CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—April 20, 2016. It has been over 50 years since North Lawndale has had a comprehensive plan that could be used to attract resources and guide public policy as it relates to transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. As a result, much of the limited development that has occurred in recent years has not been coordinated or yielded maximum impact for the community as a whole. There are some pockets of North Lawndale that have seen significant development, while other parts have remained untouched since the 1950’s.
In an effort to rectify this situation, the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) recently held its first annual community planning conference, in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), at the DRW College Prep High School on Chicago’s West Side.
A standing room only crowd of over 300 North Lawndale stakeholders, including young children, high school students, residents, local pastors and parishioners, heads of organizations, foundations, financial institutions, business owners and elected officials was in attendance.
Elected officials at all levels of government expressed wholehearted support for the planning process and the potential it could bring for the community. Commissioner Robert Steele and State Representative Arthur Turner provided words of support and encouragement during the morning session. Alderman Michael Scott and Congressman Danny K. Davis offered remarks in the afternoon.
The audience had roundtable discussions and participated in live time surveys. The top three issues identified included unemployment, gang violence and vacant buildings and lots. The top three projects identified included rehabbing abandoned properties, programs for purchasing vacant lots and holding landlords accountable for troubled buildings. The three things the audience liked most about North Lawndale were its central location, great parks and Historic K-Town. Information from the survey will help the consultants at CMAP get a sense for what the community’s priorities are. This information will be combined with the results from a survey that will be distributed door-to-door over the next few weeks. An online version of the survey is found at https://northlawndale.metroquest.com/. A webpage with an overview of CMAP’s work with North Lawndale, and a copy of the Power Point presentation for the day are found at http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/programs-and-resources/lta/north-lawndale.
Attendees participated in breakout discussions where they could talk about community issues in further detail. There were nine discussions as follows: 1) Housing, led by Richard Townsell; 2) Health and Wellness, led by Debra Wesley and Tameeka Christian; 3) Transportation, Infrastructure and Technology, led by Paul Norrington and Audrey Dunford; 4) Education and Youth, led by Dr. Betty Allen Green and Dr. Bernard Moore; 5) Arts and Culture led by Sheila J. McNary, Bonni Mckeown, Alysia Slusser and Cesar Quiroz; Public Safety led by Roger Washington and Norman Livingston Kerr; 6) Economic Development led by Eric Lindsay, Vince Guider and Bernard Jennings; a youth session led by Ellen Moiani and a children’s session led by Kimberly George.
The notes from the conference will be used to inform the comprehensive planning process and to identify goals, objectives and desired results of the planning process. The notes are being compiled and will be posted on the NLCCC website within the next few weeks. Visit http://nlcccplanning.org to learn more about the organization. Keep up with the latest events by following the blog, finding the organization on Facebook and following NLCCC on Twitter.
The North Lawndale Coordinating Council (NLCCC) is a group of North Lawndale stakeholders, including community-based organizations, business owners, elected officials and individuals, that have come together to guide comprehensive planning and implementation in North Lawndale (Community Area 29). NLCCC develops innovative solutions to improve the built environment and to increase the capacity of local organizations to make a positive impact on the community.