The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council is very fortunate to have had significant media coverage of our meetings and events in recent months. We thank the Austin Weekly News, Chicago Reader, Chicago Streets Blog, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Citizen, WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times for the coverage. Outlined below are articles that have been generated as a result of our events.
Each year following On the Table, the Chicago Community Trust hears from excited and passionate community members about the conversations they had and the ways in which they want to make a difference on a local level. This year, the Trust will help ensure creative and actionable ideas raised during the discussions come to fruition.
To this end, the Chicago Community Trust has invited all individuals and organizations to submit a short video featuring their table’s idea of an actionable task to benefit your community. Some ideas included planting a community vegetable garden to buying school supplies for a classroom in need; cleaning up a local playground to supplying dinner for a week at a local soup kitchen. In essence – what could participants do with $1,000 to benefit their community?
On June 28, Chicago Community Trust will announce up to 50 On the Table participants who will receive a $1,000 Acting Up award to implement their idea. The charge is simply to encourage people to work together and take action for the public good.
Here is a copy of the NLCCC video submittal. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, we thoroughly enjoyed participating in several On the Table discussions on May 10th and have come back with a number of ideas that may be incorporated into our community planning process.
Left to right: Representative Arthur Turner, Dr. Dennis Deer, Rodney Brown, Valerie F. Leonard, Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. and Commissioner Robert Steele.
It has been over 50 years since North Lawndale has had a comprehensive plan that could be used to attract resources and guide public policy as it relates to transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. As a result, much of the limited development that has occurred in recent years has not been coordinated or yielded maximum impact for the community as a whole. There are some pockets of North Lawndale that have seen significant development, while other parts have remained untouched since the 1950’s.
Map of North Lawndale, City of Chicago Community Area 29
In an effort to rectify this situation, the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) recently held its first annual community planning conference, in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), at the DRW College Prep High School on Chicago’s West Side. Kevin Sutton, Vice President of the Foundation for Homan Square served as the Community Conference Chair and chief event planner and the Foundation for Homan Square hosted the event.
The Celestial Ministries Drumline kicks off the conference.
A standing room only crowd of over 300 North Lawndale stakeholders, including young children, high school students, residents, local pastors and parishioners, heads of organizations, foundations, financial institutions, business owners and elected officials were in attendance. The Celestial Ministries Drumline kicked off the day with a lively mini-parade that culminated in a short performance of syncopated rhythms and beats, and DRW Principal Matt Kelly provided opening remarks.
DRW Principal Matt Kelly gives opening remarks.
Planning conference participants pack the main hall of the DRW College Prep High School as the school’s Honors Choir performs.
Rev. Albert D. Tyson, III, the Presiding Elder of the North District, Chicago Conference African Methodist Episcopal Church, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Elder Tyson shared passages from the Book of Nehemiah, which provided several lessons learned when approaching communities in need of redevelopment. It may be inferred from the passages that he selected that if we want to repair the damage done to our community, we must carefully assess the damage and the environment, sometimes going it alone. Then we must involve a small core group in developing a plan. At the appropriate time, the whole community of invested stakeholders must be involved in the execution of the plan. This takes vision, commitment and coordination.
Presiding Elder Albert D. Tyson, III makes remarks.
Valerie F. Leonard, Rodney Brown and Dennis Deer, members of the NLCCC Executive Sub-Committee, provided an overview of the organization, its approaches to community development and the structure of the organization. One of the approaches that differentiates the work of NLCCC is the fact that the group is focusing efforts on building the potential for current residents and existing businesses and organizations to take advantage of the changes the plan could bring when it’s put into action.
Elected officials at all levels of government expressed wholehearted support for the planning process and the potential it could bring for the community. Commissioner Robert Steele and State Representative Arthur Turner provided words of support and encouragement during the morning session. Alderman Michael Scott and Congressman Danny K. Davis offered remarks in the afternoon.
Congressman Danny K. Davis
Brandon Nolin, a Senior Planner with CMAP, provided an overview of the planning schedule and related activities for the next 18 months and conducted a workshop in which attendees provided feedback regarding North Lawndale’s greatest challenges, ways to address them and the things they liked most about North Lawndale.
