Community and Economic Development in Chicago Neighborhoods
May 22, 2007 | Press Release | Community & Economic Development

MacArthur announced a new $26 million investment to support the nation’s largest community and economic development effort, which is focused on 16 of Chicago’s lowest-income neighborhoods. MacArthur’s grant is expected to help generate $500 million in new investment in these neighborhoods over the next five years and significantly improve the quality of life for residents. 

“Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, even its poorest, are significant assets, holding tremendous untapped human and economic potential,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton at the Auburn Gresham Center for Working Families.  “The work of many dedicated community groups and individuals to turn around these neighborhoods is already showing early signs of success, and MacArthur is today reaffirming our support for comprehensive community revitalization and improved quality of life for residents.”

The New Communities Program, run by the Chicago office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), seeks to rejuvenate challenged communities, bolster those in danger of losing ground and preserve the diversity of areas in the path of gentrification.  Participating neighborhoods undertake a community planning process, engaging local residents and leaders in the creation of strategies to improve the community’s quality of life.  Creating local and citywide partnerships, communities address issues including employment, parks and recreation, health care, housing affordability, commercial and retail development, child care, schools, neighborhood aesthetics, and safety. 

“Chicago is a city of neighborhoods,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley, who joined Fanton for the announcement, “and the way to keep our city moving forward is to make our neighborhoods even stronger.  Each of these projects has the potential to be a catalyst for future developments that can dramatically improve the quality of life in a community.  Chicago is the greatest city in the country because it has so many people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work that’s necessary to turn their dreams into reality.” 

“This is a tremendous investment in Chicago's neighborhoods, underscoring again the Foundation’s deep commitment to the people of Chicago and to the thousands of neighborhood residents who are working so hard to preserve and develop their communities,” said Andrew Mooney, Senior Program Director for LISC/Chicago. 

The 16 Chicago neighborhoods and the lead local agencies coordinating development efforts are –

Neighborhoods Lead agencies

Auburn Gresham Greater     Auburn-Gresham Development Corp.
Chicago Lawn Greater Southwest Development Corp.
Douglas, N. Kenwood-Oakland, Grand Blvd.  Quad Communities Development Corp.
East Garfield Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
Englewood Team Englewood
Humboldt Park Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp.
Little Village (South Lawndale) Little Village Community Development Corp.
Logan Square Logan Square Neighborhood Assn.
North Lawndale North Lawndale Christian Development Corp
Pilsen (Lower West Side) The Resurrection Project
South Chicago The Claretian Associates
Washington Park Washington Park leadership group
West Haven (Near West Side) Near West Side Community Development Corp.
Woodlawn Woodlaw Preservation and Investment Corp.

Since 2002, MacArthur has committed $21 million to LISC for the program in Chicago; that early support has already leveraged more than $255 million in overall investment in the 16 targeted neighborhoods.  Examples of successes made possible by the New Communities Program include –

• The Greater Southwest Development Corporation partnered with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network to build a new neighborhood health clinic. 
• The Logan Square Neighborhood Association helped 54 families keep their homes in the face of redevelopment plans. 
• Quad Community Development Corporation is establishing a vibrant commercial district on the city’s mid-south side that will include shops and residences. 

Chicago’s New Communities Program is studied around the world and is being replicated in 10 locations: Detroit, Duluth, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Washington (DC), the Bay Area, rural Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.  

Today’s announcement is just one component of MacArthur’s overall $150 million, 10-year investment in improving conditions in Chicago’s neighborhoods, including transforming public housing, enhancing community safety, and increasing the income and economic security of residents. 

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