CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials and activists say the planned Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park may be the largest project underway on Chicago’s South Side — but it’s not the only part of South Shore’s revitalization.
In addition to the President Library and Center, there are hopes of redeveloping the old Michael Reese Hospital and the U.S. Steel South Works sites, as well as improving the Jackson Park golf course.
Anton Seals Jr., a community activist with the coalition known as South Shore Works, says it’s a diverse area united, in many ways, around a vision for the future.
“We want to do what is not really talked about right now, which is attracting young black families — young people, period — to come back and invest in these neighborhoods, either as home buyers or as renters,” Seals said. “I think we have a unique mix of kinds of people in our community who crisscross the economic spectrum.”
And a local business leader says residents want development without displacement.
Tonya Love Trice, executive director of South Shore Chamber, Inc., agrees that the Barack Obama President Center will be a game-changer for the South Side, but noted that it’s a long-term effort and affecting a lot of lives.
“It’s important that we make sure that everyone living in South Shore has a voice, has a place in the community after the library is built and that these people are not displaced,” Trice said. “We want development, but we want development without displacement.”
Trice said the Obama Center won’t be the end of the story, either.
“We have to work together, as well as with the elected officials, to make sure that South Shore is there for growth and future development.”