The Bronzeville Bikes Spoketacular event last Sunday was a big success.
The event included information on bike safety, a bike tour, a bike sale for refurbished bikes, a bike donation program and an ice cream social.
The highlight of the event was watching kids get their bikes fixed at no charge at the Bronzeville Bike Box, which is a 20-foot shipping container located in a formerly vacant lot at 51st Street and the CTA Green Line.
Active Trans was delighted to participate in the event, which was part of Bronzeville Bikes' effort to make Bronzeville a community where bicycles are a key tool for fun, transportation and commerce.
The Bronzeville Bike Box is looking for bike donations and helping hands.
It's open Friday, 2 p.m.– 7 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Check out the Bronzeville Bikes website for info about other events, including regular bike rides leaving from the bike box.
With the peak biking season in high gear, you may be looking for a secure place to lock your bike, particularly while at work.
Are you asking for secure parking? Are the building managers providing it? Please complete our brief survey. We'll use the results to advocate for more secure bike parking options!
With accomplished bike thieves on the prowl, it's especially important to have secure parking for your commute (and a great lock or locks) when your bike is unattended for 8 hours or more.
Active Trans has had discussions with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the city of Chicago, and others about providing covered, secure bike parking at large office and residential buildings, particularly downtown, where the sheer number of people and bikes results in parking shortages.
BOMA is inclined to let the market determine whether buildings provide bike parking, and while more buildings are providing secure parking at the behest of current and prospective tenants, many are not.
Cities like San Francisco and New York adopted ordinances requiring certain office buildings to provide secure bike parking; the requirement there is waived if the building allows tenants to bring bikes into their offices.
When worlds collide, whether in science fiction or real life, the result can blaze new paths for both.
Angela Hurlock, executive director of Claretian Associates, wants the new development to be a success. But Claretian and other neighborhood groups want their blue collar consituents to benefit, too.
Eric Young Smith
So when a big-time real estate developer sets out to build a $4 billion luxury city-within-a-city alongside one of Chicago’s least affluent neighborhoods, even an optimist could be excused for asking: “How’s that going to work?”
Already an answer is starting to emerge, and it goes something like this: Very carefully … guided along the way by agreements negotiated between the struggling neighborhood, the visionary developer and the city.
The table for those negotiations may include Claretian Associates, a respected community organization in the South Chicago neighborhood and an accomplished member of LISC Chicago’s New Communities Network.
“We want this to be a successful development,” said Angela Hurlock, executive director of Claretian, which grew from a century-old missionary network.
But what will make the development “successful” for Claretian and for the blue-collar families it represents – a truly mixed-income development, one that would generate good-paying jobs for locals and blend in with, not stand contrary to, the existing community – might not be the easiest or most profitable path for the developer.
Give and take
So there’s sure to be some give-and-take, beginning with whom will be seated on an official community advisory committee currently in formation. Obviously the developer and the two city aldermen whose wards split the neighborhood will be at the table, but who else? A wider coalition of South Side groups, called the Coalition for a Lakeside Community Benefits Agreement, is ready to be a part of the committee.
Neighborhood residents wonder what impact that Chicago Lakeside development will have on their modest homes.
Eric Young Smith
That Coalition, which so far has recruited 25 members besides Claretian ranging from the broad-based Alliance of the SouthEast to the more localized Bush Neighborhood Homeowners & Tenants Assn., already has drafted a 10-page community benefits agreement. The CBA sets aggressive goals for hiring, housing affordability, construction of neighborhood-accessible schools and a community center.
Trying to make the financials work for his hoped-for partners and lenders is McCaffery Interests’ Chairman and CEO Dan McCaffery. He’s been at this project for 10 years, since forming a joint venture with USX Corporation, formerly U.S. Steel, to redevelop the company’s vast South Works mill site on the lakefront just north of the Indiana line.
All indications are that his company is finally ready to break ground on what’s being marketed as “Chicago Lakeside.” After a decade of challenges and delay, not the least being the 2007-08 Great Recession and ensuing real estate hangover, key pieces are locking into place.
Stranded no more
A major piece was last year’s completion of the federal/state-funded relocation of a widened South Shore Drive, aka U.S. 41, which bisects the site from north to south. That link, plus an improved on-ramp to the Chicago Skyway (Interstate 90) to the south, provides the heretofore remote location renewed marketability as McCaffery pitches prospective retail and residential sub-developers.
Will Commerial Avenue, South Chicago's main drag, attract residents of the new development?
Eric Young Smith
“For us,” McCaffery recently told a community outreach session, “it’s been everything to show retailers you can actually get here.”
