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Added Jul 10 2014

I used to live in Logan Square. But then the Guy moved in & we ended up closer to Avondale. But I still love LS and it makes me think very very hard about my relationship to the very rapid changes happening in the area.

I want to share a conversation I had with a really nice young woman who worked in a shop. And then I want to ask a question of the community.

We were talking about how the neighborhood has been changing and our different feelings about it. As a woman of color, I shared my own conflicting feelings - I'm part of the new folks moving in, but also I feel it important to keep this neighborhood accessible for everyone. As part of the business community, she felt it important to support the revitalization of the community but as a resident, she was also feeling bad about the displacements and that there seemed to be a growing tension between 'them' and 'us' (however we defined that binary.)

I felt we were going somewhere so I asked, 'Well, what if local businesses could signal that all the cool new stuff was also meant for the people who have been living here, too?'
She didn't know what I meant. I said, 'Well, it's little things. Like your Welcome sign. What if it was also in Spanish? And what if you could carry local stuff from crafters and artists in the area who reflect heritage of folks from the neighborhood? Or what if there was a way for local businesses to partner with the alderman to create a summer jobs program for local teens? What if there was a way we could actually create a neighborhood for everyone, not just the M Fishmans? What if there was a way to stop Logan Square from becoming broville and just make it more inclusive??'
She said, 'I never thought of that.'

And so my question: Are folks interested in figuring out how to build a community that works for everyone in it? Cuz I can't be the only one sort of disquieted by how 'cool' Logan Square is. (And I was about to delete this post as soon as I wrote it, but whatever.)

  • I think you will find that most of the New Logan Square residents don't care to mingle with what the current or older residents. Look at all the new shops and check minority representation. Restaurants and Bars seem a bit more inclusive. The new residents want most of what has been there for years gone (think Spaulding to Diversey/Kedzie). I think you have a better chance of starting a Young Republican Chapter than bringing these economically and socially diverse people together.

  • Judging by the amount of no-noise Nancys posting in the thread about elotes carts, I don't think many of the new people really care about integrating themselves into the community so much as bulldozing it.

  • Chandler Logan Square Resident

    I agree . I am interested . I am a new resident (4.5 yrs ) and many times don't feel welcomed by the old guard but am not always feeling like my family fits in or are welcomed by the new guard either . I certainly don't want to live somewhere that has been completely stripped of all it's culture and personality. I would love to bring the old and the new together and have a huge interest in youth arts and community development . Just putting it out there that not everyone on here has the same interests .

  • Ebd

    I love the idea of a more inclusive business model for new businesses coming into LS. The area has definitely changed quite a bit in the last few years. I would have no idea how to go about implementing any of the things you outlined in your post, but I would support them!

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    Of course, the liberal in me assumes the Original Residents want inclusion. I wonder if I should reach out to the Logan square neighborhood association and see what the outcome of that community dialogue they hosted a couple months ago. Did anyone go to that?

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    And thanks for the feedback. I'd like to connect with folks, really, to see if we can generate ideas and connect with other community groups to see if they'd be interested, too.

  • Logan Dad Logan Dad

    I suppose I am one of the "new folks" moving in. I didn't realize I was not welcome here.

  • Logan Dad Logan Dad

    @rogersparker - that's some fairly thinly veiled racism. It's pretty obvious that you don't want white people to move to your neighborhood.

  • I don't care who moves in I own multiple units. I just want this first wave to end. These Gyms (3-4) are not being built for the current occupants. I'm waiting for the Bro's that will pay top dollar.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @LoganDad, that's weird how you hear 'not welcome' when the post very clearly says it would be great if the community was accessible to everyone and that the us/them vibe is worrisome.

  • Logan Dad - I just read through this whole post and didn't see anything reference you not being welcome in Logan Square. Could you direct me to the passage that led you to reach that conclusion?

  • I'm in! Been in Logan/Humboldt for 13 years but I am sure I'd be considered "new guard" -- just upgraded to a new house. :) I plan on staying here till somebody rolls me out, so I would love to be of help!

