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Added Aug 25 2011

Residents of Bronzeville and surrounding areas, let's put our heads together and brainstorm the types of businesses that we'd like in our neighborhood! Step 1: Give 1-3 suggestions, along with where you think the businesses should be located. I'll leave this open for a few days and we'll move onto Step 2, which will be counting the suggestions and narrowing down to the top three suggestions. After that, we'll take it from there. Thanks in advance!

  • Jennifer Bridgeport to Bucktown and some places in between

    a nice coffee shop/bakery or book store,
    a jewel/cermak foods/whole foods/ etc.
    me personally would love a Thai restaurant....

    ideally should be located between 34th to 36th streets to make it accessible to public transportation (especially coming from surrounding neighborhoods)

  • Kim

    Target or Dominicks!! Somewhere in the southeast area of bronzeville!

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    How about we take the vacant land along the State street corridor all the way to 55th street and create a massive shopping and entertainment. An ICON type of theatre, tennis/x-sport club, high end sports bar and white table cloth restaurant, chain and non chain boutiques. Crate and Barrel, Z Galleries, target, Best Buy, Ann Taylor, Bebe, Cache, home depot, chipolte, Omamha Steak House, bike shop, moped rental,Teavana tea shop, exercise equipment store. This is a start. why can't the people we employ to represent our community come up with any ideas. They should be saying to us here is what we thought of what do you think! Let's not forget the children can we have some place for them to have fun activites safely.

  • Jennifer Bridgeport to Bucktown and some places in between

    how about a Boys & Girls club for the kids? that would be ideal - a safe place to play/learn/etc

  • Personally, if the shop keepers in my neighborhood would stop the loitering around their parking lots and front doors I would utilize the those in my area. I do not always feel safe parking or walking in & out of these shops without someone tyring to sell me loose cigarettes, begging for change, or staring me down as if I don't belong.

    So my goal is to force the shop keepers who are here already to clean up their property, Prevent loitering. Routinely check their lighting/signs for disrepair / Pay attention to the trash in front & back / accept debit & credit cards readily / be courteous to customers....then I'll use their facilities and wouldn't necessarily need new ones.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    WOW! You have said the absolute truth.

  • Angela M 7 year North Kenwood Resident

    Target or similar store, coffee shop, nice reasonably priced restaurant with healthy food like a Jason's deli

  • GRD GRD

    Very good comments, T.W., I too would use some of the businesses if people weren't out there loitering. At one place some guy was selling perfume. 'Cmon now.

    I don't understand how these business owner's expect to get a customer base when people are hanging out.

  • @Jennifer, there is a Boys & Girls Club on 41st and Cottage Grove inside Holy Angels School. I also think there may be another on State and but I could be mistaken.

    But a 'teen' sceen type of community center would be nice for a lot of the roving youth in our community. I'd place it right across the street from police headquarters.

  • Jennifer Bridgeport to Bucktown and some places in between

    @TW aaah - i wasn't sure, just giving suggestions. Bronzeville is so close to Bridgeport i would like to be able to enjoy/explore the neighborhood and not have to venture downtown/north

    yes there needs to be some kind of community center.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Another great idea Jennifer.

  • Freda I live in the Bronzeville area. I love this place!

    A better and more reasonably priced grocery store and a good shoe store. We could also get rid of all these chicken joints too!!

  • lisa Bronzeville condo dweller

    Definitely a Chipotle. I pretty agreed with Paulette's 1st post. Ideal location would be State St btw 39th and 43 or 46th st area.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Thank you Freda. No more fast foos. We need healthy choices. Every place aroun here will give cancer, high blood pressure and or diabetes.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Excuse me everyone I got so excitted, I mean fast foods.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    I agree with GRD. I am not sure some of the local businesses want good customers. That way they can sell lower quality products at inflated prices.

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Nice bar/restaurant. Best business opportunity likely on 35th near US Cellular, IIT, police HQ, in addition to neighborhood patrons.

  • Scotty Kummer Attorney, runner, dog lover, Bronzeville Resident.

    I think my wife would be the happiest gal in Bronzeville if they put a Chipotle on State Street.

  • Rod Salaysay Realtor with Baird & Warner and Home Owner

    Let's get a public library with a community center near the running track and park on Cottage Grove and Pershing. Maybe it could be built in the Oakwood Shores development. How about a day care center in a more open area instead of all the smaller day care centers in churches and small homes. The kids need room to move.

  • bring a business that will sell me sensible items at sensible prices. everything is costing way too much. will someone sell toilet paper that doesn't break the bank. NO MORE JUNKFOOD SPOTS! sick of pizza puffs, fried everything, and sugar coated. why not create a public fieldhouse for the kids to play and learn new things that school doesn't provide. the children in this neighborhood need a clean safe environment to exist in. more green areas with trees and such. more community gardens please! instead of the cops chasing the kids why not have the police organize athletic leagues for basketball, bowling, etc in their free time, instead of shaking down the neighborhood and instilling fear of the CPD.

