Broken Promises - the old Dett Elementary school building

Closed Dett Elementary School
2306 W. Maypole Ave
Oakley and Lake Street, Chicago
pic by John Kugler, Substance News
Broken Promises - the old Dett Elementary school building, report on an Abandoned Closed Chicago Public School in the middle of a gentrifying area on the Westside that was predominantly African American ... has not been taken care of by the city and it is dangerous and blighted. It was closed in 2013 and approved for sale in 2017. Buyers pulled out of the deal and said CPS was unreasonable

by John Kugler

December 5, 2022 3:20 pm

Substance News on Location

Closed Dett Elementary School 2306 W. Maypole Ave

Oakley and Lake Street, Chicago

There's a nice big sign here. Safe School zone. This may be a little negative on a Monday morning. You see a bunch of cool condos there. You see some factories here. Somebody lived here before.

I'm sure there were some apartment buildings there. But one of the things is, are we always talking about these kids in this generation?

We can't control them. They're not like us. They're different. There's something that must be wrong with them. What happened to them?

They don't have no respect. I hope you see what I'm pointing to here. This is Oakley and Lake. This is happening right now today.

I'm videotaping this because I don't trust the live feeds anymore. Because they erase them and censor me. But this is a Chicago Public School building that's been closed.

I don't know offhand which school this was. There was a bunch of them closed.

But what does a child, a human, or anybody think when they see this?

When they grow up all their life? Saying listen to the teachers. Listen to the government. Behave, listen. You'll be all right.

The government's here to protect you. The government is good. Listen to the government. Listen to your teachers, listen to their preachers listen to their priests.

Those politicians, they're doing what's good for us. Again, this is right here. That's Lake Street. That's Oakley; we’re not in an abandoned neighborhood. We're not in some dilapidated place where nobody lives. I just showed you the new condo building right there, that roof there. That's a new condo building.

This is what people see.

So when I'm a grammar school kid, or I'm a high school, or I'm even a young adult, or even while I'm a middle aged man, like me, 54.

What do I think when I see this? What do I think about those things that was taught as I was growing up to listen to my school, to listen to my teachers to listen to my government?

And yeah, when I walked by here, I see this, or maybe I went to school here and I was a student here.

And I was told to be proud of this school, that this is the place that's going to teach me to be a productive person.

And I should listen to what's taught to me here. And then I see this as as an adult, or as a teenager, or even still as a young person.

And then I start to wonder, well, if they if this is how they treat this place that teaches me then how do they treat me as an individual?

If the government and if the people who run our society, who run our country, our city, our state, and our county, all those politicians, how many politicians are in charge at his school, hear me … you got fed you got state you have county have city, water reclamation, you got all these hocus pocus of politicians, who knows how many politicians are in charge of this right here, even the school district its its own government. And then we see this on a Monday morning.

You see this every day when you wake up? And you go to and from school or to and from work. There are people that live there. There are people that live here; this is trauma. I'm a person that believes in my own bootstraps, yet most other people can do that if you have the supports.

why isn't this being taking care of? Why? There's people that live over here. There's people that that live in this neighborhood, and they should be treated good and taken care of. Right?

At least there's a guy picking up the garbage. There on the other end. You have a bunch of little kids all around here.

And you see it's all written up over there. Which should be taken care of. I mean, shouldn't they tear this building down? Use it for something? I mean, there's downtown Chicago right here.

We're not too far or let me show you that’s the Sears Tower, you're you're right in the middle of it here. So, and the city knows about it, that's a City Truck. They're driving around and cleaning up. So it isn't like it's not like it's off the radar, it is on the radar, it's in the middle of everything.

That's Western Boulevard over there. So this is a main area.

But I guess I'm getting into the psychology of how all those politicians , government agencies, and all these people we pay, and elect who just got elected in November, can seriously every day walk past this and allow this to continue. Where's the accountability for this?

Yeah, where's the accountability for this? Where's all the politicians who just got elected in November? Where's their accountability for this, there isn't none. And they know there isn't. Because they just got reelected.

I learned this from an organization that I used to work with. And we were complaining about some of their public policies that they were putting out. They said, you know what, and this was directly told to me, and I won't even put the person's name out there. But if you ever want the name and the date, and the time that this was told to me, I'll tell you who it was, you know what that person told me? It doesn't really matter, right now maybe later.

We were elected, and we can do whatever we want. This is what we see here in our city in Chicago. Those politicians don't care about us. If they did, we wouldn't be seeing this on a Monday morning, you wouldn't have to hear a 50-year-old white dude on the west side complaining about a graffitied-up abandoned school, that this should be used for young people, for homeless people. For people who need shelter, it's cold out. Why isn't this clean-up? Why isn't this being used, repurposed?

They be complaining about all these kids on the streets getting into trouble every day, give them this cleanup, tell him this is your place you can he can graffiti that in the inside, you can have that as an art room, you can have it as a Hangout room, a skateboard place, I don't care what you want to you.

