Gresham neighborhood receives $10 million ‘Chicago Prize’

Neighborhood groups in Gresham plan to build a “Healthy Lifestyle Hub” as well as an urban farm, among other revitalization efforts.

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Graduates of Leo High School are posted along 79th Street in Auburn Gresham, the neighborhood selected for the $10 million Chicago Prize. The competition selected from six finalists representing South Side and West Side neighborhoods.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A Gresham community group has won the inaugural Chicago Prize and now has $10 million to spend on its neighborhood revitalization plan.

The inaugural Chicago Prize competition, sponsored by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, picks one group on Chicago’s South or West Side and awards a grant it can use to address systemic poverty and economic exclusion.

The winning initiative — Always Growing, Auburn Gresham — plans to turn a vacant building on 79th and Halsted streets into a “Healthy Lifestyle Hub,” equipped with a full-service health center, as well as develop an urban farm and renewable energy center.The team includes the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Green Era and Urban Growers Collective.

The $12.4 million lifestyle hub already has received some financial backing from the city’s Invest South/West initiative.

Last year, 80 teams on Chicago’s South and West sides submitted proposals for the Chicago Prize. On Dec. 11, a panel of experts highlighted 20 proposals and nominated six of those as finalists for the $10 million prize. The other five finalists represented Little Village, Englewood, North Lawndale, Austin and South Chicago.

The foundation also announced an additional $2.5 million fund to support the other neighborhood projects that were finalists.

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