  • Since we're discussing the things we'd like brought in...I thought I'd name the places where I think they try to do things the right way. I love Munchies on 35th street and honestly would have preferred if they would have kept the BBQ shop separate but it won't stop me from having a pot roast sandwich. I also like Mama Lou's on 35th Street, a little overpriced but when I consider the gas saved absolutely worth it! I appreciate the little sandwich shop/ice cream shop called Ain't She Sweet Cafe on 43rd. I've had 'Da Steve' at least once per month and its delish each time. Norman's Bistro on 43rd & Ellis.....I've only been to the bar for drinks watching the game but the atmosphere & decor is wonderful. I plan to try the food over the long weekend. I'll let you know how it goes! There is also a little Goree shop on 47th and Woodlawn who has the friendliest owner, so I purchase incense, earrings and other items from his little shop regularly.

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Great thoughts and agreed across the board on those places TW. I haven't been to Ain't She Sweet yet so will need to check that out. Norman's Bistro is great. I was really impressed when I went there for dinner. That's the type of place that is missing in north Bronzeville.

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    I love everyone's ideas! THANK YOU! Who's interested in starting a small task force to work with Ald. Pat Dowell's office to suggest and solicit these businesses? Perhaps we should meet first as a group and get out ideas prioritized and develop an action plan. Thoughts?

  • I've never been on a this type of task force but I would be interested in assisting and learning.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    I would love to be a part of this committee. When and where should we meet. The Hall Library on 48th and Michigan is always available for free.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    The Church's on 35th is being replaced with the new Urban Partnership Bank branch. One chicken joint gone....The Pickford theater is gone. Some entertainment venues and restaurants in Bronzeville would help local tourism. Any body heard about the Wal Mart plan for 39th and State ?

  • I have not heard about a Wal Mart in the area but I would prefer not having one in the area. When I think of Bronzeville I think of little eclectic shops, restaurants, beautiful grey stones and old homes....I'm not a fan of big box (which may be why I'm not a fan of the high rises lining King Drive) but this resident is at peace having to travel to Wal Mart in other areas. I know its selfish of me, but I don't think big box stores promote neighborhood living and 39th & State doesn't scream commerical area to me.

  • Ray

    I am wondering if any pressure is on at eliminating the liquor store located at 35th and Indiana, I view this as a problem source that attracts loitering and being a negative influence on legitimate buisnesses being attracted to this area.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    Actually, the owner of the store works with the alderman and the police to keep the loitering away from his door. There has been some mention about the bus stop and the McDonalds also contributing to the loitering. The situation is complex. Are you suggesting that the area be "dry"?

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    To follow up...I have heard that the concept for 39th and State is an "urban design" something called a Wal-Mart express. Never seen one, I would be interested to hear more

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    If you are investigating holding a meeting, I would like to have you guys down at the Visitor Information Center for a meeting. I have
    a couple of dates open, the Visitor Center will host the meeting.
    The address is 411 E. 35th St, in the Supreme Life Building. Parking is through the alley in the rear of the building. Anyone interested ? Drop a note to bviconline@gmail.com. Let me know...

  • GRD GRD

    Well then more work needs to be done, if people aren't by the door they're close by. I guess legally not much can be done, but after a while isn't it loitering? Which they can do something about. Same issue with that other liquor store on 39th.

    I hate to see an area go dry, because there are responsible customers, you don't see people hanging around outside of the south loop Binny's or the one in Hyde Park, so if these businesses can't operate like them, then yes vote the area dry. Because as they are now, we don't shop there. My husband did a year ago and he just said, never again. Not worth trying to be shaken down for change.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    I agree, we conduct walking tours in the area and it presents a problem not only to residents, but visitors as well. We have the "walk of fame", obelisks on state st, and a number of historic sites. Some type of transformation is necessary, moving the bus stop? maybe some beautification work? A beat cop ? A more upscale store? It definitely could use some discussion..

  • Ray

    I guess GRD nailed it you want the shopping experience to be similar to going to Binny's but what are you really saying, it somehow comes back to people hanging around these establishments and intentionally or not creating an uninviting atmosphere, I would love to see more specialty shops, clothing boutiques, Dinner clubs, live music venues, more souvenier style shops that celebrate the history of the area. Something beyond the fast food, liquor model.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    agreed, I just prefer a velvet glove to a sledgehammer. we have over 200 vacant lots in our area and some of the have to be amenable to the suggestions above. Would the situations be better if the store on 35th looked like a Binny's ? Instead of a fortress? My question of dry was not to deprive the customers, that industry is a big part of tourism (admittedly sit down not carry out),
    but are we talking about content or appearance?

  • Ray

    If it looks like a duck, you get the point, perception is reality to the casual person, once you upgrade the landscape loitering usually subsides or becomes less noticeable, the trash, grime, unsavory storefronts all contribute to this impression.

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Hello all! Thanks so much for the healthy, active discussion on what we can do to attract businesses to Bronzeville! I reached out to Ald. Dowell about having our group work with her to attract businesses to Bronzeville, and her office responded by saying she'd like to meet with us and hear our ideas. I think we need to meet first to prioritize ideas on businesses and how we think they'd benefit our community first. I am totally fine with meeting at the Bronzeville Visitor Info Center! When would be the best day/time for the center to host our meeting? Please advise. Thanks!

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Those of you who are interested in preparing ideas for businesses in Bronzeville with Ald. Dowell, please provide me with your name, email, phone number, and best days/times for you to meet. I can be reached at ericamo1@yahoo.com. Thanks, and talk with you soon!

