CHICAGO (CBS) — Two neighborhoods on Chicago’s far South side, Pullman and Roseland, may share a border, but the two have one major difference.
The charm of Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood is almost eclipsed by signs of economic growth. Investments led to a shopping center, strip mall, and soon-to0be community sports training facility.
$300 million in economic development dollars have been spent in the past few years.
“All those things are equal to a reduction in crime,” said Alderman Anthony Beale (9th Ward).
A few blocks west, however, is a different story.
“This is blight. This is what you call a blighted community,” Ald. Beale said.
Roseland is a neighborhood left perpetually struggling since its economic heyday about 40 years ago.
“It disheartens me, but at the same time I see something that you don’t: that revitalization is possible,” said the Alderman, revitalization he says he’s continually trying to sell. The lack of it, though, is contributing to vacant buildings, lots, joblessness, and crime.
“Now I’m depressed. Now I’m using some drugs. That just begins a reciprocating factor in families,” stated Marsha Eaglin, the founder of IMPACT Family Center.
Eaglin says her goal, through programs and events, is to mentor, train, and support people in neighborhoods like Roseland. She says hopes for a future in those communities can be scarce.
“It is all about the resources,” said Alderman Beale. “We have to fight harder. Every governor that has ever come past has says ‘What can we do in a black and brown community’ and they come and cater to our votes, get our votes, and then you never see the resources after that.”
Eaglin calls it a shared lack of follow through.
“But when you do what you say you do, it’s better,” she said, saying it needs to be shared by all community and religious leaders.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reached out to state senator Napoleon Harris and State Representative Robert Rita for comment on this issue. They did not return calls.