Auburn Gresham residents drive investment in their community
Some consider Auburn Gresham to be plagued by economic insecurity for its residents, lack of education and employment options (including for young people), and general negative perceptions of the wider south side. Auburn Gresham views its community as a home to hidden riches and treasures. That’s how everyone should see it.
At a time when affordable housing is a major flashpoint in Chicago and other cities across the country, most side streets in Auburn Gresham feature a full range of bungalow, two-bedroom and apartment buildings. well maintained apartments. The neighborhood is connected to other Chicago communities by bus, CTA bus and train, and the Metra commuter line, with an Auburn Park station slated for completion in 2024. The historic homes along a chain of lagoons on the Winneconna Parkway offer a scenic experience like no other. other neighborhood.
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Additionally, Auburn Gresham has strong community institutions and organizations, including the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corp. – our partner in the Quality-of-Life plan – thriving religious communities in St. Sabina and the Nation of Islam, and reputable schools. including Leo Catholic High School. Most importantly, a community of involved citizens and families who call this community home have organized themselves to drive continued investment in the neighborhood.
Quality of Life Plans are asset and strength-based visions for the future of a community created and owned by the community, and they have served as a guide for investments and follow-up efforts to improve and redevelop these community areas. The collaborative process inherent in creating a QLP empowers neighborhoods by building the capacity of existing community organizations and providing a framework through which they can assess and build on unique human, institutional and physical assets while identifying and addressing specific challenges. Neighborhoods across the city have embarked on this process, with community organizations spearheading and LISC Chicago as a trusted partner and facilitator in 27 QLPs to date, generating more than $900 million in new, community-aligned investments. community visions and goals.
The 2016 Auburn Gresham Quality of Life Plan Steering Committee included more than a thousand residents, city officials, aldermen, district police officers and an elementary school principal, who drew on the expertise of an extensive task force including a special Brave Youth Representation of Next Generation Leaders group. The resulting document, “Auburn Gresham: Your Voice Matters,” combines material strategies to meet residents’ needs and desires for their community and a deep love of that community.
Auburn Gresham Partners have worked for decades to build on community assets and create programs to support people and places in the neighborhood. So much tangible work has resulted in the creation of a pipeline of local educators; support for local owners and businesses; strengthening business corridors; and attracting catalytic investments like the new Metra station on 79th Street and the Healthy Lifestyles Hub, a new retail building focused on health access and a urban farm and renewable energy campus.
Institutional and organizational partnerships grow and new relationships are formed through Auburn Gresham’s collaborative planning process. Thanks to all of these efforts, we know that Auburn Gresham is a place to invest, live and prosper.