  • James G S Side home owner

    Addition by subtraction- drop the liquor stores, checks cashed, cheap shoe stores and the rest will take care of itself. If you have people selling "loose squares" while drinking your cappuccino I don't see that business lasting too long.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Hello Erica, any evening during the week. Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoon. If the guys are willing to give up football.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Some of the vacant land on State street should be donated to businesses as a tax incentive. This might help attract business to the community.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    Erica, We have docent training scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd, How does the 21st of August sound ? Say 6:30 ? Say I hold open 2 hours with a backup date of tuesday the 27th or wednesday the
    28th. Let me know how this date works for everyone.....

  • I would be interested as well. I certainly have a number of ideas that would benefit development of the area.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    1. A walmart grocery store is needed, we need fresh produce in order to break the monopoly that Jewel Foods at 34th & King Drive has on the community wth there extreme prices. A competitor would force them to lower their prices and provide quality produce. This walmart could also be a pick-up location for appliances that have been order over the internet. It could be located at 35th & State or 35th & Cottage or even on land west of Drake elementary around 27th Calumet (near Street & Sanitation around South Commons)
    2. We need a small Univ. of Chicago Satellite Practice for school dental, physicals and vision care and possibly geriatric wellness and podiatrists.
    3. We need a big box retailor (Sears, Microcenter) small businesses create very liitle employment. The owner and his wife may run the store and maybe 1 employee. How is this helping the many unemployed in our region. 20 businesses employing 20 people verses 2 big box retailers employing 300 or more is a big difference. The Alderman could court them with TIF funds under the condition that they hire a certain percentage from the community.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    The medical practice could take the space that McDonalds or All Faith Pavillion is occupying on 35th. At least this place would be closed at night.

    Also TIF funds could be used to remove the gas station on 35th Street to expand the library and add a sit down coffee shop on the 1st floor.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    We need a fitness center along 35th that is preaching the message of "Stay away from fried Foods" and why it is important change the way that we prepare our foods for a healthier lifestyle. When more residents begin to eat healthy, the fast food businesses will close becase they will no longer have a market in this region..

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    These are just some of my thought. The Walmart grocer idea was an excellent suggestion from my husband.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    A small home & garden center would be nice. It could replace the slumlord business on the northeast corner of prairie or McDonalds.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    Please overlook my typos! I am too lazy to edit. Not getting very much sleep and someone asked me to post my suggestions on this blog.

  • GRD GRD

    It doesn't have to be a Walmart for food. What ever happened to that Roundy's slated for 39th and State, or somewhere around there?

    The problem with Walmart is that many smaller businesses fear Walmart and can't compete price wise. Even other big box places won't come in, again because of pricing. Why would a Microcenter come in when you can get a laptop at Walmart cheaper.

    Be very careful with wanting a Walmart, because that may be all you'll get.

    Mom & Pop places may only employ a few, however if you have many mom & pop places you'll employ many. You'll also have a sense of community, better customer service, because these business need to earn your business. Perhaps better quality products, not everything made in China. You'll also get a walkable community, more people walking to businesses will get rid of the loiterers.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    To GRD; Walmart was just an example of a store selling produce. Do you have any ideas to share? The area that I am referring to is already 85% - 90 % walkable. There are loiters on 35th outside of the small businesses right now. The beauty supply house on 35th & Giles has loiterers and they have a sign that says "we call the police" and people loiter from the laundrymat. Also this beauty supply business is owned by Asians who give nothing back to the community. Did you know that Asians do not allow African Americans to become beauty supply distributors. This is a billion dollar industry and they have a monopoly off of providing hair care product to black community. When these owners close their business each day, their resources are going with them to their own neighborhoods not hours.

    Also Mom & Pop chicken shacks attract loiteres and the business like the one on the northeast corner of 35th & Prairie that is also foreign owned and stocked with snack chips, pushed to the front of their windows to attract high school students and other junk food addicts, attract loiterers who block the sidewalk. It it generating negative traffic and the slumlord apartments above it that they were also renting have been boarded up, according to a neighbor. These business are not improving the walkability of the neighborhood! They are capitalizing off of the patronange of their clientele and taking their profits elsewhere.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    I would also like to comment about the Dunkin Donuts that is east of 35th King Drive, another Foreign owned mom/pop business. One time I was there and a customer ordered donuts, left the store with the order and came back a few minutes later to return it. A staff person sat the order on a can behind the counter and later added the donuts back with the others, not even knowing if the donuts were touched by the customer. This is when a customer became outraged about what she saw and told the rest of us who were waiting. Then I immediately left this establishment and never came back to patronize them. A neighbor said she believes that these owners also own the subway nearby.

    I understand that we should look out for mom/pop stores, but only the one's who respect our patronage.

    Also many of us go to Home Depot, Sears and Electronic stores and we should not have to travel for appliance, home/garden or linen.

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    JRMD, grandma, and GRD, pls send me your contact info (name, number and email address) if you are interested in prepping for a meeting with Ald. Pat Dowell to discuss the strategy for attracting businesses to Bronzeville soon. My email address is ericamo1@yahoo.com. Thanks!

  • GRD GRD

    Yes, my suggestion was in the thread "What about the Roundy's" A regular grocery store was proposed for the area, and the alderman ran on her commitment to getting the Roundy's.