    Feel free to pm me anytime.

  • Ebd

    I think Logan Dad was reacting to Roger Park guy. I always ignore his negative comments.

    I would gladly meet you all to have a constructive conversation about this topic.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    And I want us to connect the dots. We all hate the graffiti, the small crimes that point to bigger ones on the way. But the people I'm talking about are our neighbors, literally. Not just in a vaguely spiritual way. I think one step to building a more inclusive community is to see the Other as a legitimate other, just as worthy of cool new stuff, places, experiences, and opportunities as we are. Why can't we just make that a little easier and risk looking a little weird if we reach out?

  • I'm interested but I'm on the border of the neighborhood (between North and Armitage).

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Banana, technically, I'm not either. I'm all the way up milwaukee/pulaski. But maybe this could be good for all neighborhoods. The stuff happening in LS isn't the only thing preying on my mind about this city. I will email folks (as soon as I figure out how to do that...)

  • I've been in Logan Square 10+ years. I'd like to be a part of whatever it is you are organizing.

  • Richard Oscar

    Sounds like a lovely idea! And don't listen to the naysayers on here. They're trolls trying to ruin your good spirits.

    I'd help, though like you technically I live on Fullerton and Pulaski so I'm not really in Logan, lol. The same thing is happening throughout the area. Here in Hermosa there is a big influx of new rehab buildings brining in new residents.

    I think starting a dialogue early can change perceptions and help to integrate rather the divide. Since moving on my small block (the first new homeowner in over 5 years) I've introduced myself to all my neighbors, helped older neighbors plow and mow their parkways, picked up trash on the street, gone to CAPS meetings, we've talked about brining back the block party, and I've added myself to their existing phone tree. Having moved from Francisco and Armitage having never done any of this, it has really changed my perceptions. The "old gaurd" want mostly the same things as the "new," which is a safe area, with caring neighbors, nearby grocery stores, stable to increasing property values, and good schools.

    Keep it up and let me know when you organize a meeting or something, I will join you.

  • Everyone in our neighborhood should thank the "M Fishman's" for gentrifying logan and attracting people to our neighborhood. I hope he and others continue to bring new businesses to replace the cellphone stores, beauty salons, dollar stores, and no name liquor stores on milwaukee ave. and that they run out the gangs and homeless people. I moved to logan for its diversity but also for all that is happening here

  • Alan.. You're probably wrong.

    Don't worry logan dad, as a resident for 11 years I'm not sure what some of these people on here are talking about. I've never felt not welcomed or ignored by anyone in the neighborhood.

  • I'm pretty sure that this is what the LSNA has been trying to do for years. Might be better to reach out to them first rather than duplicate efforts.

  • meanboss I just can't even anymore.

    This sounds awesome.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Bearmosa, thanks for that. I'll definitely be in touch.
    @Logandale Yuppie - I like seeing new cute things too. But shouldn't we stop to think that there are more people than us living in these communities? The land isn't empty.
    @Alan is right- that's fantastic! I'm just thinking about the fact that whenever I'm in LS, the only places I see reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood is mcdonalds, cafe de leche, el cid, and the Logan theater (and even then, why can't the movies be more diverse?). If this neighborhood was truly welcoming it wouldn't be so segregated. (there. I said it.)

  • I love this idea, Delia, and I think you stated it very well. I'm glad you didn't delete your post. It's something I've thought about a lot but never took the initiative to really reach out to others. Please count me in! You can pm me here when you're ready.
    And I should really just ignore the trolls, I know, but... I like and frequent a lot of the new businesses opening in the neighborhood in addition to a lot of my old favorites. That said, I personally don't think the city needs yet another Wicker Park/Wrigleyville/what have you. But thanks for the pro tip from some of the responders on this thread- I wouldn't have guessed that supporting and hopefully helping to facilitate dialogue and community-building among residents of various backgrounds make me, a white chick who's lived in Logan since 2003, a racist. Yep.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @CCkeys - yes; i was thinking the same, just now. They have engaged a LOT of families in the Logan Sq, Avondale, and Lathrop Homes areas.
    Has anyone new to Logan Square in the past 4--5 years been involved with them? Or have been aware of them and their work?

