Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Woodlawn’s A Poppin’

Despite the snow outside, things are heating up in Woodlawn.

The city is seeking a developer for the vacant lot on the southwest corner of 63rd and Blackstone.

Rumor has it that since the property abuts Mt. Carmel High School they’ve been trying to purchase it for years. The Alderman at the time (Arenda Troutman) put the kibosh on the whole gig. Apparently that parcel was to slated for housing, not an extension of the Mt. Carmel real estate empire.

Well now it appears that the city is moving forward on developing the land.

This ought to be interesting. I’ll keep an eye on this and keep you kids in the mix.

And speaking of development…

Some lovely foundations “are creating a multimillion-dollar fund to protect South and West Side neighborhoods from being overlooked or overwhelmed in the city's pursuit of an Olympic Game.”

I don’t even know what that means.

According to the Chicago Tribune article, “They may be used to canvass residents and fund research on jobs, business development and tourism opportunities. Later grants may support community planning, affordable housing, education and job training.”

Jobs? Business Opportunities? Shouldn’t the alderman already be searching for those opportunities?

As a matter of fact, don’t we also have groups and foundations that have already done community planning, affordable housing studies as well as job training?

Personally it sounds like the beginning of business as usual around these parts.

Grants will go to “community groups” who beat a big can but can’t take out the trash.

Money will be funneled, good intentions will be promised, studies will be “issued” and job training programs will be “funded.”

And a dime of money won’t reach the people that need it most.

Or I could be wrong.

But the last little Woodlawn caveat is the best.

Guess what kids, it’s Displacement Week at the University of Chicago.

As in Woody’s ass will be displaced from her home if she doesn’t get a job.

No seriously folks, the University is searching its soul concerning displacement and to created a dialogue “about the University’s responsibility to global and local communities.”

The minute I got this e-mail from a loyal reader I started to giggle.

You know I’m all over Understanding Your Role In Gentrification tonight at 8:00 PM. Hell, I might turn the Forum on the University of Chicago Hyde Park/Kenwood/Woodlawn into a friggin cocktail hour.

But don’t expect me to furnish all of the vodka, you boozers.

You’ll know it’s me by the peels of laughter in the back of the room.

This one ought to be interesting.


Omo said...

I'm a very euphoric state of jubilation.....Now only if we can make sure there are no chicken joints. Not sure if you check out this part of the world, have you noticed that the property on 63rd street (Lofts 63) is nearing completion (looks like one of the commercial units has been sold)...Figured that's why the haste in putting the parking lot together....Any insight "O Ye Woodlawner"?

ChiKat said...

Great post, especially about the weird group that is going to keep the "South and West Side neighborhoods from being overlooked." I read that too and couldn't figure out what it meant.

Redbone210 said...

The McArthur Foundation is the group offering the grants.
My mom used to work for the current president, Jonathan Fanton at U of C. Interesting news too b/c I live in one of the west side areas mentioned. Let's see what happens.