Hey, Englewood: Drop me a line ...

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Things are changing in Englewood, a rather rough section of the South Side sadly plagued by murder and gangs and drugs. I took a visit this week, cruising down Halsted to 63rd where crews are working feverishly on the new Kennedy-King College campus. It appears to be the kind of construction that could bring revival in an area desperately in need of it.
If you live or own a business there ...

I'm dying to get your take on the slow changing landscape, of a rough-and-tumble neighborhood that was once beautiful and filled with shops and theaters where big names such as Bob Hope took the stage.

Do you have hope?

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I don't know about Englewood, but some intense sunlight needs to shine on the 49th Ward. Blatant election irregularities and encumbent aldermanic shenanigans go on year after year after year, and the state board of elections doesn't do anything about it. It saddens me to see my old neighborhood still lorded over by Joe Moore, one of the most obnoxious and impertinent politicos I have ever had the misfortune to know. It shames Chicago to have such a "representative". Please review www.Forum49.org and the other local blogs which have been documenting his nonsense for years... there ought to be a law worth enforcing - action is long overdue. Thanks for reading.

It seems you mean well, but understand Mr. Konkol, the Englewood neighborhood you are thinking about left when panick paddeling of real estate and white flight to other areas of the city and suburbs came about in the early nineteen sixties. When a child I remember walking with my mother to visit an aunt while living on 65th and Normal. She stayed on 59th and Princeton at the time.

In those walks the neighborhood was safe, I never remember being worried about gangs, shoot-outs or any thing in particular. I was just a normal kid, who didn't know how prejudice the world could be.

My parents shopped at the Hi-Low Grocery Store and the A&P which were located in the area. Post office was nearby, elementary schools and high schools close by as well. Neighborhood bank, which is still there presently holding on for dear life. There were other amenities, but as a kid you do not noticed them like that.

When going South to visit relatives it was not the same. Old signs of segregation was still apparent, and the high schools were even separted by skin color. It is amazing my mother learned to speak Spanish fluently, but it was from a person of African descent who taught her class. Not a White person or a Latino person, but a Black person. Maybe this is why some Black Americans have issues with the schools today. (But that is another topic)

My parents were fortunate enough to buy a house adjoining the Englewood area. Mr. Konkol, but something happen overnight it seemed. When a few Black families moved in all the White families left, and when I state left, it was as though all moved in the middle of the night the same as the Baltimore Colts left Maryland or Richard Daley tore up the Meig Fields overnight as examples.

I never understood this as a child, but back to the present day Englewood neighborhood. I have reservations about how the community is being revitalized; what and who are the new businesses going to cater to; who will owned them; is the present housing going to be torn down to appease developers after finalization of the few sleek buildings going up? This means those with the jobs can move into the neighborhood while those without will be forced out again of an up and coming vibrant community? ( I understand that statement vibrant. Black Americans simply need equal access to EVERY THING America has to offer to maintain the communities.) Not slick politicians who are beholden to a white mayor who doles out 2-3% minority contracts out of 100%(*sigh*) or a white-oriented back union.

A lot of problems may exist in Englewood, from lack of opportunity, lack of equality, lack of fairness. Hell, look at the people basically on the construction sites right now, they are not indicative of the community. There is something not right about this! If Bridgeport happen to fall on hard times and began to deteriorate, I do not think funding when release to re-vigorate the community, majority of the workers will be African Americans. Do you?

Considering that white people fleed and took their financial resources to build up open sprawl land, why are there so many working in the Englewood community? There are too many Black men who can do the same work and bring the project in without costs overruns and possibly under budget.

The beauty of a community I have seen died, because of bias, prejudice and racism. Let me take your job and those of many other white males, and then see if your community does not become rough looking as well. What you see is not roughness, but despair.

No we do NOT want HANDOUTS, but as James Brown said "Open up the door I will get it myself!" Also Mr. Konkol, do not lock the door while I am in there, while you running around free telling me to break out and catch up!

Hello, my family has been in the Englewood area for about 27 years doing business with the area that has lots of change. This area is a good area that has endless potential to increase in the number of jobs and amount of business to grow. There are a lot of things that is wrond with the area but the number one thing that the area needs is the school systems need to become more organized and haave a passion to help this young kids and show them that there is a better place then what they see everyday.

Hello, my family has been in the Englewood area for about 27 years doing business with the area that has lots of change. This area is a good area that has endless potential to increase in the number of jobs and amount of business to grow. There are a lot of things that is wrond with the area but the number one thing that the area needs is the school systems need to become more organized and haave a passion to help this young kids and show them that there is a better place then what they see everyday. At the same time people with lots and buildings need to shape things up to make the area look and feel appealing to the business and people that live in the area.

Hello, my family has been in the Englewood area for about 27 years doing business with the area that has lots of change. This area is a good area that has endless potential to increase in the number of jobs and amount of business to grow. There are a lot of things that is wrond with the area but the number one thing that the area needs is the school systems need to become more organized and haave a passion to help this young kids and show them that there is a better place then what they see everyday. At the same time people with lots and buildings need to shape things up to make the area look and feel appealing to the business and people that live in the area.

I have lived in the Englewood area for 34 years and looking around I to have viewed the changes in the area. The despair and anger that has become part of MY NEIGHBORHOOD. The different cultures that have become part of this area and that has obtained financial success and show no respect or need for blacks who make up more that 40% of the Englewood area. I have watched the revitalization of the area which does seem to include opportunities both financial and educational for (African Americans) living in and around Englewood. Politicians elected to serve and represent Englewood have not and do not inform the people who elected them in what changes or opportunities that have been created for Englewood so there is nothing left for the people and youths to care about or look forward to in Englewood. People ask why is there so much crime in this area and around the city the answer is (NO DREAMS),(No FUTURE).

My parents imigrated to the U.S. in the 20's My father worked for the New York Central RR. Our house was 5811 So. Princeton. My grandfather was the janitor at St. Martins'Church. Recently I drove past and noticed that the statue was gone from the church. Anyone know what happened? I know the church has been closed for a number of years but still seemed to shine.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on April 13, 2007 12:35 PM.

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