City commission approves Garfield Green affordable housing to ‘counteract displacement pressures’ in East Garfield Park
EAST GARFIELD PARK – An affordable housing development is coming to an area of East Garfield Park with plenty of transit options to “counter travel pressures” in the changing neighborhood, a developer said.
Tentatively called Garfield Green, the affordable housing project plans to build on the positive impacts of nearby major developments, such as the Garfield Park Community Eco-Orchard and Hatchery Chicago, a food business incubator that opened in 2019. Residents can get involved in deciding the final project name, interior design and appearance of public art on site by emailing [email protected]
As the community grows, the availability of affordable housing and community-owned retail opportunities on the Garfield Green site will prevent residents from being displaced, said Roberto Requejo, executive director of ‘Elevated Chicago, a project partner.
“The project is really an attempt to counter displacement pressures in the community by creating affordable housing and creating commercial and retail spaces that would belong to the community instead of being offered to external parties first. “, said Requejo.
The first phase of the project will create 43 apartments for people earning between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, as well as commercial spaces and landscaped outdoor spaces. Later phases will increase the number of units to at least 80 and include the construction of homes for purchase.
The Community Development Commission recently approved the sale of city-owned land and $6.5 million in tax increment funding incentives for the Garfield Green project. The development is expected to begin construction this summer on city-owned land at Kedzie and Fifth Avenues.
The project is now submitted to the municipal council for approval.
The Garfield Green was selected in 2018 as the winner of the C40 Reinventing Cities competition, a global competition focused on transforming underutilized land into models of sustainable urban planning.
The plan moving forward is the result of an intensive community engagement process that changed the design and specific offerings of the development. When the project was originally developed by the city for the C40 Reinventing Cities competition, “there was very little community engagement and ownership required for the competition,” Requejo said.
After the competition, Elevated Chicago and the city identified a developer, Preservation of Affordable Housing, and launched a series of engagement meetings and engagement strategies to incorporate community needs into the design of the project.
“We needed to get better community engagement and go beyond that and offer something more, which is community ownership,” Requejo said.
The plans for the Garfield Green project have been spearheaded by various residents’ committees and guided by community input and feedback from the Garfield Park Community Council.
There is a committee that guides the vendors and businesses that will eventually occupy the commercial space in the development.
The 4,300 square foot commercial space in the development “is equipped for a restaurant if we want it. It could be a marketplace, an incubator or a cafe,” depending on what residents choose, said Molly Ekerdt, vice president for Affordable Housing Preservation.
The development team is also working with the Residents’ Committee to explore options for creating a “cooperative or shared ownership model” for any businesses that will find themselves there so that residents can benefit from ownership of parts of the project. , said Requejo.
Another committee directed changes to the design of the development’s two buildings. The project was originally designed with a metallic look, but “there was feedback from the community that it didn’t necessarily fit,” said Kyle Lily, a development associate for Affordable Housing Preservation.
Architects Perkins + Will and Nia Architects have created updated designs that include more earth and masonry tones and plans for public art and murals in four locations. The resident design committee also focuses on the interior design of the building.
“We were able to get information on features that would make the building more visually appealing. We gave those notes to our architecture team and they were able to incorporate them,” Lily said.
An arts and culture committee will determine which public and community art programs will be incorporated into the site “because there is a large public art component to the project,” Ekerdt said.
“This arts committee will continue to shape the art that will be installed and the artists that we will go with,” Ekerdt said.
The building will be designed to be energy efficient with solar panels to offset energy costs, a green roof to improve rainwater resistance and other carbon neutral features. The project will also improve pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks and street trees on the site to improve walking.
And since the Garfield Green is being built in an area with transit options, like the Kedzie Green Line and Kedzie-Homan Blue Line stations, families living in affordable homes will be connected to opportunities across the city. .
“We’re looking at how can we make this area fairer by starting by giving people more than one option to get to the place,” Requejo said.
This transit-focused equitable development strategy has environmental and mental health benefits, as it reduces car emissions and promotes walking, cycling and public transit, Requejo said. It also reduces the cost of living and having a family for people living in affordable homes, as they do not need a car to access employment, education and other opportunities, Requejo said.
“A lot of developments that you see today work for people who own cars, but they’re not functional at all for people who use other types of transportation,” Requejo said.
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