The Chicago Department of Planning and Development hosted a kick off of the Chicago Neighborhoods Now-West Side Planning Area on March 22, 2016. The West Side Planning Area consists of the Humboldt Park, East Garfield, West Garfield, Austin and North Lawndale communities. Valerie F. Leonard, a member of the NLCCC Executive Sub-Committee, served as one of the meeting facilitators, representing the North Lawndale Community and the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council.
Leonard provided the welcoming remarks, and Brad McConnell, Deputy Commissioner for Planning Operations provided an overview of the Chicago Neighborhoods Now program, with an emphasis on the West Side Planning Area. The audience of about 50 people were then asked to map issues with respect to several quality of life areas, including arts and culture, housing, places of worship, transportation and workforce development.
The audience returned to their seats and had an open discussion of the issues, and did a real-time survey to prioritize them. After that, the audience was instructed to think about what types of investments the city should be making in communities between now and 2017. Discussion ensued, and responses will be compiled to inform the next phase, which will include more in-depth discussions with a broader base of community stakeholders, and action planning. The plans should be completed by 2017, and will include steps communities can take now to make a difference.
Richard Townsell (right), the Executive Director of the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation and NLCCC Housing Sub-Committee Chair, engages in sidebar conversation with Brad McConnell, Deputy Commissioner for Planning Operations.