Coalition for Equitable Community Development
Promoting an Economically and Racially Diverse Community in Chicago's Hyde Park-Kenwood Neighborhood



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February 20 2008 Kickoff meeting and the May 20 meeting of the Coalition for Equitable Community Development- Hyde Park-Kenwood

This page was prepared by Gary Ossewaarde from Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference's Affordable Housing Steering Committee page, which has additional information and links.


Pre coverage of the February 20 kickoff: Housing group launches member drive, board of directors election

Hyde Park Herald, February 14, 2008. by Kate Hawley

A newly minted organization aimed at preserving affordable housing in Hyde Park will elect its board of directors next week.

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development will hold the election at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. All coalition members can vote, according to Pat Wilcoxen, one of it incorporators. She encouraged anyone interested in housing issues in Hyde Park and its environs to become a member. "We want individuals who reflect our diverse community," she said. Membership information is available online at or by calling Wilcoxen at 643-7495.

The coalition has been in the making since April 2006, when a pair of local groups, Hyde Park-Kenwood Interfaith Open Communities and the Older Women's League, first met to consider ways to keep longtime residents from being pushed out by rising home prices. A task force convened by those groups launched the Coalition for Equitable Community Development which met officially for the first time on Dec. 5 last year.

Electing a board of directors is a critical step in attaining non-profit status for the coalition, Wilcoxen said. Its finances are currently handled by Interfaith Open communities, a Chicago metropolitan area non-profit where Wilcoxen is a project manager.

The coalition's goal is to create a "big tent" under which activists of many stripes can unite to support affordable housing -- particularly in new projects in which the community has a say. "We want to be there to influence the plans," Wilcoxen said.

While there is less new development in Hyde Park than in some surrounding neighborhoods, Wilcoxen note a handful of projects in the works.

Proposed redevelopments of the Harper Court mall, 5211 S. Harper Ave., and Village Center mall, at 1525 E. Hyde Park Blvd., may include homes. And more new building could come to Hyde park if Las Vegas-based L3 Development moves forward with plans for two properties on 53rd street. It has a option on the Mobil-McDonalds site between Kimbark and Kenwood avenues, and has torn down a building at 1620 E. 53rd St. to make way for a high-rise.

Those plans are on hold at the moment. L3 is "trying to figure out what is possible in the changed development climate," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th). "Because of the housing crisis, it's very hard to get things funded."

Wilcoxen said Interfaith Open Communities already lobbied successfully for an affordable element at Solstice on the Park, the eco-friendly high-rise planned for 5526 [sic]-5540 s. cornell Ave. Developer Antheus Capital plans to kick off sales in March. Antheus, which owns a building just north of the Solstice site, at 5528 S. Cornell Ave., agreed to keep its 53 units as rentals in perpetuity.

The local groups participating in the Coalition for Equitable Community Development include Interfaith Open Communities-Hyde Park Cluster, Hyde Park-Kenwood and Illinois Older women's League, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council, 57th Street Meeting of Friends and First Unitarian Church.


Notes on the May 20, 2008 Membership Meeting

By Gary Ossewaarde

Agenda: Call, minutes, approval of bylaws, Reports of committee action item, other business

Vicki Suchovsky of the Research Committee reported progress on assembling an inventory and map of Hyde Park real estate types and uses. More sources and next steps were identified.

Linda Thisted of the Affordable Housing Advocacy committee (AHA) reported on accomplishments and challenges and opportunities that have arisen over the past few months:

  • 56th Cornell-- negotiated all units in the apartment building to the north of proposed Solstice on the Park to be affordable in perpetuity by deed (if Solstice is built?)
  • L3 53rd Cornell-- negotiated with help of Ald. Preckwinkle to have the full 15% affordable units on site, committed to be scattered throughout and of all sizes and styles. (Not committed to every finish to be identifiable.) Commits to 20 total to be convertible to full handicapped accessible and all to be ADA compliant; AHA seeks commitment to a percentage of the affordable to be convertible. (See distributed statement, below)
  • Harper Court-- 20% affordable in the guidelines for RFP creates a new benchmark. AHA is looking at pressing for a proportion of retail space to be for startups.
  • St. Stephens. Not affordable, but developer will have to put $100,000 in an account to build affordable housing. Whether this can be directed needs to be researched.
  • Mobil-former McDonald's site. Will seek the affordable proportion when something is proposed.
  • Antheus MAC Properties. A pilot building for an added apartment in basements (freeing another apartment to be affordable) has been identified; parking issues are in discussion between MAC and the city.
  • Del Prado will be targeted for seniors and as senior friendly.
  • Grove Parc on Cottage Grove south of 61st. Has 500 section 8 HUD controlled apartments (some unoccupied) . Hope is to rehab and save 300 under a new management company that rehabs into affordable and manages them. There may be some displaced residents that Ald. Cochrane (20th) has indicated he wants to keep in his ward.
  • Meadville School. The main building is spectacular; a seniors conversion expert (Perkins-Eastman) walked through with the committee and said the structure is A-1 and suitable for such. University interest is likely; discussion with the University will be sought.
  • Sites that are candidates for affordable discussion: Shoreland Hotel, Doctors Hospital, Village Center...
  • The committee recommended supporting the efforts to have $100 million set aside in the state budget for affordable housing; support or interest was indicated by Rep. Currie and Sen. Raoul.
  • The committee has stated interest in being at the table re: the 2016 Olympic Village (16,000 units). It is in discussion concerning a working relation with SOUL (South Siders United for Liberation), a faith-based offshoot seeking a community benefits agreement with the Olympics.

A member suggested inclusion of cooperative housing and working with existing cooperative groups as part of the affordable advocacy program-- maybe seeking cooperative housing in the TIF.

George Rumsey reported on plans of the Membership committee and urged asking friends to join. Draft of a brochure was distributed.

President Pat Wilcoxen reported on Community Planning. She discussed findings of the 53rd Visioning Workshops (cosponsored by CECD), Harper Court Priorities Survey, Guidelines (The meeting endorsed placing on the board's agenda submitting comments).

Concern was expressed about the University of Chicago's preferred models for redevelopment-- Delmar in St. Louis, University of Pennsylvania, Oak Park/River Forest (that east of the latter was called better).

Wilcoxen noted that the next board meeting agenda included discussion with Soul and with Win Kennedy and the recent large number of foreclosures and how those losing or in danger of losing their homes could be helped.

The meeting was adjourned with the board to determine the next meeting.



CED statement on Proposed 53rd & Cornell Development

May 2008

The developer is proposing a 20 story building, with 206 rental apartments. At the April 23 meeting, they committed to 15% affordable units, on-site

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development position, refined, bases on April 23 meeting:

  • affordable units should be interspersed throughout the building with the same mix of bedrooms (studio/one bedroom/two bedrooms) as the market rate mix of units
  • affordable units should look essentially the same as the market rate units
  • 20 affordable units should be made fully handicap accessible

This will make the affordable apartments especially attractive to seniors. The location will be attractive because it is near public transportation and retail stores. Many seniors would prefer to rent, rather than to own, and would prefer to live in an elevator building. Handicap accessible units will be of particular interest to seniors.

Definition of Affordable

Income limit is based on city ordinance requirement of 60% percent of area median income. Affordable monthly rent is based on: Single person = Studio/1 Bedroom; Couple = 1 Bedroom; Family of 3 or 4 = 2 bedroom apartment.

  Single person Couple Family of 3 Family of 4
Income limit $31,680 $36,180 $40,750 $45,240
Affordable Rent $792/$848 $848 $2018