  • Emily Avondale Neighborhood Association President

    Hey DeliaC,

    To respond to your initial post, the Avondale Neighborhood Association has been working over the last 5 years to bring neighbors together and highlight the assets that we have in the neighborhood- there are really a lot of overlooked but interesting things happening here. There are certainly others in or organization that feel the same way.

    If you'd like to connect with more like minded people, you can attend one of our meetings (the 3rd Monday, 7pm, at St. Hyacinth Basilica's Resurrection Hall) or send us your email address to be on our mailing list:

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Emily - that's a wonderful idea! I've been meaning to connect but I think now I finally have the trigger to do it.

  • Logan Dad Logan Dad

    @DeliaC and @Andrew - I guess it sounds to me from your post like the source of your concern is that the new folks moving in are changing the neighborhood and that change is harming the existing fabric of the neighborhood and that by inclusiveness you mean the new folks (and their establishments) should work to be inclusive of the long-standing residents. It generally felt like you were implying that the influx of people like me is bad for the neighborhood (i.e. we wouldn't need to have this conversation if people like me never moved in - the neighborhood wouldn't be changing). Doesn't make a guy feel welcome. I guess I felt like the the use of "M Fishman" and "Broville" was kind-of code for "white people" - and I think your follow-up post reinforces that notion. Maybe I'm paranoid and reading into it too much as a new resident, and if that is the case, I apologize.

    @Alan is Right - Thanks! We have just moved here a few weeks ago with the plan being to live here for more than 10 years and raise our kids far, we love it and everyone has been very welcoming on our block.

    @Liz - I hope you have me mixed up with someone else...I have only commented on one other post and it wasn't negative at all.

  • Alya A. Bucktown to Logan

    I really appreciate this post. I am a new owner in the neighborhood and would love to feel like I'm more involved in positive and constructive ways. Working full time with a baby due any minute makes it difficult to really get out, explore and talk to people, but I disagree 100% with RogerParker's sentiment -- I didn't move here because I expect it to be the next Lincoln Park in 5 years, I moved here (in part) because diversity of culture and experience and food and people is something I value and I want my kid to value it too.
    Honestly, if you don't have anything positive to bring to this conversation, don't you have something better to do?

  • Eleanor Blick Avondale resident, car-free neighbor

    Somewhat related, there is an event at the Comfort Station this Sunday (across the street from the Logan Square Farmer's Market) that would be a good opportunity to bring together different community members--especially children!

    From the link below...
    "Fiesta en la Plaza aims to bring together the families of Logan Square and Avondale, according to Comfort Station.

    "I am extremely excited that they are planning an event which builds relationships and intentionally engages the community's wide demographic for a unified, local celebration," Ald. Rey Colon (35th) said."

  • Delia I would like to invite you and everyone engaged in this discussion to participate in THE UNITY PROJECT, a community participatory piece that allows folks to share what UNITY means to them. It will be one of the activities and projects offered during UPACs annual ART in the Park open air art studio event this Saturday at Unity Park, 2636 N Kimball (@Schubert) from 10am - 2pm.

    I will be hosting THE UNITY PROJECT because the subject of unity is important to me. I was born and raised in Logan Square and have seen the neighborhood change through the years. My late husband and I were active here in Logan Square as an openly gay couple in the neighborhood and though we were both born and raised here we did experience some issues around our being gay (rainbow flag burned) and also being wrongly perceived as "yuppies" by others.

    We became active with Unity Park Advisory Council (UPAC) because we wanted to be part of a welcoming and accepting environment and to help nurture one. UPAC provides programming at Unity Park that is FREE and open to all. That is one of the reasons that I have been involved with UPAC now for nearly 20 years. One of the other reasons is that I grew up near a playground (Goethe) and know what a great resource a park/playground can be so I now devote a great deal of time making sure Unity Park has cool free events and that we strive to be reflective and inclusive of the neighborhood.