    The small businesses that allow loitering should be held accountable for not calling the police, and people going by or that live close should call too. If you keep calling they will come out, the people will move along because they'll get tired of being hassled by the cops. My corner was starting to be a late night hang out, so I called the cops, and they came back, called again and again, now they're not here. If they come back, I'll start calling again.

    If the Asian place does not allow African American customers file a complaint with the city, people need not stand for that.

    I said nothing about opening chicken shacks or fast food. How about some clothing, shoes, or a pet food store? Some cafe's. There is a cool vintage store Forever Nana's on Michigan Ave, just north of the expressway, she has clothes, some furniture and art done by local artists.

    Again, I said nothing about "chicken shacks" so please don't go reading between the lines.

    A Walmart? Do you really think they're going to be concerned about anything beyond their parking lot? I don't think so. So you can put one up, and yes it will serve the community, but the rest around it will stay the same. Or, we can start holding these business owners accountable, for not getting rid of the loiterers and any other nasty habits they have.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    Where do you shop for linen, home/garden supplies, grills, tiles, fencing, boilers, waher/dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc. What mom/pop store are you shopping from for these items?

    Also these chicken shacks are owned by an individual (small business owner). If you wonder why there is so much trash on 35th street, it's because the small business owners do very little to clean up outside. I saw one employee sweeping the trash from inside the business to the outside and never returned to get it up

    This area has 30% employed, not enough to jumpstart the workforce from only more mom/pop stores.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    When Alderman Haithcock was Alderman, the City of Chicago / Department of Planning came to IIT and engaged the Gapco Community Organization in a discussion of how to develop the area along 35th street. They took lot's of ideas of how to use the TIF funds (meat market, shoe repair shops, fresh seafood shop, book store, fruit stand, many suggestions.) However the TIF was never used for these ideas. Maybe Gapco still has a copy of these plans for review or maybe it is still on record in the Citty of Chicago Dept of planning. Maybe you do not have to re-invent the wheel. This Planning Process was called the Bronzeville Charett and it's sad if this process is starting over again!!!

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Great ideas and good thoughts. I very much enjoy the conversation and love the direction it's going in. Great things to come I'm sure.

    I would ask that we keep gross generalizations and race out the conversation. It's not helping and hurts a more open and productive dialogue. Individual comments on businesses are fair but tying that to race and stereotyping not fair. Being "Southsiders" I am sure we can appreciate how blanket generalizations and perceptions are often not fair or true.

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who takes on the risk of opening their own business. I don't have the guts to do it. We can decide where to shop and with that "vote" if they should stay in business. Let's keep conversation focused on if business is providing a valued service and not who is running it please. Thank you.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    Mr. Ben G: Are you for mom/pop stores only?? What are your ideas??

  • Ben G,
    I understand your premise and it would be great in a Utopian world. Unfortunately, the businesses and the people who own them are greatly influenced by race and ethnic/ culture based values. I certainly believe that we all need to stay positive and embrace the discussion of these realities. To deny them, or to pretend they don't exist seems to exclude something important from the dialogue. My block is tremendously diverse and most of us here love it. The surrounding area however is not so diverse. There is a heavy concentration of African American folks who live with and carry scars from some amazingly challenging lives and histories. Many of these folks have certain tastes, beliefs, and values that directly impact the type of businesses that surround us. One could argue that many of these preferences are actually unhealthy and self-destructive and do not serve the advancement of their community. Being bi-racial, I feel I have a rather unique perspective and have been force to embrace many of these uncomfortable observations. I agree that we should focus the discussion on business and commerce. However it's important to acknowledge that racial and socio-economic factors have a powerful influence on what businesses are attracted to come, and successful enough to remain.

  • con't

    GRD made a comment about Asians and their exclusion from Blacks in the Hair care Industry. This is a commonly known fact. if you watch the movie, Good Hair you will see it covered in a rather shocking manner. this is particularly true regarding fake hair, weaves, and extensions. I do not think there is anything wrong with mentioning this so that one can condemn the practice and not support the business. The chicken shack theme is also alarming. my father came from Nigeria but I have no problem saying that the density of chicken shacks in this area is greatly influenced by the high density of poor Black residents in the area. I find it offensive and tremendously exploitative. As a physician, I know what this stuff does to these people and it's very harmful. it is also common that other races of people own these shops that make the local folks sick, develop nutritionally bad habits, and suck the money out of the local community to send somewhere else. I certainly am critical of this practice and I would hope that most others are as well. What I have discovered is that as one becomes more educated and open minded about embracing other races, cultures, and ideas things become less about race and more about healthy choices that promote choice, wellness, and prosperity for the community. We can and should do this but it will not be universally understood and appreciated by those too deeply indoctrinated in the self destructive norms of the past.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    Racial and Socio-economic factors is an excuse to bring mostly chicken shacks, cell phones and currency exchanges to the area. Many of the Census Tracts for this region have an average income of $80,000. But the city uses the CHA population to justify not bringing business to this area. If we can leave the area to spend our money in other communities. We would surely spend it in our own neighborhood. We travel to purchase appliances, linen, home/garden equipment and mostly else everything that we need. However, we are adding to the tax base of another community. I do know anyone on my block who shops on 35th street. However I do see questional traffic pulling up in cars so that they can loiter on this srtip.

