Chicago violence threatens success of 75th Street corridor businesses

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago violence is threatening the success of businesses along the 75th Street corridor, a growing symbol of hope for the South Side.

Friday could be one of the last days South Side resident Mike Lewis is able enjoy the 75th Street Boardwalk after recent gun violence has forced part of the promenade to come down.

"We're not going to let one incident deter us from coming back and having a good time and showing love in our community," he said.

The removal proposed by the Greater Chatham Initiative follows an early morning attack long the 75th Street business corridor last weekend that killed a 29-year-old mother of three and left many more wounded. Organizers with anti-violence group Acclivius want more resources put into the area.

"We have the right team, I think, working a little later. So giving us resources to add an additional team to be in those areas," said Bamani Obadeli, Acclivius.

The boardwalk remains a neighborhood issue. The lack of parking and garbage are some of the complaints about the boardwalk, which was created to provide an outdoor dining space for restaurants on what's considered to be Chicago's Black Wall Street.

"I believe we should remove some of it," said Lamar Burkhalter, general manager of Mabe's Deli. "It would actually help the business, not hurt the business."

As a proponent of continued growth on 75th Street, 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer said he understands the concerns of everyone involved, adding the concept shouldn't be abandoned, just reimagined.

"We've got to find a way to do it where it is safe, and it is beneficial to both the business, and the community, and the residents, and we keep the strip clear after hours, after everything is closed," he said.
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