Brandon Nolin, Senior Planner at CMAP
The top three issues identified by the audience included unemployment, gang violence and vacant buildings and lots. The top three projects identified included rehabbing abandoned properties, programs for purchasing vacant lots and holding landlords accountable for troubled buildings. The three things the audience liked most about North Lawndale were its central location, great parks and Historic K-Town. Information from the survey will help the consultants at CMAP get a sense for what the community’s priorities are. This information will be combined with the results from a survey that will be distributed door-to-door over the next few weeks. An online version of the survey is found athttps://northlawndale.metroquest.com/. A webpage with an overview of CMAP’s work with North Lawndale, and a copy of the Power Point presentation for the day are found at http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/programs-and-resources/lta/north-lawndale
The DRW Honors choir, under the direction of Martin Woods, performed three selections: 1) Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light (Bach); 2) Glory (John Legend/Common); and 3) Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Ashford/Simpson).
DRW Honors Choir
Bonni McKeown, teaching artist with the Chicago School of the Blues, showed a trailer of her upcoming movie, The Rhythm and the Blues, based on the life of North Lawndale’s own Larry Taylor. Mr. Taylor was also in attendance.
Bonni McKeown, Teaching Artist, Chicago School of the Blues
After the entertainment break conference attendees participated in breakout discussions where they could talk about community issues in further detail. There were nine discussions as follows: 1) Housing, led by Richard Townsell; 2) Health and Wellness, led by Debra Wesley and Tameeka Christian; 3) Transportation, Infrastructure and Technology, led by Paul Norrington and Audrey Dunford; 4) Education and Youth, led by Dr. Betty Allen Green and Dr. Bernard Moore; 5) Arts and Culture led by Sheila J. McNary, Bonni Mckeown, Alysia Slusser and Cesar Quiroz; Public Safety led by Roger Washington and Norman Livingston Kerr; 6) Economic Development led by Eric Lindsay, Vince Guider and Bernard Jennings; a youth session led by Ellen Moiani and a children’s session led by Kimberly George.
Dr. Betty Allen Green leads the Education and Youth breakout discussion.
Eric Lindsay leads a discussion on economic development.
The notes from the conference will be used to inform the comprehensive planning process and to identify goals, objectives and desired results of the planning process. The notes are being compiled and will be posted on the NLCCC website within the next few weeks. Visit http://nlcccplanning.org to learn more about the organization. Keep up with the latest events by following the blog, finding the organization on Facebook and following NLCCC on Twitter. A link to pictures from the conference are found on the organization’s Flickr account at https://www.flickr.com/photos/140334498@N03/.
Questions regarding this article may be addressed as follows:
Valerie F. Leonard
We have put together a series of Facebook and Twitter posts for NLCCC members and friends for the days leading up to our April 16 community planning conference. CMAP, our planning partner, will be posting similar content on the CMAP pages.
Please note that we’ve highlighted partner organization accounts that could be leveraged to better spread the word. We’re also introducing #PlanNorthLawndale as an easy way to share the comments.
We hope you can participate.
As you may be aware, the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council will host our first annual community development conference on Saturday, April 16, 2016, from 11 am – 3 pm at DRW College Prep High School 931 South Homan Avenue. (be sure to register at https://nlcccplanning.org/register.) We need 40 people to facilitate discussions at tables and/or take notes during our first session. We also need 10 people to provide support to our committee chairs and vice chairs during the community assessment breakouts that follow. We will host a training for people who are willing to assist at the Homan Square Community Center, 3715 West Arthington, on Thursday, March 31, 2016, from 9:30 am -11:30 am. Please let me know if you are coming out on Thursday so we know how many copies to prepare. Your assistance, as always, is most appreciated.
The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) are sponsoring the North Lawndale Community Planning Conference on April 16, 2016, from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm at DRW College Preparatory High School, 931 South Homan Avenue. We need your help in spreading the word. Please download the attached poster and post card files and distribute them in your networks. The poster file is for an 11″ x 17″ document, but it will automatically reduce to 8.5″ x 11″ if your printer does not support ledger size paper. To find out more about the conference and register , visit https://nlcccplanning.org/register. Your assistance is most appreciated.
Please take a few minutes to complete the registration form below. You will need to scroll down in order to get to the questions. Be sure to hit the “Submit” button so that we receive the data.