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Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
2:00pm
Mon May 23, 2016

Housing Activists March Through Logan Square In Protest Of Gentrification

The voices of the displaced were heard throughout Logan Square on Saturday as demonstrators shouted and chanted over a bed of drums and shakers, calling on Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) to stop the gentrification of the neighborhood.

Local advocacy groups Somos Logan Square, Centro Autonomo and Grassroots Illinois Action came together for an action titled, "Our Neighborhood is Not for Sale."

The march started outside Moreno's office, located at 2740 W. North Ave., and eventually moved on to the nearby Twin Towers development.

Antonio Gutierrez, development coordinator of Centro Autonomo's housing project, says such actions are necessary because the alderman refuses to establish a dialogue with advocacy groups.

"We have tried to set up meetings, as we saw today [when] we went to his office," said Gutierrez. "They just looked out, locked the door. They didn't invite us in. That's what we're seeing with Joe Moreno, a closed-door policy."

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
6:44pm
Mon Nov 9, 2015

Protesters Speak Out Against The Gentrification Of Chicago's Albany Park Neighborhood

As a sign reading "Barnett Capital, Here Displacement is Strictly Business" flapped in the chill November wind Saturday, protesters stayed warm by chanting, passing out flyers, and getting signatures for a petition against displacement in the Albany Park neighborhood.

Residents of 4834 N. Springfield Ave., many of whom are Centro Autonomo members, say they were given a 30-day notice to move out of their building by it's new owner, Barnett Capital LLC.

Residents claim that this eviction is in retaliation against their attempts to get repairs done on the building and form a tenants' union.

When ownership of the building changed hands in August of 2014, the tenants saw an opportunity for needed changes to be made to the property.

"We got notice before that there were certain code violations, and once the building was sold, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to have those taken care of," explained Barbara Suarez, an organizer with Centro Autonomo. "We brought a building inspector in, he recorded various code violations, including a furnace in the back room, which should be in a separate room by itself."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:17pm
Tue Jul 28, 2015

Logan Square Community Rallies Against Local School Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Logan Square parents, teachers and students rallied Tuesday morning to speak out against the deep spending cuts affecting local public schools. The group also demanded that tax increment financing (TIF) funds be used to restore school budgets.

Those who attended the rally, held at the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square, said releasing TIF surplus dollars would be an immediate way to boost school budgets while city and school officials work toward identifying long-term fiscal solutions for the district.

Leaders with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, which organized the rally, said 10 of the group's partner public schools face a combined $4.7 million in budget cuts for the upcoming school year.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:45pm
Tue Jun 16, 2015

South Side Group Launches Campaign Around Obama Library Community Benefits Agreement

With the Obama presidential library set to come to either Jackson or Washington parks in Chicago, a South Side group is seeking help in crafting a proposed community benefits agreement (CBA) to ensure local residents and businesses are not displaced by the possible gentrification that could come with the project.

The Bronzeville Regional Collective, comprised of South Side organizations and community development advocates, has created a seven-point CBA blueprint for the Obama library development.

"We don't want to see the South Side become what Lincoln Park was in the '60s and '70s," said Bronzeville Regional Collective member Anton Seals Jr., who is also on the South Shore Planning and Preservation Coalition's board.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:49pm
Mon Jan 12, 2015

Logan Square Community To Highlight Gentrification In Upcoming Event Series

Logan Square housing activists will kick off a series of community events this week on the topic of gentrification and its impact in the rapidly-changing Northwest Side neighborhood of Chicago.

The four-part gentrification discussion with residents, community groups, academics and others is being spearheaded by We Are/Somos Logan Square, a grassroots organization advocating for affordable housing and tenants rights. The group formed last January in response to the alleged displacement of longtime tenants in an apartment building acquired by M. Fishman & Co., a Logan Square property management firm that owns a number of properties in the gentrifying neighborhood.

The four events, running from this Wednesday through January 24, will touch on the history of gentrification and how it "actually works," its effects and what can be done to preserve racial and economic diversity in communities, with a focus on Logan Square, where property values and rents are escalating.

"Sometimes people think that gentrification is a natural force of some sort, but it really is not," said Amie Sell, outreach coordinator with We Are/Somos Logan Square.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Wed Dec 10, 2014

Chicago City Council Approves Taxi 'Fairness' Ordinance, Delays E15 Plan

Progress Illinois provides highlights from the last Chicago City Council meeting of 2014.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:17pm
Fri Aug 15, 2014

Albany Park Community Land Trust Close To Locking In First Home Donation (VIDEO)

Leaders with Centro Autónomo in Albany Park say the group's effort to establish a community land trust to secure affordable housing in the northwest Chicago neighborhood is moving forward.

Centro Autónomo, also known as the Albany Park Autonomous Center, is currently asking financial institutions to donate local homes in foreclosure to its Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust, a non-profit that wants to turn the properties into permanent affordable housing for low-income residents. Both Casas del Pueblo and the Centro Autónomo are projects of the Mexico Solidarity Network.

So far, no homes have been donated to the community land trust, which officially launched in 2011. But Antonio Gutierrez, housing coordinator at Centro Autónomo, said the organization has a negotiation session planned for September with Fannie Mae. Another meeting with a national representative of donations for Wells Fargo is scheduled for the end of August.

Gutierrez and others with the effort are optimistic the community land trust will receive its first donated home within the next several months. 

"Casas del Pueblo needs to put as much pressure as we can right now [on the financial institutions], because this is a time when we're almost sure that we can get this donation by the end of the year," he said.

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
3:35pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Logan Square Group Holds Vigil For Ames, Turns Spotlight On Kelvyn Park High

Hundreds of concerned parents and community members rallied at a vocal Logan Square meeting Tuesday night and then marched through the neighborhood with candles in hand to protest a recent Chicago Board of Education decision to turn Ames Middle School into a military academy. The protesters also voiced their uncertainty about the future of Kelvyn Park High School.

The Logan Square Neighborhood Association's 52nd Congress saw a discussion that covered a variety of important community issues, but chief among them was a strong feeling that Chicago Public School officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are not listening to the concerns of area residents. 

“There is a very clear reason the leadership at CPS is not responsive to the community, and that’s because they aren’t accountable to us’’ said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who was elected two months ago due to, in part, his strong backing from Chicago teachers and his support of an elected school board. “The community is mourning the loss of Ames and needs assurance from all its leaders that there is a plan for Kelvyn Park.’’

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