Washington Park: Olympic-sized push

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Some folks who live on the west side of Washington Park say they fear putting the proposed Olympic Stadium in their neighborhood will spur gentrification and shove them out of the place they've called home for so long.

What's your take?

Here's what one reader had to say via email ...

A colleague of mine commented yesterday, would the folks in Lincoln Park be so voiceless in a decision to build an Olympic Stadium there? Of course not! This is all about moving people out to bring a new community in.

Larry Sulton

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10 Comments

How do people find it possible to bring racism into everything? The residents of the Washington Park neighborhood will have an abundance of job opportunities if/when the IOC decides on Chicago as the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games. There may be some inconveniences that come along with all of the opportunity but it certainly seems like the positives outweigh the negatives.

If Chicago is selected to host the games I am guessing there will be alot of people inconvenienced throughout the process, even white people, but the positives it would bring to the city as a whole are well worth it in my opinion.

Here's how. Two words: Jesse Jackson. Does that answer your question?

Hey, I have a condo for sale in Hyde Park just half a mile away from Washington Park. Move in now while property values are still reasonable!!!

If the value of homes in the Washington Park area double I don't understand why residents feel that is a bad thing. Sell your home take the profit. It's sad people would rather continue to live in a crime infested neighborhood then take advantage of a fresh start. I understand this is the area people have grew up in but why not try to give your children something more?

How clueless can the three previous posters be? Of course everyone in that area has something to be worried about, just like the "black" folks in the Woodlawn area and the "black" folks in the South Shore area had plenty to worry about in regards to gentrification! It takes white people to think that it doesnt involve race when in actuality it does! So what if the Olympics bring jobs during the time that we host the city? What about afterwards when "black" folks have been priced out of the area and the whites or well to do move in? Are you saying that their fears are not legitimate? Yes they are! Oh, by the way, yeah whites will be inconvienced to...BY TRAFFIC...

What posters like Matt and Celie don't realize is that most residents of Washington Park don't own their homes. They rent. Or if they do own their homes, they may just be hanging on, unable to do substantial renovations.

IF in 2009 the IOC declares Chicago the host, there will be mass rebuilding, renovation and updating. Food stores that sell quality fruits and veggies will pop up (there are none now btw -- the nearest Jewel stores are 3-7 miles away), multiple starbucks will appear. Retail shops other than rainbow, gamestop, and spin cycle will be built.

Subsequently, renters will be told to move because their building is going condo. Homeowners will find that their tax bill is more than they can afford. And suddenly people like Matt and Celie won't be so scared venture south of Sox park.

african-american people have deep roots on the southside (aside from bridgeport). For a long time the only integrated southside neighborhoods were Hyde Park and some of Southshore... and for the longest time the many white people were scared to come south...until it became a financial advantage to do so. And when white people come in to the neighborhood things start to get a whole lot better. And for some african-americans, they would rather keep things the same than to deal with whites who will come into the neighborhood to buy but still clutch their purse or hold on to their back pants pocket when a black person walks by them.

And why do we have to move around to accomodate the needs of the city? Isn't there open space in outlying areas of the city. It is nice to see change but at whose expense.

Its sad that most of these post are badgering each other about racial issues. The real issue here, whether black or white is that these people will have to change their lifestyle because of force not choice. The homeowners are not given the choice to make money in this process but they are being forced out with these rich people ideas. Yes some of these people may be renting but why is it that they have to be inconvenience because we have money hungry vultures that can care less about the less fortunate. I think that the homeowners should fight for their right to have the opportunity to be involved in this event. To be honest jeanniene B all black people dont rob and snatch purses, they are the ones they be around to see it happen to you and catch them in the act for you and it's people like you who wouldnt even appreciate it, as though that was their job to serve and protect you. What we need to worry about is these spoon feed rich folk bringing their problems to these surrounding neighborhoods, like rappist and people that have issues with dealing with real life because they been spoon feed all their life and their parents not teaching them not to use them as a crutch all the time. These are the people you are bringing into their neighborhood. To me people with too money has ego problems and think they can just barge in on people just because they got it, NO, yall need a reality check. And i truly hope that things turn out for the good of the people rather them being black, white, purple or blue. We all will like a piece of the rock, so share the wealth. And remember God dont like ugly and only the the righteous WILL prosper. I am so tired of these racial issues. Yall need to get over it because they are here to stay and if you think for one minute that you will prevail, HA...time will tell. Have a blessed and happy Monday!

They will be pushed out. Isn't a little late for us to start pretending that we care?

I am a young African American male from the hood about to buy a condo in Washington Park. I hope the Olympics come; I got my condo at a bargain price. I’m not rich nor is my family. I grow up in Roseland (Wild Hundreds), my mom grow up on 39th and Lake park in the projects. My sisters and I all went to school got decent jobs, and now it’s my time to have the American dream. I love black people, in fact I am considered by most that know me extraordinarily pro black. I really hope the Olympics come to the area, if they do I will make lots of money. Personally I don’t see why the current residents of Washington Park can’t buy some property lots of young black people are coming into the area, the building where my condo is all black. Like I said, I’m not rich I had my 1st son at 21 before I finished school, I’m expecting my second kid this summer. Im saying this to show I did not get a head start in life or nothing. My credit is not that great either; I just wanted a condo so I started paying debt, and "Boom" I got it. I drove past the condo to see the area again, and I see niggas shooting dice hanging out, oblivious to whats happening. Before they know it they will be out in Aurora.

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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 20, 2007 10:20 AM.

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