  • Ebd

    @Logan Dad, I was referring to RogerParker's comments.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    Wow. I'm so happy to see this thread get great responses. I've sent some of you an email.
    @Logan Dad - thanks for sharing your thoughts. When a neighborhood changes, it's always a sticky thing. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't thing. Like you, I'm one of the incomers (though it's been debated if upwardly mobile people of color like me moving into an area 'counts' as gentrification.) And being an in-comer, I'm deeply aware of what it means to move into a space that wasn't originally mine and by virtue of my presence, change the fabric of the neighborhood.

    I'm deeply aware of who's not represented in a space and it just makes me wonder how we all can be more thoughtful of us and those who aren't Us.

    That's all I'm asking. Thanks again for sharing.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Robert and Eleanor - Thanks for the heads up about those events. I'm gonna make it!

    It's really great to see these pockets of community-building. (God, I'm a sap.)

  • Dr. Grewal Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    I'm excited about this thread too! I moved my practice from wicker park to Logan square at the beginning of the year, and absolutely enjoy being a small business owner in the community. I've wondered how to be more involved in the neighborhood as well, and some posts have given me an idea. Thank you DeliaC for starting it!

  • Delia, Unity Park Advisory Council is a member organization of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. LSNA is vital to the work we do, with LSNA's Rosita DeLaRosa helping us recruit volunteers from local schools. She and LSNA's Deborah McCoy help us publicize the many events we host throughout the year and Deborah also helps capture images of Unity Park & Logan Square through her photography.

  • Logan Dad Logan Dad

    @DeliaC - I hear you 100%. Change is inevitable in every neighborhood (Logan Square was largely Scandinavian before becoming Hispanic - not much of that heritage remains sadly).....and usually its a good thing! I actually think this change will be great for Logan Square in the long-run.....heavy investment in a community might push some people out as rents increase, but there is a lot of upside that goes with that downside in the form of increased property values for those who are long-time residents and remain as well as a more vibrant and bustling community (foot traffic, safety, improved schools etc which benefit all residents). The goal isn't to push people out or eliminate the existing culture, it is to add to the pot without taking anything away (there is plenty of space!).

  • You've put very eloquently the conversations I have with friends about this neighborhood (which I very much love, but also know that I am part of the issues that gentrification can bring). Please PM me and count me in - I'd love to support this in any way possible.

  • " The goal isn't to push people out or eliminate the existing culture, it is to add to the pot without taking anything away (there is plenty of space!)."

    Walk south on Spaulding from Milwaukee to Wrightwood. The last building on the right before the alley has been totally updated with the exception of two units. Those are the hold outs. Walk around the corner to Sawyer and Wrightwood and you make the left the 1st building after the alley was evicted in total.

    The object is to move the poor further west or south.

    Those on a fixed income that own homes, your next. There will come the time when you cannot afford the taxes because of the inflated value (read:gentrification) of Logan Square.

    Lets be honest. There will be one result. The end play is a neighborhood with people on opposite ends of the economic spectrum.

    The next step is already in motion. We now have 4 gyms within walking distance where we didn't have any for years. That is the set up for "Bro's".

    Not being negative but c'mon if your going to have a conversation about the changing face of the neighborhood at least be real.

    Logan Square is in stage 3.

  • Alan.. You're probably wrong.

    So rogerpark, would you rather the neighborhood go back to what it was 15 years ago with all the empty store fronts and increased crime?

    Everyone needs to stop saying gentrification like it's some bad thing and using it as code for "white people".

    The Hispanic population, who was a minority who "gentrified" the area in the 1970 from the polish / Slavic majority at the time. They were real stoked that they could move into a neighborhood they deemed to be better than where they came from.