I hate to say this, grow marijuana in there, whatever you want to do. Whatever brings you a sense of purpose and a sense of ownership. There you go. But instead, what do we see? This is city owned property by the school district of Chicago. And this is how they show their respect, to the property we own, we own this property as citizens.

Someone is not taking care of our property.

And secondly, they care so less, or so little, about the people that live in this neighborhood and the children especially, that they actually leave this to look like this, as this the city of Chicago. That's an El train there. This is the main street that's Lake & Western is right there. This is not an abandoned area.

It's actually a gentrifying area. So you wonder, will this be get cleaned up now, because I'm complaining or will it get cleaned up because somebody above me or a big high official says, Yeah, we need to fix that up.

We don't need guys on the internet complaining about how things look.

Well, guess what? It's here.

And it's documented.

There you go.

Sorry, about a Monday morning rant. I really don't like this.

No person should be exposed this kind of stuff. It's one thing if it's private. It's one thing it's abandoned. I get the economy. But this this is a school. This is owned by our government.

Our government does this to us.

Our government does this to our children.

And it does it every day and just remember all those people we elected in November. Some of them I didn't vote for that I'm complaining about now.

They allow this to happen on a daily basis. This is right here. So they are responsible.

Not the guy that did the graffiti, the guy that did the graffiti knows he can do whatever he wants and nothing will happen to him.

And they continue on.

So there it is.

The city Chicago, this is how they treat their schools and it's right by main train line where everybody can see it.

Have a good day and let's make a difference.

Make some calls.

Share this video … bye


a WBEZ report from Dec. 5, 2018, it talks about the deal not going through for the building when the company that wanted the property could not meet community requirements for the sale.

The board approved the sale of two buildings to IFF — Bontemps and Dett schools — but neither deal closed.

In the case of Dett, which is in a gentrifying neighborhood near the United Center, a sale looked promising. But Burkholder said specific deed restrictions outlined by the community made the project financially unfeasible.

The restriction requires the gym, auditorium, kitchen, lunchroom, and library be reserved for community programming that must include three or more of the following: youth programming during non-school hours, mentoring or counseling, job training, GED or financial literacy classes, culinary programming, small business incubator space, or early childhood programs.

Looking into the property details, it seems as if the building and property are subdivided at some time to prepare for the eventual teardown of the building and new separate properties that could be sold under separate PIN numbers or deeds.

There is more to this story, and we will be looking into how this property is used or not in the future.

Pic album

Dett Closed May 2013

Land Sale Approved (don't mention any names in the sale)


[background on the closed school from 2016]

Closed Dett Elementary School Could Become Women's Center, Artist Incubator

By Stephanie Lulay | February 4, 2016 5:53am

NEAR WEST SIDE — The former Dett Elementary School building, a CPS school that was closed in 2013, could become a center for women and girls or an artist incubator in its next life. After a year of community meetings, Chicago Public Schools officials plan to soon issue a request for proposals for the sale of the vacant 61,000-square-foot building at 2306 W. Maypole Ave. on the Near West Side. The original Dett Elementary School was one of 49 schools CPS closed in 2013. Dett students moved into the Herbert Elementary School building at 2131 W. Monroe St. near Touhy-Herbert Park. The Herbert school building was subsequently renamed Dett Elementary School. Two groups plan to submit a proposal to buy the former building, representatives confirmed to DNAInfo Chicago Wednesday night.

Christy Webber, owner of Christy Webber Landscapes, the firm that maintains the United Center grounds and installed landscapes and gardens at Millennium Park, The 606 and for Chicago Public Schools, wants to open a center for women and girls at the Dett site. Evelyn Buckley, with BNA Holdings, will pitch plans to develop an artist incubator in the former school.

Webber, whose Humboldt Park business employs 500 people, said the proposed West Side center would provide services, job training and recreational activities exclusively for women and girls. The center would include a daycare center for working women, a gym where girls could play sports, a stage for theater classes and a kitchen for cooking classes. Other nonprofits might also provide programs in the building, according to the plan. At the request of the surrounding community, CPS will not allow the building to be used for a residential or industrial use, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said at a meeting Wednesday night. The request for proposals will also stipulate that the former Dett site must be used for community programming that incorporates local community partnerships, according to a CPS draft document. The Noble Network of Charter Schools, who operate Chicago Bulls College Prep a few blocks away, are not interested in the site, said Adrian Segura, Noble's lead community organizer. Developer Brinshore-Michaels and a church showed interest in the site at one time, but no longer plan to submit proposals to CPS, Burnett said. Once CPS releases the request for proposals, potential bidders will have 30 days to submit plans for the property. After a highest responsible bidder is identified, the sale is anticipated to take four to five months, CPS project manager Kareem Pender said.

While some residents called for more meetings to allow for additional community input in the repurposing plan, Burnett said more than 10 meetings have been held to date. Meanwhile, the former Dett building is deteriorating, he said. "I'm going to tell the [CPS] Board — move," the alderman said. "It's been long enough."

Vacant School Buildings Litter Chicago Neighborhoods After Mass School Closings By Becky Vevea Dec. 5, 2018, 3:05 p.m. CT


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