Indeed, Chicago’s business press has buzzed of late with the now-confirmed rumors that a 70,000-square-foot Mariano’s Fresh Market will anchor a kickoff shopping center. McCaffrey is also promoting his swing-for-the-fences bid to bring the Barack Obama Presidential Library to the northeast shoreline of the site, which he’s calling Inspiration Point.
The library may appear a longshot, except for the facts that: 1) it’s arguably the most physically dramatic site of the handful the city recently nominated to the presidential selection committee; and 2) it ties back thematically to the young Obama’s early days in Chicago when he helped organize Far South Side communities like this one to deal with issues of de-industrialization, disinvestment and enviro-degradation. When South Works, where 20,000 once worked, closed in 1992, it became a poster-child for all three urban maladies.
“There is no other site in this city that qualifies, or should even be considered,” enthused McCaffery in his North Michigan Avenue offices, after showing a visitor a promotional video submitted to the library selection committee.
Too remote? “We’ve got four Metra stations, a state highway and an Interstate,” he shot back. “We’re 10 minutes from Navy Pier by hydrofoil!”
The odd coupling
Whether or not Lakeside lands the Obama spectacular, the 600-acre mega-development – bigger than two downtown Loops – is sure to have a dramatic impact on the entire Southeast Side … and especially on South Chicago.
This is a community of 29,458 residents, nearly three-quarters African-American and a quarter Hispanic. At $30,559, its median annual household income in 2012 was less than half that of the Chicago metro area, according to a U.S. Census survey. Its rate of unemployment, at 19.7 percent, is almost double the region’s, and its usage of broadband internet is in the lowest tier citywide, at just 53 percent.
Chicago Lakeside developer Dan McCaffery is hoping that the Barack Obama Presidential Library will be part of his ambitious plan to transform the former U.S. Steel site into a new urban enclave of houses, businesses and recreational faclities.
Home values are so weak and foreclosures so common that gentrification, typically the main fear of neighborhoods facing upscale development, seems less an issue than the neighborhood’s over-riding yearning for good-paying jobs.
“Training and Jobs” is topic No. 1 in that draft community benefits agreement. Claretian’s Hurlock ranks employment opportunities, along with provision of affordable housing, as one-two “must-haves” for community negotiators.
“But our people have to be ready for those jobs,” she cautioned. “This historically is a union neighborhood, a union ward, so we need the construction trades to open up and help us with that.”
The employment prospects are tantalizing. The developer projects 97,800 “construction and related” jobs over the course of a 40-year build-out, with 27,800 permanent positions remaining in “commercial, office and institutional” settings.
Who will benefit?
Yet to be decided is whether Lakeside will – or legally can – be held to a higher standard than city, state and federal requirements for such things as minority employment and contracting set-asides … or for affordable housing.
McCaffery indicated at a May 13 community gathering at Grace Apostolic Church, just off-site at 83rd Street and Exchange Avenue, that if anything he’ll exceed affordability requirements early on. Lakeside’s target for subsidized and affordable units would run to 35 percent of the first 400 to 500 apartments, he predicted, or way more than the 20 percent required by city ordinance. Subsequent phases would taper down, he said, so the final mix would be 20 percent affordable.
He also said: “We’re not afraid of a community benefits agreement. We encourage it. But we’re going to do it a bit more deliberately.”
A rendering depicts what the 600-acre Chicago Lakeside development will look like when completed.
How deliberately was hinted at by Ald. Natasha Holmes, whose 7th Ward covers the area north of 83rd Street. “We are in the process of developing an advisory committee with by-laws and with a process and a procedure,” she told the crowd of about 150 in Apostolic’s basement meeting room. Not everyone who wants to will be on the main committee, she said, but there will be “sub-committees for other people to get involved.”
Values going up
McCaffery Interests Inc. already has gained control of some 40 vacant lots and foreclosed homes west of the original USX site, apparently with the intention of doing infill-type development.
“My absolute 100 percent pledge,” he told the gathering, “is that your (home) value is going to go up.”
“I’m not going to develop your neighborhood,” McCaffery went on. “It’s already a fine neighborhood. But as we proceed it’s going to get better. The neighborhood is going to develop itself.”
One available blueprint for doing that is the quality-of-life plan produced in 2007 as part of LISC Chicago’s New Communities Program.
That 38-page document anticipates the Lakeside/South Works project, urging that the development be “consistent with core principles defined by hundreds of community residents.” Those principles include continuation of Commercial Avenue’s historic role as the neighborhood’s retail core, extension of the lakefront park system and creation of new east-west street connections to ensure pedestrian and vehicle access into the new neighborhood and to the lakefront.
The challenge now, for community groups like Claretian and for historic South Chicago, is to use the negotiating table to advance a program of development that blends the new with the old … for the benefit of both.
Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates, 773-734-9181 email@example.com
Nasutsa Mabwa, McCaffery Interests, 312-784-2764
In June 2006, photographer Eric Young Smith explored the grounds of the old U.S. Steel works along the lakefront in South Chicago. With development plans proceeding for Chicago Lakeside, a massive residential/retail/commercial project on the site, these images will stand as a reminder of the evolutionary nature of communities and cities......
Wicker Park, Chicago; Park Slope, Brooklyn; and Pilsen, Chicago all have something in common — gentrification. Gentrification is commonly understood as a point when a public or private investor or developer rehabilitates real estate, increasing the original low cost of rent and ownership. Affordable housing becomes scarce, traditionally resulting in displacement as the original residents struggle to afford the increasing rent and face potential eviction. Landlords begin renting to more affluent residents and the entire community begins to change. Amenities such as groceries rise in price, and the lifestyle becomes less and less affordable for original residents.
Gentrification took place in Wicker Park in the early 1980s when young white professionals moved in and bumped out low-income Latinos. Park Slope has recently gentrified as white professionals moved into a traditionally black neighborhood. More recently, Pilsen‘s white non-Latino population has grown to 28% as of 2010, up from 3% in 1990.
Traditionally, places that gentrify develop a majority white racial makeup. Some wonder if this pattern can be combated, and if a gentrifying neighborhood can result in sustainable racial integration. After all, it is the complete opposite of historic racial patterns when white folks always moved away from minorities. For this reason, gentrification presents a unique opportunity to fair housing advocates. White folks’ willingness to live next to minorities in these neighborhoods represents the opportunity to develop a diverse and integrated community, if local leaders facilitate equitable development and fair housing practices.
One part of upholding racial integration in a gentrifying neighborhood is to ensure that residents moving in experience fair housing practices rather than discrimination. The other part is developing the community in a manner that is beneficial to traditional residents, which means maintaining affordability and allowing them to benefit from various reinvestments. Even though the racial integration mandate of the Fair Housing Act does not require mixed-income housing, occasionally extraordinarily high housing prices can result in de facto segregation. Consequently, economic reform in the housing sector becomes necessary in order to achieve racial integration.
Alderman Danny Solis, who presides over Pilsen, has taken some steps toward equitable development by offering a property tax freeze to anyone investing 25% of their house value in home improvements, as well as securing a significant percentage of affordable housing from developers.
Places experiencing trends similar to Pilsen can take steps toward integration and should prioritize it, because research shows that regardless of income, a segregated community still experiences poor health care, decreased access to resources, and poorer education, just to name a few. Neighborhoods can effectively diversify via the myriad tools of an Equitable Development strategy. Alderman Solis’ actions are just a few of the numerous possibilities outlined in Race, Poverty, and the Environment, a journal for social and environmental justice. Among others, these are their four most recommended Equitable Development tools:
- Stabilize Existing Renters: To stabilize existing renters, it can be beneficial to put a plan in place involving rental assistance, increasing voucher amounts, eviction controls, rent control, and rent increase schedules. Community Land Trusts also effectively stabilize existing renters by providing long-term affordability for not only renters and low-income homeowners, but also for community-invested businesses and local non-profits.
- Control the Land for Development: Community groups should evaluate zoning, make sure ordinances are inclusive, and implement a Below Market Rate ordinance. A BMR ordinance ensures that a percentage of housing developments will be sold or rented for a price below the market rate.
- Income and Asset Creation: Ownership opportunities specifically for local residents allow them to benefit from the community investments. Limited-Equity Housing Cooperatives are a popular form of affordable asset creation, especially in New York City. Often referred to as “Co-ops,” this type of agreement gives ownership of a building to its residents. They each own a share, and together they democratically manage the building, rent, etc.
- Develop Financing Strategies: Discovering specific ways to fund the previous plans, perhaps through non-profit organizations, bank reinvestment, or Housing Trust Fund, is at the crux of Equitable Development. One Housing Trust Fund in San Francisco targets revenue from a commercial development toward local households below the median income.
See their entire toolkit here.
Rachel Godsil, professor at Seton Hall University Law School and mayor-appointed Chair of the Rent Guidelines Board in New York City, echoes the first tool, emphasizing the importance of stabilizing current renters. Her approach involves vouchers as well, but employs a different strategy. Godsil suggests offering rental vouchers or low-cost guaranteed loans to local residents that could be used in or outside of the community. This strategy guarantees the residents autonomy in regards to staying in or leaving the changing neighborhood. This freedom of choice, Godsil argues, inclines residents to stay and convince their neighbors to do the same, which can ultimately stem the tide of gentrification.
