Woodlawn residents voice concerns as 3 finalists present plans for affordable housing project

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Woodlawn residents voice concerns as 3 finalists present plans for affordable housing project
Woodlawn residents voiced their concerns about construction and traffic as finalists presented their plans for an affordable housing project.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Developers, stakeholders and residents came together Saturday on Chicago's South Side to help evolve the Woodlawn neighborhood.

"I love the improvement. People are not against improvement. They just want to be a part of it," said Woodlawn resident Honni Harris.

SEE ALSO | 'West Woodlawn Pointe' development transforms vacant lots into new homes

It's an area that has seen much more investment in recent years, with billions of dollars going toward projects like the Obama Presidential Center. But, Saturday's 14th Annual Woodlawn Community Summit sparked ideas to bring in more affordable housing and businesses, specifically to the 63rd Street corridor.

"I think that they're beautiful. I think it's gonna lend a lot to the neighborhood. What comes with it? With the affordable housing? I don't know. That's kind of questionable," said Woodlawn resident Corin Rogers.

Three finalists presented their company's plans for the affordable housing project.

"So, one is proposing townhouses, another opposing live work unit. And, so, it really will be something that expands the options, and really has something for everyone," said Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox.

Residents have differing opinions on what that could look like, and how it could impact them, especially for those who live along 63rd Street right now.

"It's exciting, because it's change, but how much change is it gonna be? It's gonna be very, very busy. Looks kind of congested," said Woodlawn resident Andrea Burrell. "I live literally right behind where they're trying to put all of the residences and the retail shops."

Many people voiced similar concerns on Saturday, especially with construction of the Obama Presidential Center already causing some traffic headaches.

"I would just say to residents, 'hang in there.' It's temporary. When this is finished, they are going to be so incredibly proud," Cox said.

While the winning development bid will have to follow economical ordinances, some residents are hoping all of this new development won't price them out of their community.

READ MORE | Chicago real estate developer on mission to close wealth gap between white, Black families

"I want to be a part of that. I want the good stuff too, but I'm not rich," Harris said.

Residents are planning to participate in more forums like Saturday's in coming weeks to hear different voices in the community. The hope is to select a winner for the 63rd Street development sometime in April.