Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DNA Info: Roseland Teens Help Fix Up Abandoned Homes To Rent

Something you may have seen on our ig
I think this is what we'd all like to see more of in our communities. No more stories about the youth causing trouble in our neighborhoods more about them deciding to help build it back up. That's what the young men in this story are doing.
Simeon Career Academy senior Hakeem Day would rather be working with his hands than in the streets.

“I’ve been interested in construction since I was a little kid and this gives me the opportunity to practice for the future because I plan on doing this in the future,” said the 18-year-old Roseland resident.

He is getting that opportunity through a new youth and trades After School Matters program.

Aaron Mallory, 28, of Roseland started the program through his nonprofit God Restoring Order, or G.R.O. He’s working with a group of high school teens from schools including Simeon, Morgan Park and the Noble charter schools

The goal is to improve the community one block at a time by rehabbing the abandoned homes, and Mallory is doing just that with the help of local teens. They’re finishing up work on their first home near 109th Street and Wentworth Avenue.
The reporter for this story Andrea Watson has a poll up asking "Should our teens learn the trades?" My answer would be yes, we need carpenters, mechanics, pipe fitters, plumbers, etc. Trades in addition to helping our young people get into college. Different programs and different options.

At that learn a trade and be a value to our community and earn some community service credits. I forgot about getting valuable job experience.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Roseland Theater and the future of the neighborhood

11331 S. Michigan Avenue
Crossposted from "Shedd School" blog

For the past month I've went to the Pullman neighborhood to document that part of the city. And I've allowed myself the opportunity to also document the nearby communities as well. Most of what you see documented is photographed on my cameraphone often utilizing an olloclip lens.

So last week I took a quick stroll one late afternoon in Roseland and stopped in front of the Roseland Theater Building. This old building appears to be going through some remodeling and changing tenants in the storefronts as they appear to be vacant currently.

This former neighborhood movie house is looking for new use having long since stopped showing movies. According to Cinema Treasures - link above - it is being converted into retail use. Though this news hasn't changed for years so perhaps a number of things happened and I don't see a lot of progress.

However, I have one potential idea and it would involve doing something similar to what was done with the Logan Theater. It was rehabbed in 2011 and is a second run movie house and is a story you can read here - unfortunately that story is behind a paywall in spite of being published in 2012. Perhaps when the time is right that story of a deep pocketed developer who comes in to redevelop this building could happen here at the Roseland Theater.

In the meanwhile as I document Pullman as it is in 2016 a year after it was designated a national monument and other development activities there my hope is that this spreads across Cottage Grove. Roseland and the business district that sits on Michigan Ave from between 103rd & 115th Street can see some of the effects of being so close to a very successful tourist destination.

And furthermore I hope that in the near future we can see further progress on bringing the red line from 95th through Roseland. Thus the Roseland can certainly have a future similar to the Logan Theater which also isn't that far from a CTA L station.

ALSO you can see some of the photos of Pullman and Roseland over at The Sixth Ward's ig account. Here's the post below of the Roseland Theater.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

CTA service to improve on south side

Announced at the 95th Red Line terminal on Thursday these are the changes expected to start this summer:
• The 95th Street bus, which will combine separate east and west segments to create a continuous route.
• The No. 4 Cottage Grove bus, which will extend service south from 95th Street to 115th Street.
• The No. 71 71st Street bus, which will extend all trips from 73rd to 112th and Torrence, and see increased frequency.
• The No. 26 South Shore Express, which will add earlier and later service.
• The No. 34 Michigan and No. 119 Michigan/119th bus routes, which will add increased frequency during midday and evening hours.
• The Cottage Grove and Ashland/63rd branches of the Green Line will have increased frequency during the a.m. and p.m. rush hours.
Also:
The improvements will cost an extra $5.7 million a year and are planned to be implemented in September, but some could be seen as soon as the beginning of the summer, said CTA spokesman Jeff Tolman.

