Alderman: Hiking Price Of Demolitions Could Slow Gentrification Along 606 Trail

(CBS) — The 606 is getting high marks as a destination that attracts up and comers, but the price may be too high for people who always called the area home and are now struggling to afford it.

Just below the popular hiking-and-biking trail are two sides of a changing neighborhood: a spot where haircuts are still $17, and a newer place to repair a $1,000 bicycle.

“A lot of my folks have been pushed out,” says Rev. Paula Cripps Vallejo of Humbolt Park United Methodist Church.

She says the biggest impact is on housing. A two-bedroom condominium sells for $400,000. Rents for a three-bedroom apartment can hit $2,300.

“That’s a lot of money,” says Juan Carlos Linares.

The number of dwellings being demolished and replaced by homes with price tags near $1 million isn’t lost on those lobbying for affordable housing in this once working-class neighborhood.

“These folks can’t afford to live in this neighborhood anymore,” Linares says.

First Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno says he sees the shift. He is one of three area City Council members who want to increase the city’s demolition fee in wards surrounding the 606 to slow down development. The current, roughly $5,000 fee would be increased by 10 or 20 times.

“If you want to do this, it’s going to be a significant amount of money,” Moreno says.

Black dots on a map represent demolition permits. They increase the closer they get to the 606 in the center.

Moreno’s also proposing incentives for developers to improve homes, rather than tear them down to keep neighborhood from completely losing its identity.

“We want to be more proactive than reactive. It’s not widespread but it’s starting to creep in,” Moreno says.

 

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