Some have asked why North Lawndale should embark upon yet another planning process. There are 6 TIFs that have some or all of their land mass in North Lawndale. Another TIF, in Little Village, impacts some North Lawndale residents. There are a number of other special districts, including expired Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Zones and HUB Zones. Furthermore, there are several plans that have been developed over the years, or are in process now. These include the North Lawndale New Communities Program; a plan for Douglas Boulevard; a plan for the Roosevelt Road Commercial Corridor; a plan for urban agriculture along 16th Street and plans for the Ogden Avenue commercial corridor, to name a few. While each of these plans has merit, none of them touches the entire community. There are some areas in the community that have not been touched, while other parts of the community are poised for growth. North Lawndale has not had a comprehensive planning process in nearly 60 years. Currently, there is no entity to develop guiding development principles and policies, let alone coordinate the development activities to maximize impact of development and to ensure an equitable distribution of resources throughout the community and provide a sense of “place” for North Lawndale. Moreover, over the years, the North Lawndale community has evolved from one with an entrepreneurial and industrial spirit to a community that is overly reliant upon social services.
We envision a comprehensive planning process that will: 1) help us take stock of all the plans in the community and develop a snapshot of current conditions and capacity; 2) lay a framework that will guide future development; 3) establish goals, objectives and performance metrics to guide us towards a desired end (to be determined during the planning process); 4) incorporate sustainability goals that allow us to have a positive triple bottom line, as measured by environmental impact, social equity and economic impact; 5) help us diversify our economy ; 6) develop our local residents such that they can take advantage of housing, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities that will naturally evolve from the implementation of the plan; 7) develop a framework to measure the financial impact of the implementation of the strategic plan continually. The process should be participatory and engage rank and file residents in meaningful ways, “early and often.”