Morgan Park Juneteenth festival highlights local efforts to revitalize empty lot

St. Joseph MB Church in West Garfield hosted 8th annual Juneteenth parade, picnic

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Saturday, June 18, 2022
Far South Side festival highlights efforts to revitalize empty lot
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A Morgan Park Juneteenth 2022 festival is showcasing efforts to revitalize an empty lot with housing and retail.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While Saturday's Morgan Park gathering is to celebrate the national holiday, Juneteenth, organizers said it's also to highlight the local efforts to revitalize an empty lot.

It has been vacant for over a decade and organizers with Far South Community Development Corporation are planning to begin a mixed-use development project with housing and retail for people in the Morgan Park neighborhood.

The lot at 115th and Halsted used to house a former grocery store, but developers want to bring it new life.

"It's kind of just been sitting here blighted, and what we want we want to do is bring this site back, reactivate it for the community because this is like an anchor for this neighborhood. It's kind of in the center of this neighborhood. And, we just want to redevelop it," said Far South Community Development Corporation COO Nikiesha Emery.

Right now, organizers said $10 million is earmarked for the project, which will be built in three phases. The first phase is expected begin in spring of next year.

A longtime Juneteenth parade also returned to Chicago's West Garfield Park after two years as a parade caravan.

The St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church will host its 8th Annual African-American Awareness and Appreciation Parade on Saturday.

It stepped off from the church 2901 W. Monroe at 11 a.m. The route then traveled from 5th Avenue and Francisco and ends with a picnic at Garfield Park, near Washington Blvd. and Central Park Ave.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021.