BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — Roadblocks have gone up for a plan to bring dozens of boys from at-risk Chicago neighborhoods to the suburbs for a better life.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the Village of Barrington Hills website celebrates that residents have the ability to apply and build a shooting range on their property and raise animals.
But when in it comes to providing a roof for 25 Black and Brown children from Chicago, the founder of the InZone Project said he is being met with a bit more red tape.
Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.
“All the things that they currently don’t have from the communities that they come from in the city of Chicago,” Wallace said.
Wallace plans on moving 25 Black and Brown boys out of the South and West sides of Chicago into the home. He has legal guardianship over all the boys.
The goal is to give the boys access to good schools and more opportunity. It is a program that has a track record of success.
“The response from the village has been shocking in my opinion,” Wallace said.
Wallace provided emails showing he began communicating with village leadership in 2018 about his plan.
“Nobody responded back,” Wallace said.
It is silence that Wallace says has killed.
“Because of your lack of responding in a professional manner, at least one of those boys who was supposed to move with me lost his life while sitting on his porch in his community,” Wallace told the Barrington Hills Village Board.
At a village board meeting Monday night, Wallace was told the issue would need to go in front of the zoning board – and his plan that he has been asking about since 2018 now needs special permission to operate, as the village calls it a “group home.”
“This is a human rights issue,” said Laurie Proctor, who supports the InZone Project. “It’s not a zoning issue.”
“We should see this as an opportunity to give Black and Brown boys from Chicago a chance to learn within one of nation’s top public school systems,” said Abigail Bergan, also a supporter of the InZone Project.
The community stood in the halls predominantly stood behind Wallace and his vision.
“I absolutely believe that it’s discrimination,” Wallace said, “and up until this point, I thought this was only something I was feeling. I did not believe this was true, until recently I received a leaked email,” Wallace said.
“It is time to do right thing,” Laurie added. “These boys are welcome. We want them here.”
The village said due to a higher number of zoning-related issues, including the InZone Project, they will not be using their own attorneys. The village has retained an outside law firm.
Two of those attorneys were in attendance Monday night. Wallace raised questions about the optics of that, because two of the attorneys were Black.