  • Ray

    We developed this area before and we will do it again, Bronzeville has a history of Black Buisness, and the more I think about it,the more I realize this is a glorious opportunity for us to address our own needs and not expecting others to do it for us.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    I live on a diverse block and I like it that way as well. I applaud any and all businesses that are high quality and have a market for what I need for my home! We live in a free enterprise system.

  • EveryBlock Becca Director of Community Management

    Hey everyone, just a reminder that you can use your neighbor e-mail if you don't want to put your personal info on the site.

    Here's a blog post with more info on how to turn yours on: http://blog.everyblock.com/2011/may/16/email/

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    Hello all...
    There have been several studies done by the city of Bronzeville,
    the most interesting are the TIF study done in 1998, and a community study done around 2003. All the studies reach the conclusion that Bronzeville is a historical treasure, with over 50% of the city landmarks and national register homes. Recommendations span the gamut, but the later study recommended moving away from "strip mall" design (one story, multi vendor, rental space) to urban (multi story, store on 1st level, residences above) with designs that integrate into the greystone theme that permeates Bronzeville. You may find that the problem is that we have lost 12,000 to 15,000 people in the over 21 category as residents. Now, whether you feel that they were poor people (CHA) or of other classes, at minimum wage they represent the loss of millions of dollars of income and spending power in the neighborhood. We have to overcome that loss of income.

  • GRD GRD

    @JRMD, my comment was to grandma's post that said:
    "Also this beauty supply business is owned by Asians who give nothing back to the community. Did you know that Asians do not allow African Americans to become beauty supply distributors. This is a billion dollar industry and they have a monopoly off of providing hair care product to black community. When these owners close their business each day, their resources are going with them to their own neighborhoods not hours."

    My reply was to report the business to the city. I've never been in this beauty supply store. However, any business that isn't open to do business with anyone in the community they should be reported. I also don't know anything about beauty supply distributing.

    @Ray, your we developed this area before and can do it again, is a good sediment, however the area as you can see by what some people have posted is becoming diverse. All hands on deck are needed, as someone that adds to the diversity of the area, we moved here because we appreciate the history, museums, lakefront and the transportation.

    I view this as an opportunity to have a truly diverse neighborhood, my neighbors have made me feel welcome here.

  • Ray

    Let me seek to clarify, there is a rich history rooted here in the Black American experience, that should be considered, when I visit Chinatown I see Chinese architecture and motifs that remind me of their culture, the restaurants, shops and stores all reflect that, when I go to Division and Western I am met by a huge Puerto Rican Flag sculpture, and so forth I make no apologies for expecting my culture to be on display when you visit an area that is aptly named "Bronzeville".

  • Ray

    I have never seen a tour bus for average cookie cutter neighborhoods, what makes any area special is the unique and rich history that it has on display, let us remember why this is called "Bronzeville".

  • GRD GRD

    @Ray, Remembering and appreciating the rich history is essential, not only for Bronzeville but for all Chicago neighborhoods.

    Neighborhoods, evolve and history needs to be remembered, but do consider each day we create new history. Remember where you came from, however be willing to move forward.

    Excerpt:
    "The population of the Grand Boulevard community grew steadily throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century, attracting not only the wealthy, but middle- and working-class American-born whites of Irish, Scottish, and English origin, German Jews, and a few African Americans."

    http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/537.html

    So before it became the African American experience, it was home to other residents. The area evolved for many reasons. There isn't in my opinion neighborhood ownership, we're all just temporary residents and we need to be responsible for making it better.

  • Ray

    Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Village,Greektown etc. is not less any diverse that what I am proposing. You see that monument dedicated to the Black soldiers who fought for this country on 35th and King, you see the statue on 26th which celebrates the greatest migration in the history or this country. Tour buses stop regularly at 35th and Calumet not to hear the story of how Al Capone took control of the Sunset ballroom, but how Louis Armstrong and King Oliver brought this new sound and refined it here on 35th we have honored european accomplishments enough to the point it doesn't needs to be defended, let me also respond to your point, Millions of Native Americans lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota for centuries and yet we only mention Custer because he was historical. To not note historic accomplishments of the Bronzeville area which have made this area recognized all over the World is a Great Mistake.

  • Paulette Edwards Realtor and Home Owner

    Thanks Becca for your great work and commitment to the site.

  • GRD GRD

    Nowhere, did I say that we shouldn't note the accomplishments of the African American experience in Bronzeville, matter of fact I said we need to remember.

    However, I don't want to shun anyone from feeling welcome here. (As now I'm beginning to feel) It's clear that my point isn't understood, so I'm going to bow out of this thread and reconsider whether I want to get involved in the meetings, as I'm starting not to feel welcomed here.

    Neighborhoods need to recognize all the people that came before, it's a part of their history, some residents have played a greater role in an area, so of course you this needs to be acknowledged. This can be done while accepting the changes that are occurring, my point was if a neighborhood doesn't change it just dies, the reason Bronzeville became what it did, was because it evolved. People had a need to make it better and they did.

