Roseland business owners seek renewed investment in once thriving South Side Chicago community

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Roseland business owners seek renewed investment in once thriving South Side Chicago community
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Chicago's Roseland residents are wondering when community investment similar to that of the Pullman National Monument will come their way.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A lot of fanfare and celebration surrounded the opening of the Pullman National Monument but residents on the other side of the tracks in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood are wondering when similar investment will come their way.

RELATED: Pullman National Monument opens, will host grand opening events over weekend

Bass Furniture has been at the same location for 81 years on the corner of 114th and Michigan. It is the oldest business of its kind in the Roseland neighborhood.

"We believe in building positive relationships with our customers, we have customers who have been shopping here for 40 to 50 years," said Bass Furniture Owner, Eddie Davis.

Davis credits customer service for Bass Furniture's longevity, not a thriving South Michigan Avenue business district, as it use to be decades ago.

"In its hey day, people would come to Roseland to shop rather than go downtown," said Davis.

The once thriving strip is in the 9th ward, the same ward that celebrated the opening of the Pullman National Monument on Monday and in recent years, the additions of big companies, like Walmart.

But, it's a different story on the other side of the tracks and a few blocks West. Davis is not convinced his business will reap any of Pullman's benefits

Roseland's Michigan Avenue is part of Mayor Lightfoot's Invest South/West Initiative where public private resources are marshaled to specific areas on the South and West sides

SEE ALSO: Pullman National Monument, birth site of labor movement, opens on Labor Day

On Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot toured Michigan Avenue.

"We have great ambitions for Roseland and we are going to rally the community behind those," said Lightfoot.

But, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale says his community has rejected the Mayor's plans.

"I think what is happening they are trying to do is 1 or 2 little one offs to point we've done some things, but it doesn't have any long tern sustainability," said Beale.

Beal's idea is to develop a needed medical district to create density, which will be followed by shops and restaurants.

"Until you create that density we are spinning our wheels," said Beale.

While he has seen Michigan Avenue plans come and go, Eddie Davis says he isn't going anywhere. But's he admits at 78 years old, he is tired of waiting for politicians to follow through on their promises.