Pill Hill residents oppose low-income senior housing project

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A new senior housing project coming to Chicago's Pill Hill neighborhood on the Far South Side has outraged residents. (WLS)

A new senior housing project coming to Chicago's Pill Hill neighborhood on the Far South Side has outraged residents, who are raising their concerns with the alderman who is the driving force behind the development.

The controversy stems from a plan to build a 7-story residential building for senior citizens in a huge empty lot in the neighborhood, located in the Calumet Heights community. Most of the 134 units will be for low-income seniors.

"These are homes here, why put a gigantic building right at the fence line? I don't think it's fair to them and I don't think it's fair to us," said Charles Martin, who has lived in Pill Hill for 50 years and is just a few doors down from where the development would be built.

On Wednesday, Martin and other residents who oppose the project protested outside the office of Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward). They chanted: "We don't want it."

The group accuses Harris of not being transparent with the need for a senior building

The proposed senior development is planned for the 9300- and 9400-blocks of Stoney Island. Right now, it is zoned commercial. Residents who oppose the senior building say the land should stay commercial.

"My children want to work in their ward, they have to travel outside their ward for a job, we want economic development, we are begging for it," said Kenyetta Hunter, who opposes the development.

Others worry about a low-income tall building possibly bringing down property values.

For decades, the Pill Hill neighborhood has been a South Side enclave for middle and upper middle class residents.

"Those neighborhoods are few and far between on the South Side for African-Americans why endanger that for no benefit?" said Diedra Delaney, who opposes the project.

In a written statement, Ald. Harris said the process to develop the land has been transparent. She said the building is for all senior income levels not just low income.

If a zoning change is approved in May, the development will be clear to break ground in late summer.

Ald. Harris released the following statement Wednesday night:

"I find it curious that opponents of much-needed, affordable senior living continue to spread misinformation about Montclare Senior Residences of Calumet Heights. Throughout this transparent process, I and my staff have made clear through press releases, newsletters, at community meetings and on social media that Montclare will be a mix of rental assistance units with market rate apartments for independent seniors, 62-years-old and above-it is not a 'low-income senior housing' venture, and all incomes are welcome. Additionally, the number of floors in the proposed building is in line with a number of other multi-floor residences in the Eighth Ward. As Alderman, I will continue to fight to provide for our seniors and, frankly, I question the motivations of any campaign against a direly needed resource for aging residents, who always face a need for good, safe, affordable housing options on the South Side of Chicago."
Related Topics:
realestatesenior citizensreal estate developmenthousingCalumet Heights
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