Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back at the year 2016

 A few stories that come to mind to wrap up the year 2016.

The Red Line extension to 130th street is moving forward. A draft environmental impact statement was submitted and there was a recent hearing regarding this future project. We also learned the extension may not open until 2026 at the earliest. But at least some progress is being made and the major step that need to be taken is funding.

We learned of the passing of Mr. Donzell Starks in October. Starks and his wife Alisa - or it appears the Starks' have at some point divorced - owned ICE Theaters which had owned and operated theaters in Chatham, Englewood and Lawndale. Chatham is now under Studio Movie Grill and no longer owned by ICE Theaters as of 2014. Both Englewood and Lawndale are closed. Around the time of Stark's death, I found through a Google search an article that reported that ICE Theaters had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015.

I'll also add that posting an image of Donzell Starks such as the one you saw above to Instagram resulted in 33 likes. Some of those may not have been from people who knew who he was, but many of them probably admired him as an entrepreneur that brought back a needed business to our communities.

A photo posted by The Sixth Ward (@thesixthward) on

Also the long awaited Whole Foods Market at 63rd & Halsted opened in late September to huge fanfare. It opened in the new Englewood Square shopping center which also opened a Starbuck's that opened the same day as the Whole Foods. In addition after the Whole Foods and Starbuck's open within about a month Englewood saw a Chipotle's open at Englewood Square.

Speaking of Whole Foods Market it was announced in spring 2016 that they're bringing a distribution center to 111th Street near the Wal-Mart Supercenter. It will count the new Methods plant and Gotham Greens as neighbors. In November an event to hire was advertised to help people who currently have a trade to work on this project.

Back in Chatham, the building that houses Pride Cleaners is for sale. It's considered an example of mid modern architecture and considered something of a landmark located near 79th & Rhodes. It was inspiration as the Chatham brand for The Chicago Neighborhoods.

Also after celebrating 50 years in 2015, it came out in the news that local lender Seaway Bank is in trouble in 2016. Here's hoping for a different result in 2017 for this significant Black-owned bank. The post above from Seaway's early days 50 years ago got 54 likes when it was reposted from Seaway's own ig profile.

Finally we had a presidential election and with Donald Trump as the President-elect there are many who are unhappy. The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton solidly won this state and its electoral votes. In the rest of the country she won the popular vote, however, failed to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. There have been protests in downtown Chicago since the election.

Of course as far as politics, there will be a new State's Attorney in Cook County in Kim Foxx. She defeated two-term incumbent Anita Alvarez in the March 2016 Democratic Primary. Alvarez's defeat was attributed in part to the controversial police shooting in 2014 of one Laquan McDonald and her role in the suppression of the dashcam video of this incident.

Any other stories worth noting from 2016, feel free to let us know about them in our comments.

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