    "Although residents organized in the 1960s to fight community deterioration when long-term residents and businesses began to leave, incoming Latino families moving into Logan Square in the 1970s perceived “living in Logan a measure of social prosperity and achievement” (Padilla, 1993:134)."

    Neighborhoods change all the time. You're not owed anything because you live somewhere for 5+ years. While it sucks that people can't afford to live here anymore, stop trying to say "gentrification" is the issue.

    Taxes make people move everywhere, not just this neighborhood. Go look at tax increases in the south suburbs for example.

    I didn't push anyone out when I moved in. I liked the area so after 9 years here (and continuously moving further out as rent increased and I couldn't afford it), I decided to buy. I bought a foreclosed property that was empty for a bit. You're welcome. My taxes pay for everything in the neighborhood. I have every right to be here and call it my own. Just because I'm not of the ethnicity of the majority, doesn't mean I'm out to destroy everyone.

    Ps I also think there are too many gyms.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Rogerparker - I hear you. I see that trajectory, too. (And, really, 4 gyms??) I'm hoping that this pace isn't inevitable. Personally, I think developers like Fishman are making some big assumptions about the demography of the area - and how likely they are to flip. Looking at the latest ACS data for Congressional district 4 (Guttierez, which encompasses Logan Square, Humboldt), this area isn't as liquid as they think. I mean, sure there are hipsters, bars and cool houses going up, but those are outliers. The middle of the bell curve for the population (and we're talking over 700k people) is earning about 40k or below, blue collar, renters, and have small children. We just don't see them.

  • Logan Dad Logan Dad

    Bravo Alan...on point.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Alan - thanks for that. I don't think anyone is saying that the choice is either Bucktown OR where Logan Sq was 15-20 years ago. And I don't think folks here are saying that anyone should feel bad for buying a home here and wanting to make a life.

    The point is we *all* want that.

    Let's get away from assuming intent here. Like, by moving into an area we all personally intend for people to get screwed over. No one is saying that.

    But we should be thinking about impact. We've all come here for our various reasons. Great! The impact? Higher rents, a bigger tax base, displacement, cooler stuff, more capital, more development, tension between old/new/us/them, etc. All of our taxes pay for public good.

    Again, all I'm saying is that since it's for the public, the common good we're all enjoying should be accessible to everyone and we should be intentional about how to make it so.

    (And congrats on buying a home! That's a big deal.)

  • Richard Oscar

    @DeliaC I agree with you. People talk about the inevitability of Logan Square becoming the next Wicker Park or Bucktown but the reality is Logan Square is so so so much bigger than those and has different residents who are more likely to own their homes already. Sure, what rogerparker is saying could happen in the long run, but given the composition of the city in general (and the fact that the influx of the largest generation since Baby Boomers, the Millennials, to Chicago is about to subside as they are now 20-37 as a group as a whole, and the generation 0-19 is pretty small) I can see a "rich" side of Logan and a middle-class/working class side, but I don't see it all becoming Bucktown or anything like that. Depending on the composition of the wards, this could be good for all, as the richer property tax base would help continue to make the area a better place.

    As a property owner myself, I don't see property tax increases being the huge sticking issue in Chicago as they are in the suburbs. We have such a larger tax base and even $1 million homes in Lincoln Park have cheaper tax rates than the $200K home I grew up in in Oak Park, for instance. Also, if you have a fixed income, you have a senior home exemption, and if you've lived here long enough you should know the right people to remedy any unexpected reassessments. Other western suburbs have similar tax rates as Oak Park, so why would people move from Logan to, say, Elgin? I just don't buy rogerparker's doomsday inevitability scenario. There are plenty of integrated communities throughout Chicago (socially, racially and economically), including Hyde Park, Uptown, Edgewater, Beverly, Portage Park, Irving Park, Albany Park, West Ridge, Rogers Park... basically the whole northwest side (which Logan is apart of).

  • Richard Oscar

    Continued: There are too many organizations, political clout and community engagement to brush aside the existing residents.