  • Ray

    GRD you dropping out of the discussion serves no good purpose, all hands on deck when it comes to positive ideas to re-invent the neighborhood, this is not personal, when this Great Migration to Chicago took place we as a people were confined to a defined area in Chicago but from that confinement came a contribution that benifitted all people all over the world, this could be the theme and backdrop to a vibrant new retail in the area say for instance "Beale street" in Memphis, what I wanted to bring to the table was why not we include the rich history in our model for 35th, oh and by all means, your ideas are welcome.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    The history of the territory is complex, it most prominently begins with the Civil War. Camp Douglass (located at Lake Meadows, 31st to 33rd st, lake front to Vernon or king drive depending on your historian). We must concede that no substantial black population was present until after 1865 (Civil War) and that the first blacks that populated the area were the spoils of war. Seized in battle as property there was no slavery in the north, but to turn them loose risked putting them back into confederate hands building gun emplacements and other items of war. Also, this area housed much of the immigrant population that was not acceptable in other neighborhoods (depending on which decade the immigration occurred). When the war ended there were about 2,000 black prisoners at Camp Douglass. The creation of Bronzeville began about 1910 to 1916, with the great migration being listed as 1916 to 1970 and the amount migrating is about 500,000. The original territory of Bronzeville was comprised of the areas that had not erected a restrictive covenant barring Black, Jewish, Irish or other immigrants from living elsewhere in Chicago. The map of restrictive covenants can be found here
    http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1067.html
    Your will notice that in 1939 Washington park had covenants barring black people from living there. It took a court case (hansbury v lee 1939) and even then it was just symbolic victory.
    Bronzeville in terms of black people hold significant value, as it does for many others. We can celebrate our own without it denigrating any others.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    @GRD,

    We do have a very diverse neighborhood with current residents from France, Belgum, Latin America, England etc... With the rate that the housing is being destroyed its a miracle we get any interest, also we have a substantial tourist population from europe as well... Most interested in the history and the music.

  • GRD GRD

    @BVIC, thanks, for explaining the history that I am well aware of. I don't get why some think I'd not aware of it, or don't appreciate it.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    In reference to Camp Douglas: I saw a map of Camp Douglas dated 1865 that was prepared by William Bross for a paper read before the Chicago Historical Society dated June 18, 1878 and it showed Camp Douglas west border ,on the east side of Forest Ave, now called Giles from 31st to 33rd but on the east portion it does seem to include all of Lake Meadows.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    To Bronzeville Visitor Information Center: Will your information Center be the location for the Camp Douglas Project and when the construction begins 2012, do you know where the military barack replicas will be built. For example, in the past didn't Bobby Rush want to repurpose the Chicago Military Building? Will this be the location for baracks and will there be a historic dig for artifacts in the area?

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    When I said in this area, I meant in Lake Meadows. Did Draper & Kramer decide to cooperate with this project?

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    Transportation is also crucial to development. Does anyone know if the 31st street bus route was approved. The decision needed to be made before September 30, 2011 for funding not to be lost. The proposal wanted to connect riders from Little Village, Douglas, Chinatown, Bridgeport and Bronzeville. There would be a stop at 31st street beach going west to state I believe, south to 33rd around IIT, west to wentworth then north again to 31st, then westward... etc. I called and CTA asked if they could have the bus route go south on state to 35th for Metra, Red Line & Green Line. This could help the Dunbar students who travel by train to get on at 31st King by their school and relieve some of the impact on 35th street. CTA has an email for suggestion at feedback@transitchicago.com

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    @ grandma, we support the Camp Douglass project but the Camp Douglass Foundation is the driver behind the project. Also there seem to be competing maps of the area. Also I have not seen enough detail on any of the maps to account for the post stores, the defensive zone, Camp entrance and exits, and the other detail. And no, Draper and Kraemer has refused all access. Yes, the Camp Douglass foundation has proceeded with the dig but not on the site owned by Draper and Kraemer, but the adjoining sites that were heavily used (such as the Cottage Grove Forest) which hosted over 600 escapes. I also believe that the Douglass Monument is also included. More info here
    http://www.campdouglas.org/

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    @Bronzeville Visitor Information Center, thanks for the information regarding the Camp Douglas Project.

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Hello all! Thanks to the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center for willing to host our brainstorming session on attracting businesess to Bronzeville! The Alderman has already expressed interest in meeting with us! We have either 9/27 or 9/28 from 6:30-8:30PM available for meeting days. Please let me know if you are interested and which day works best for you. Thanks!

  • Mary Hyde Park

    I would love to see funds for local artists to create street art - and have plaques to be folllowed for a self-guided walking tour - or involve Chicago Architecture Foundation for a weekend morning walking tour. Asheville NC did this (called Urban Trail) and it helped to revitalize the area -- visitors stopped in local businesses, and their presence added to the street life: http://www.asheville.com/news/urban.html

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    Hello Mary...

    Bronzeville has had the "Walk of Fame" for 10 years, 92 plaques laid into the sidewalk, the great migration statue located at 26th and king drive, and the obelisks that are on State St (and the one to come). We, at the center, offer tours both walking and bus that cover this. We also have the "Map of Bronzeville" located at the intersection of 35th and King Dr. across from the Victory monument. Bronze inlay map denoting the history and accomplishment of Bronzeville. And by the way... we work with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, they are coming to the center for the CAF open house, Oct 15th and 16th, 2011. Stop by if you get the chance...