Unfortunately, when revitalization happens, decisions are often made in favor of revenue rather than community need. Affirmative integration and affordable housing need to be a priority as places gentrify, so that revenue and need are not pinned against each other. There is much to be said for a plan that appropriately integrates all races across all incomes, because even though people are segregated by income, they are still more segregated by race.
Residents, community groups, housing advocates, and local leaders cannot afford to be anything less than proactive with creative equitable development tools at the onset and during community change if they hope to achieve integration.
by Jessica Hartshorn
Changing Life Education hosts their Pop-Up Resource Fair at US Bank located at 815 w. 63rd Street Flr-4 from 10am-1pm August 16th.
Dozens of organizations from around the Englewood community including Teamwork Englewood and Community Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) will be among many organizations participating in the fair this year.
Attendees will receive snacks, giveaway, community resources, free back to school supplies and much more.
TWE's staff member Michael Tidmore and his fellow coaches have been working closely with our community youth to coach them up so that they will perform well at this important tournament. "We are more focused on how our youth will conduct themselves and show good sportsmanship at the tournament and not just working on playing basketball", says Michael Tidmore. Hoops in the Hoods is providing a peaceful setting for our youth, and they are responding in a very positive and productive way by showing up and being involved on a team, cooperating and working together as a group.
The Hoops in the Hood City-wide Championship is scheduled for August 23, 2014 at Seward Park, which is located at 375 W. Elm Street. Games will run from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Despite all the negative one hears about how our youth behave, these youth are a great example of "what good in Englewood looks like". Instead of just focusing on the basketball skills they are learning to become solid young men
The East Village Association will raise funds for the Chicago Public Library Sept. 25 at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave.
This year’s event is a one-night charades competition. Teams of four will “act out” book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try to guess the book title. The objective is for teams to guess the titles as quickly as possible.
The final four teams, with the fastest completion times, compete for the crown of 2014 West Town Library Champions. Winners will receive prizes from local businesses and sponsors, plus bragging rights for the next year. Proceeds will be directed to future programming at the West Town Branch Library.
Mark your calendars, and watch for upcoming posts (here and on the East Village Association Facebook page) on how to register a team or purchase a ticket.West Town Summer Learning Challenge
More than 100 guests celebrated the West Town branch library's Summer Learning Challenge program Aug. 7 with toys, school supplies and a cardboard zebra.
The challenge was designed to encourage children to read, reflect and explore the library at 1625 W. Chicago Ave.
Reading goals for each child during the 8 weeks was 300 minutes. West Town's top reader, an 11-year-old girl, read for 3,100 minutes. She was grand prize winner of s Kindle Fire provided by the Chicago Public Library Foundation.
This year's participation was the highest ever: 560 children. Beyond staff outreach to Erie House, Northwest Settlement, Talcott School and Noble Daycare, the program had 180 walk-ins.
The celebration was coordinated with the East Village Association and local businesses. Children at a craft station made masks, bracelets and peacocks. Pin the Tail on the Zebra and hopscotch offered chances to win prizes, and a snack station served pizza, cake balls and juice boxes.
All party participants had the opportunity to select a book to take home and received school supplies and book bags donated by the East Village Association membership and Ald. Robert Fioretti’s office.
East Village Association members Catherine Garypie and Ronda Locke assisted in coordinating the donations for the event.
We invite you to attend an upcoming public meeting on Thursday, August 21 to show your support for the Cook County Forest Preserve’s North Branch Trail extension project.
If you walk, jog or bike on the North Branch Trail then you have experienced moving from busy streets into quiet woods where the sounds of the city quickly fade away. You may have seen a deer or two.
Trail users can hop on at Caldwell and Devon Avenues and travel north along the north branch of the Chicago River to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.
Next Spring, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County plans to make this experience even better by extending the trail south from Caldwell and Devon to Irene Hernandez Woods at Foster and Kostner Avenues. From there bicyclists can connect to the Sauganash Trail to the north, the Lakefront Trail to the east or the planned Weber Spur Trail to the northeast.
Active Trans supports the vision proposed by the forest preserve, which creates the most comfortable route for the broadest cross-section of trail users. The south trail extension will provide greater access to more people and open up more destinations for users.
Some residents, citing concerns about tree removal and public safety, have proposed an alternative route that would take the trail extension onto neighborhood streets, which would turn off many potential trail users and seriously compromise the experience of riding on the trail.
Please join us on August 21 to show your support for the existing plans for this important link in our regional trail network.
What: Cook County Forest Preserve District open house on North Branch Trail extension
When: August 21, 6-8 p.m.
Where: 6100 N. Central Avenue, Matthew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center