Coalition for Equitable Community Development
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 www.hydepark.org 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 IOCIllinois.org 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.
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:
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.