“These improvements are related to CTA President Dorval R. Carter's goal of looking at service from a holistic perspective and providing the most effective service possible,” Tolman said. “These improvements will further improve the quality and reliability of service for riders."
Words from the Mayor himself:
“With this expansion, the CTA is continuing the important work of connecting more residents to jobs and economic opportunities,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This announcement builds on the strides we have made to improve connections to and from downtown. These types of investments help our economy to grow, our neighborhoods to prosper, and our city to thrive – and we will continue to make them to ensure that every resident has an opportunity to succeed.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hinz: Preckwinkle's County Hospital rehab plan draws last-minute fire


Found this via CapFax with the comment: "If you want to see a prime example of a Chicago politician who doesn’t understand that new jobs and development on the West Side are vitally important, click here"

Now what is Rich Miller talking about? Off to the article itself:
Declaring that kids are more important than developers, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin today moved to at least temporarily block plans to rebuild the old Cook County Hospital until the county finds more money to prevent gang violence.

But County President Toni Preckwinkle immediately vowed to press ahead with the massive, $500-million-plus proposal to bring a hotel, apartments, shops and more to the Near West Side, a top priority for her administration. And Boykin hinted that he's not interested in obstructing the project as much as using it as leverage to fund things like summer jobs for unemployed youth in his West Side District.

In a news conference attended by several dozen chanting protestors, Boykin said if Preckwinkle can find the time and energy to get the hospital plan under way, she also can get the money needed to help keep young people out of trouble.

"I don't have any problems with redevelopment. But we had 50 people shot and eight killed this last weekend" Boykin said. "Our house is on fire. . . .It's a question of priorities."
So is Boykin an example of a grandstanding politician? Or is he doing the right thing here?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Washington Post: The divided American dream

This story surely happens everywhere. An area that mostly contains Black residents are devalued.
When the new subdivisions were rising everywhere here in the 1990s and early 2000s, with hundreds and hundreds of fine homes on one-acre lots carved out of the Georgia forest, the price divide between this part of De­Kalb County and the northern part wasn’t so vast.

Now, a house that looks otherwise identical in South DeKalb, on the edge of Atlanta, might sell for half what it would in North DeKalb. The difference has widened over the years of the housing boom, bust and recovery, and Wayne Early can’t explain it.

The people here make good money, he says. They have good jobs. Their homes are built of the same sturdy brick. Early, an economic development consultant and real estate agent, can identify only one obvious difference that makes property here worth so much less.

“This can’t happen by accident,” he says. “It’s too tightly correlated with race for it to be based on something else.”

The communities in South DeKalb are almost entirely African American, and they reflect a housing disparity that emerges across the Atlanta metropolitan area and the nation. According to a new Washington Post analysis, the higher a Zip code’s share of black residents in the Atlanta region, the worse its housing values have fared over the past turbulent housing cycle.
Furthermore:
Nationwide, home values in predominantly African American neighborhoods have been the least likely to recover. Across the 300 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, homes in 4 out of 10 Zip codes where blacks are the largest population group are worth less than they were in 2004. That’s twice the rate for mostly white Zip codes across the country. Across metropolitan Atlanta, nearly 9 in 10 largely black Zip codes still have home values below that point 12 years ago.

And in South DeKalb, the collapse has been even worse. In some Zip codes, home values are still 25 percent below what they were then. Families here, who’ve lost their wealth and had their life plans scrambled, see neighborhoods in the very same county — mostly white neighborhoods — thriving.

“I don’t think it’s anything local residents did that caused that to happen,” Early says. “I think it’s all outside forces that did this.”
I think this is definitely worth a read. Is this happening in the city?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The quiet desperation of the middle class

Read this article from The Atlantic. Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog shared it today.

Over the years on this blog I have written about middle-class issues. Especially important since I created this blog to discuss neighborhoods such as Chatham.


I've learned over the years that the position of the Black middle-class is often precarious. It often seems being middle-class in this nation is just as precarious.


If you read this article feel free to offer your thoughts.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Marathon Pundit: Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent Auburn Gresham neighborhood

7711 S. Lowe St. - John Ruberry
On a Thursday, the Marathon Pundit did some urban exploring in Auburn Gresham. Ruberry notes:
The notoriously-violent Englewood neighborhood sits on Auburn Gresham's northern border.
...
According to the Chicago Tribune Auburn Gresham is tied for eighth in violence of Chicago's 77 official neighborhoods over the last 30 days.
...
During the 1960s Auburn Gresham went from being predominately white to being majority black. The Encyclopedia of Chicago says blockbusting and panic peddling were less of a problem than in other Chicago neighborhoods at the time. At the start of the decade my grandparents moved to the more prosperous Beverly neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Ironically, the South Side Irish Parade, which originated in A-G, followed my grandparents to Beverly.

