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Hyde Park Salon Fighting Eviction Amid Neighborhood Revival

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(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Hyde Park business owner is hoping for the best when she goes to court Monday to fight an eviction action from an organization that buys and sells property for the University of Chicago.

Sahan Kourouma views the battle as the big guy trying to sit on the little people. She’s run her Motherland Salon on 1459 E. 53rd St. for about 20 years. The new owners of her building want her out, and have “Space to Lease” signs all over the front of the building, but Kourouma’s lease runs until 2015.

Now, though, she’s fighting an eviction proceeding. Lake Park Associates, which bought the building, claims Kourouma was late or missed the December 2013 payment, according to Kourouma’s lawyer Salvador Lopez. Kourouma denies that.

She believes management just wants to break the lease she has to bring in bigger name businesses, as part of a continuing makeover of the neighborhood. In the past year or so, Hyde Park has gotten a Five Guys burger joint, an Akira fashion store, a Clarke’s diner, a new Hyatt hotel, an L.A. Fitness gym, and a Chipotle restaurant. Next year, a Whole Foods grocery will open at Hyde Park Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue.

Kourouma wants to be part of the neighborhood revival.

“Even though we’re small people, we can to be a part of it. Let us be a part of it. Don’t kick us out,” she said.

Kourouma said her business has been part of the steady growth of Hyde Park in recent years and should be allowed to stay.

“I’m crying. My family is disturbed. We’re frustrated, because moving my business to another location is hurting my business,” Kourouma said

Lake Park Associates, which buys and sells property for the University of Chicago, has not responded to requests for comment.

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