of dollars in support she has cost the Library at a time when the Library needs community support the most.

From the information I have, I know that Karen Sendziak should be lauded as a heroine, not a villain. Too bad Tracey and her reporters weren’t willing to take the time to find the truth.

Craig, I am over-the-top angry at Tracey Baim and the Windy City Times, but I am also very disappointed in you for helping to spread her insidious gossip and innuendos.

Brad Tucker
Former President
Gerber/Hart Library

(P.S. North Community Bank is also moving into 6500 N Devon. I’m not a rocket scientist, but it seems to me that if North Community Bank is moving into the building maybe the owners are getting financing from…. gee, who do you think?)