Blacks were barred from most white neighborhoods by covenants that prohibited home owners from selling to them. Click here to read a 1929 letter from the ominously named Auburn Park Property Restriction Association, Inc. which explains an Anti-colored Restriction Agreement to John Wagner of Englewood. Covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1948.
In taking pictures of the many abandoned houses, two-flats, and vacant lots he also has nice things to say about Father Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina parish:
When Auburn Gresham is in the news, particularly nationally, it's usually has something to do with St. Sabina Church, where committed leftist Father Michael Pfleger has served as pastor for an unheard of, at least in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 35 years. Pfleger. who is white, has worked on projects with radicals such as the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan and Barack Obama's former minister, Jeremiah Wright.

However Pfleger, despite allowing a personality cult to envelope him, has his merits. The church compound also includes a large senior residential complex and a grade school, as well as social service, job training, and technology centers. That brings a whole bunch of people to the St. Sabina complex, which is near the intersection of 79th and Racine, and that corner has noticeably more retail activity than the rest of Auburn Gresham. The church, in a way, boosts 79th and Racine in a way that monasteries did to nearby towns in the Middle Ages.
And here's a shot of it!
St. Sabina - John Ruberry 
 So basically we see some family history from Ruberry as his family once resided in this community. However, what we see are abandoned homes, homes being rehabbed, and The Final Call hq.

I sometimes think of Auburn Gresham as a community with great potential especially with that corridor along 79th between Halsted and Ashland.
 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bennett School has a new website

http://bennettes.org/
I'm ecstatic that somehow I found a new website for Bennett School after a Google search. Over six years ago I found a different iteration of this website which has long since went offline.

This website has a lot more information about the staff of Bennett School and hopefully they will continue to add more information regarding the neighborhood elementary school in the future. So far I like and especially emphasized some of the architectural details of Bennett.

If they need any help with content I would be happy to volunteer. They'll probably never ask though. :P

BTW, I will say sometimes I wish the many public schools in Chicago utilize the many tools available to alert the public about their activities. Bennett now has a website but they could also use a Twitter, Instagram or a Facebook page. The surrounding neighborhood should know what's going on there even if they don't have any children going to school their. The local school is a neighbor after all.

ALSO another school neighbor has also updated their website, Harlan High School which is reflective of a new principal change as well. Harlan - GO FALCONS - also developed more of a social networking presence and then mysteriously stopped. This is definitely an example where they should use these various tools to let the community know what's going on there, especially some of the good news involving students.

DISCLOSURE: I'm an alum of both Bennett School and Harlan High School

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

9th ward community meeting

Alderman Anthony Beale
  • Please Join Us!
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For more info
    9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale
    34 East 112th Place
    Chicago, Illinois 60628
    773.785.1100


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Took these shots of the Shedd School property

On my walk to Pullman a few days ago. It was a wet rainy day as depicted in these photos. The first two pics are of the front one is similar to the shot you see in the Shedd School blog's header.
200 E. 99th Street
200 E. 99th Street
Here's the backlot a field that I used to play around in during recess and of course before school started the kids would play in this field also. Fun days and sadly no longer common. I'll explain after this pic.
Looking from 98th & Indiana
Shedd School has been closed since about 2013 and the local community organization Roseland Heights Community Association has been concerned about a zoning change for this property. It has been zoned for industrial use and therefore a concern is now seen over this greenspace just a block away from Michigan Avenue.

As a former student there, it's unfortunate that classes are no longer held here. However, my hope is that the greenspace remains for the community. If the building remains then it shall be used for the benefit of the community.

Sidenote - I've been using this accessory on my smartphone called an olliclip. Basically this is something you can slip onto your iPhone, iPad or Android devices and take shots with various lenses to enhance your mobile photography. That's why one of the pics above seem unusual.