  • Mike in Bronzeville Concerned Home Owner

    I have a question. How do we limit the number of greasy fast food restaurants that are on 35th St. I applaud Church's being out of here but do we really need a Popeye's, Harold's and KFC all withing arms reach of each other? Who do we petition to say enough is enough, and don't get me started on those fast food shacks a little further west. Personally I would like to see them all go. But what action can we as residents take to move them out?

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Mike, we need you, and anyone who's thinking like you are, at our business brainstorming business next week!!!

    I have GOOD NEWS! I recently reached out to Ald. Pat Dowell and she is interested in meeting with our group to hear our ideas on businesses that we'd like to solicit!

    But first we need to get together as a group and come up with our ideas! Lucky for us, the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center (411 E. 35th Street) has been kind enough to offer to host out initial brainstorming meeting. We will be meeting there on Wed, Sept 28 at 6:30-8:30PM. Refreshments will be served.

    I'd like for us to target mid-October to meet with the alderman if that works for the group.

    Please send me your name, email address, and cell phone number if you are interested in joining us next Wed, Sept 28 to discuss Bronzeville businesses! I can be reached at ericamo1@yahoo.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

  • Scotty Kummer Attorney, runner, dog lover, Bronzeville Resident.

    @Mike: We don't "limit the number of greasy fast food restaurants that are on 35th St." if we want more choices and better food we stop going to them. I want to love in a neighborhood with good food choices and variety...that being said, I do not want to live in a neighborhood where politics runs businesses. I've seen this in other neighborhoods....where the politicians prevent the McDonald's from coming in (obviously inapplicable here because we have one already but you get my point).

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Agreed. Let's vote with our wallets and pocket books. I personally would like to see some more sit down food options beyond fast food and would vote my wallet and stomach towards that! :)

  • GRD GRD

    Voting with your wallet is the way to go, if we don't patronize the businesses, they will close and the area won't be attractive to more of the same.

  • Inactive user

    I love, love love Bronzeville. It has such beautiful art, a rich history and is a great community committed to preserving that history. I wish all the CPS schools required the study of this great neighborhood, which is pivotal in how the city evolved.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    how true...never spoken better.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    @Mike, once we got rid of the "greasy fast food " and the nuisance "liquor stores" what do we replace them with ? Before we do away with what we have... is there any way we can get them to be "more acceptable"? All of the businesses want more customers, is it a "how they look" or a "what they sell" problem ?

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Tomorrow, Wed,Sept 28 is OUR big day! We will be holding a meeting as a group to come up with ideas on businesses that we'd like to see in Bronzeville! Lucky for us, the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center (411 E. 35th Street) has been kind enough to offer to host out initial brainstorming meeting. We will be meeting there on Wed, Sept 28 at 6:30-8:30PM. Refreshments will be served.

    I'd like for us to target mid-October to meet with the alderman if that works for the group.

    Please send me your name, email address, and cell phone number if you are interested in joining us next Wed, Sept 28 to discuss Bronzeville businesses! I can be reached at ericamo1@yahoo.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Hello all! Thanks so much for coming out and sharing your ideas on how to attract commerce in Bronzeville on last Wed, Sept 28! I also want to thank the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center for hosting our meeting and being so generous with offering to support our mission!

    As a recap, we brainstormed a number of businesses that we'd like in Bronzeville, which include: Qdoba, Chipotle, Xport Fitness, Recreation Center for children, Blues Bar, Walgreens/CVS by green line stops on 47th, 53rd, 55th, rehabbing the Forum, bowling alley and billards, Icon Theatre on 47th and State, Rebuild the entire State Street corridor, Roundy's, pet care center, steak house, and J. Alexanders.

    As we mentioned last night, we will be holding our next meeting on Tuesday, Oct 25 at 6:30PM at the BVIC. For that meeting, we plan to discuss the following:

    •Neighborhood Plan - What is it? How can it help us attract businesses? How do we create one? Who can help us create it?: I plan to have an Subject Matter Expert on hand to fill us in on all of the details and provide us with guidance.
    •Bronzeville community groups that are also working on attracting businesses to Bronzeville: We'll have an update on this and discuss how we can work with those groups to make some exciting things happen in Bronzeville!
    •List of businesses that have already expressed interest in coming to Bronzeville: Ms. Fox from the BVIC has this list and we will compare it to our "wish list" and see which ones we can target and help join Bronzeville

    Once again, thanks for your enthusiasm, interest, and dedication. It's the residents of Bronzeville who are most qualified to bring about change in our community, and please don't forget that! Please continue to talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about your ideas for improving the business climate in Bronzeville, too.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Hello everyone! Just wanted to chime in.

    35th & Dearborn has a small parcel of land backed up against the metra wall. Would be great to see that used temporarily as electric car charging stations until it is developed for housing or retail. Capitalizing on the new 35th St. Station & Marina (Spring '12), perhaps a trolley bus route can be established to run the 1 mile 35th St. stretch from Metra 35th to Douglas tomb bridge. This trolley system can use empty land of park boulevard as a roundabout.

    I'm not counting on any restos or brick & mortar establishments on the parkboulevardchicago.com land for obvious reasons.

    But, I think that using that empty land on Dearborn and 35th would really be ideal
    for an art fair since it is serviced immediately by the green and red cta lines and the metra line.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Bronzeville needs to capitalize on the use of the 35th St. viaduct. Perhaps an electronic board welcoming patrons. Something modern and forward thinking. Bronzeville needs to capitalize on all those Sox fans using the redline. They're already there. Let's get them across the viaduct!

