Affordable housing projects won’t harm neighborhood growth, value

Logan Square has been gentrified. The neighborhood that once was frowned upon and considered a high-crime area occupied by minorities is now a hip place to live.

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From left: The Resurrection Project CEO Raul Raymundo, Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, National Equity Fund CEO Matt Reilein and BMO Community Lending Managing Director Pamela Daniels-Halisi pose with shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony for Casa Durango in the Pilsen neighborhood on Sept. 16, 2021.

From left: Resurrection Project CEO Raul Raymundo, Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, National Equity Fund CEO Matt Reilein and BMO Community Lending Managing Director Pamela Daniels-Halisi pose with shovels during groundbreaking for Casa Durango in Pilsen on Sept. 16, 2021.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I am writing to advocate for a project in my community: the Emmett Street Project. Its purpose is to provide affordable rental housing for those that still want to call the Logan Square neighborhood their home. The project is funded by the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation.

The architect, Landon Bone Baker, incorporated all the necessities to make this project high-quality. It’s a full-amenity building, with a multi-level design that includes laundry facilities, a main lobby, bike storage and other accommodations.

However, there is a problem: some neighbors are vehemently opposed.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 350 words.

The neighborhood that once was frowned upon and considered a high-crime area occupied by minorities is now a hip place to live. My family has been a part of Logan Square for over 40 years. Many of my relatives have seen the advancement of this neighborhood, with new housing developments, local shops and small businesses, mostly bars and restaurants. These new additions were considered highly beneficial to neighborhood safety and have increased our appeal as a community. This allowed for more job opportunities and more activities for youth, while lowering crime and raising our spirits.

However, all these advancements came with a cost. Many residents were pushed out as property taxes rose and rent was raised to keep up with those new taxes. Long-time residents and those less fortunate were forced out. Lower-income people of color no longer felt safe, protected or culturally connected anymore.

Some new residents have distributed a petition to prohibit the construction of the Emmett Street Project. The flyers were displayed everywhere, with the main concern being that they did not want their neighborhood to be degraded. Although their concerns are similar to my family’s concern, everyone should understand that inclusivity is best for any community.

We should erase the stigma that affordable housing projects ruin a neighborhood’s potential growth and value. Discrimination against anyone should be forbidden.

Mireya Alvarez, Logan Square, studentat Northeastern Illinois University

Masks never a must on CTA

Sorry, but the title of your article, “Masks no longer a must,” can’t be further from reality. In spite of pleas from CTA employees and Chicago residents andafter a local news station displayed video of maskless riders crowding onto a train,the CTA and the mayor did not enforce mask wearing on trains and buses.

Masks were never a “must” and this failure to enforce the mandate most certainly caused some Chicago residents to become infected.

Why is it that the CTA seems to get a pass from City Hall when it comes to safety, be it threats from COVID or criminals?

Michael Pearson, Englewood

Historic spaces

Thank you so much for your unique review of the Antioch Church fire. My heart still hurts from this fire, and my attempt to remain silent is most difficult.

Yes, inept policy governing roofing is a major national problem. But we also need logical ways to communicate with owners of historic spaces. Many historic places have no relationship with municipal units.

The building department needs to be consumer-friendly enough for institutions to approach them with questions.

John Paul Jones, founder and president, Sustainable Englewood Initiatives

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