Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chatham: A 24-hour neighborhood

I want to think outside of the box for a minute.

Last week, I read Lee Bey's post at Vocalo that featured pictures of downtown Chicago at night. He talked about how the city has spent a lot of money turning downtown into more of a 24/7 destination. Bey recalled those days when downtown died after Rush Hour.

So let's look toward the neighborhood. Who says the areas around downtown Chicago or perhaps certain places on the north side should be a 24/7 destination.

One idea here is to attract younger residents to this neighborhood. Now granted we would like those younger residents with careers to consider putting down roots in this neighborhood. Especially if they're married with children.

Another idea is to add some vitality to this community. Perhaps 79th Street or 75th Street could use some activity both during the day and at night. Perhaps some retail for people to shop at during the day or perhaps a place to buy a coffee before workers begin their daytime commutes to work or school. At night perhaps a comedy club, restaurant or even a bar for entertainment.

While I may be addressing the retail strips around the neighborhood, I also understand that there is a residential component to consider. In a typically quiet neighborhood like Chatham, a 24-hour neighborhood may seem like an unsettling idea. Certainly it's something we should consider if we can make Chatham a desirable community to live.

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