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    A cycling store like Performance would be great to have. The proximity to the lakefront trail and the new Chicago Velo Campus at 86th & Burley is going to keep cycling in Chicago's Southside an essential recreation.

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    It appears that IIT is also researching the needs for Bronzeville.
    Take a look at this site:

    http://urban-activators.org/

  • Glad to see this thread developing into action. I agree that it would be nice to take advantage of the Sox crowd but the reality is that many of these folks think they might get shot if the venture east of the viaduct! Unless they want to get a sub at the shop next to police HQ, why would they come east? I'm not a huge fan of the overdeveloped Wrigglyville area but they were onto something there. The whole 35 St corridor needs to be developed with a nice variety of shops and quality restaurants. No one is going to go to an unfamiliar neighborhood for chicken, McDonalds, and cheap booze:( I have long been perplexed why no one can see the amazing business opportunities that exist by developing this area. It's pretty sad actually:( I applaud all of your efforts of this thread and hope to make it to one of your next gatherings!:)

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Good ideas. That getting shot mentality is what we need to get over. I like the welcome sign approach to get people across the viaduct. It's baby steps, but Miller Pizza, Mother Butters, Jimmy Johns, Starbucks right there are a first step into the neighborhood for Sox folks. I think a nice sit down restaurant/bar in that area with that open space available would be a gold mine from Sox, IIT, and the neighborhood.

  • Ben in Bronzeville Let's Build a Stronger City

    Yahoo local article about "hot" Chicago neighborhoods relevant to this discussion...

    http://beta.local.yahoo.com/chicago39s-hottest-neighborhoods-watch-monkeysee?bouchon=602,il

  • grandma 13-year Douglas resident

    I was just told that "DLR Clothing" would be opening a store in Lake Meadows.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    The Overton Hygiene Building on State St., across Park Boulevard, is leasing space for small businesses. Good site for fitness center or sports bar.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    I could see a temporary exhibit held at park boulevard on 35th & Dearborn where 20 foot shipping containers are used to house various exhibits! You could easily line up 20 containers against the Metra wall. Exhibit would last a week or 2.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Great video of 31st St. Marina on this webpage. Bronzeville tourism should link with it!

    https://secure.chicagoharbors.info/

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Bronzeville Tourism should hang a banner on 35th/Metra "Welcome 31st harbor opening 2012", like on the chicagoharbors video!

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist
  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    Thanks for the suggestion. The 35thst station is metra, I'll float the idea to them!

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    BVIC, It may be a fantastic idea to establish a bike lane along 35th St. between Metra@35th to the Douglas Memorial bridge. This can help promote ridership/tourism from suburban residents.
    They can get off the train, ride their bikes to the marina. They will discover the storefronts along 35th.
    Also, IIT's B-cycle bicycle rental signage & area map can be
    put up by the train station to encourage this!
    The marina changes everything!

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    A B-cycle station at the marina to complement the existing ones on IIT will help boost commerce along 35th!
    http://chicago.bcycle.com/contactus.aspx

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    A signboard like this on 35th & Dearborn would really set the tone for Bronzeville's new direction!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XIovZyJVgw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Biking the Boulevards. Why Bronzeville could use more B-cycle stations:

    http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=74,3

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    BVIC, it would be GREAT if the BVIC can develop a QR code so anyone who is traveling through bronzeville can just scan it w/ their smartphones.

    The QR code can link up to BVIC's site and a list of stores can be pulled down from a menu.

    QR codes can be place on street signage, train stations & merchandise!

    Also a sign on the marina "1.25 miles to 35th St. Trains". can direct foot traffic towards Bronzeville.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    When the QR code & website is up and running, run an ad on the Southtown Star paper to inform South Suburban residents who are using the Metra Rock Island line.

  • Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Non profit organization involved in Tourism

    I have been working on rfid... QR codes? OK I'll bite..
    cross linking scanning, and rfid ? RADICAL !

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    I can imagine one billboard with just the QR code of BVIC. Perhaps, attached as a street sign or an ad on the CTA stations. It would be cool if it were on a billboard sitting atop IIT's technology center where passengers on trains just waiting would just scan it from their seats!
    The menu should have tabs for a)coffee shops b)white table cloth restaurants 3) office supplies 4)fast foods , etc.
    I'm sure people will figure out how to get there with all the GPS tech.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist

    Looks like IIT is getting a charging station for electric cars on their lot. Permit issued Oct. 28. I hope it's for public use and not exclusive to i-go cars only.

  • Bronze1 Bronzeville Futurist
  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    Thanks! Can't wait to buy groceries there.... :)

  • How can you buy groceries there? I thought it was just a souvenir shop?:)

  • GRD GRD

    What will this place do to businesses like Grandstand in the area. I guess some independents are going to be put out.

  • Erica in Bronzeville 12 yrs in Bronzeville; Ready for a Brighter Day

    JRMD, I was joking around. :) Unfortunately, a souvenir shop at Sox Park doesn't really address our food desert issue in B'ville or help to make way for other businesses to come to the area that truly meet the consumer needs of the residents. Sicne I am Cardinals fan, a new Sox souvenir shop doesn't get my blood pumping all that much. :)

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