    I think the whole gentrification talk in the Logan Square forums on here are a bit overplayed and dramatic to begin with. Most of the developments I see or infill or necessary tear downs of foreclosed homes. I haven't seen many existing homeowners displaced who didn't want to cash out, or who were foreclosed on. Organizations like Bickerdike, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation are doing their best to make sure there is a good mixture of affordable rental stock, too, but since most of the rental stock is mostly walk-up 2-4 unit buildings I think there will continue to be affordable rentals anyways. It's not a winner take all situation, IMO.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    @Bearmosa - your comment helps me keep in mind that there is reality and then there is perception (especially viewed through media or PR.) You're right. The area is really large and really diverse; so maybe my disquiet should be calibrated. Those orgs are doing really great work, have fantastic relationships with community members and have a vision of a holistic community that serves all. Sometimes it is really easy to see the rapid changes (on one stretch of Milwaukee) and sound the alarm.

  • @Logan Dad -- I didn't get that sense from Delia's post at all, so I admit I was curious about your reaction. In fact, she wrote:

    "I'm part of the new folks moving in, but also I feel it important to keep this neighborhood accessible for everyone."

    I think it is easy to assume that anyone who raises this topic is just saying "Boo, whitey is moving in!" But is also discounts posts and perspectives from people like Delia who are looking for a way for everyone to feel welcome and be a part of the neighborhood in which they live, whether they've been here for 20 years, 5 years, or 2 months. Please don't assume the worst! But if you've only been here for a few weeks, I can see how you might be feeling a little paranoid, as you put it, in moving to a neighborhood that has become known as the epicenter of "gentrification," be it intended negatively or positively. Hopefully some of that defensiveness will abate, especially if you get involved with some of the initiatives discussed in the thread.

    It's easy to say that the goal isn't to push people out, but I think that is exactly what happens when people don't engage and interact with all of the people in the neighborhood (of all backgrounds). My neighbor (white guy in his 40s, grew up in the north suburbs) looks pretty disparagingly at the kids who hang out on our block. I can tell they are kids just playing and not doing anything wrong, but he rushes his daughter by them as if they were criminals. That just sucks. If many people move in to the neighborhood who are like my neighbor, imagine the tension that would exist. If your defensiveness will lead you to segregate yourself from people outside your demographic because you don't know if they see you as a bad guy, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Also, I think the issue is more than "white people" and everyone else, including in rogerparker's posts, but I can understand how you would see it from that perspective.

    Enjoy the new place!

  • Maz ethnic/cabaret accordionist, bungalow owner

    @DeliaC, thanks for your level-headed and thoughtful post. I'm very glad you didn't delete it. I'm a musician and a relative newcomer to the 'hood, but not LS or Avondale. I'm in Belmont Gardens. We don't have much in the way of cool shops over here. Both Diversey and Belmont west of LS/Avondale borders are pretty much deserts, although there are a couple oases: Riccardo's on Diversey has great food items and Super Savings on Belmont is a bright spot also. Both of these businesses cater to all of us in the area, and one reason *everyone* shops there is because they are well-run businesses with good products and customer service. I agree that it would be great if all the neighbors, new and old, could get to know and understand each other better. Although I'm not a business owner myself (aside from my freelance self-employment) I really appreciate your starting this conversation on EB. It is a pleasure to read such an articulate and thought-provoking post as yours.

  • DeliaC Traveling light

    Thanks, everyone for a really thoughtful thread. It was full of divergent opinion, respectful exchange and a willingness to give the other person the benefit of their ideas and position. Whoo hoo! Happy Saturday.

  • Unfortunately, heavy rains caused us to cancel today's scheduled Art in the Park and my community participatory piece, THE UNITY PROJECT. ART in the Park has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 23rd from 10am - 2pm. Looking forward to meeting some of you from this thread there. In the meantime, If you want to know what's going on with UPAC or have questions about us and our upcoming events, please go to facebook/UnityParkAC. Now I will take Delia's lead and have a Super Saturday!!

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