Increase City of Chicago Landmark Division Staffing Levels
The City of Chicago’s Landmark Division staff is responsible for preparing the research reports necessary for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to create Designated Chicago Landmarks and Chicago Landmark Districts.
Since the “one-new-landmark-a-month” directive of the Daley administration, the pace of new Chicago Landmarks has noticeably declined.
We assumed that decades of budget cuts and retirements had resulted in a Landmarks Division with too few staff to effectively manage a city the size of Chicago.
Despite the dedicated, talented and tireless efforts of the City of Chicago Landmarks Division staffers, there is a limit to how many landmark reports that a staff of four researcher can produce.
But what is the correct size for a Landmarks Division staff?
To answer this question, Preservation Chicago engaged in a national benchmarking research analysis to determine landmarks division staffing levels across a dozen cites of different sizes from different regions of the United States to gain greater insights.
The results were shocking.
The City of Chicago has the smallest Landmarks Division staff of the sample group and including cities that are much smaller.
We respectfully request the City of Chicago to urgently address this issue and to right-size the City of Chicago Landmarks Division staff. The City of Chicago should prioritize this department and provide greater funding to increase staffing levels.
To provide context, the City of San Francisco is a much smaller city than Chicago, yet it has adopted 50 individual properties and six historic districts for landmark designation since it was created in 2011. This remarkably fast pace is due primarily to a much larger staff.