Like many Chicago neighborhoods in recent decades, the Rosemoor and North Pullman communities have experienced rapid social and economic shifts including population decline, job loss, economic restructuring, and a declining economic base, which has left the communities with issues of poverty, unemployment, institution loss, and scarce resources to deal with these challenges. 103rd Street and Michigan Avenue, once thriving corridors serving the communities’ upwardly mobile middle and working class, today reflect the social and economic transformations of the neighborhoods. The disinvestment is evident by the corridors’ business vacancies, boarded-up storefronts, neglected vacant lots, and an unhealthy business mix. What were once largely locally-owned businesses catering to the everyday needs of the local residents are now mostly chain stores (fast food restaurants, discount stores, check cashing businesses), that offer limited goods and services requiring residents to leave the neighborhood to meet their everyday needs.
With the recent designation of the Pullman site as a national monument, the adjacent communities of Rosemoor and North Pullman are increasingly concerned with preserving the affordability and character of their neighborhoods, while looking to direct the national monument investment to improve their communities in the residents’ vision.
To produce a plan that reflected community values and priorities, the Roseland office of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago and UIC Great Cities Institute engaged in a collaborative planning process involving residents, businesses, community organizations and other key stakeholders to develop a vision for the future of both communities.
The process was a “bottom-up” approach based on the input of community members and other key stakeholders over four months and reflects the ideas and desires of the community. A steering committee composed of residents, business owners, and community organizations from both neighborhoods was formed to provide guidance during the plan formation, as well as to carry out implementation after the plan was completed. In addition, to ensure a broad community input, the planning process involved a public engagement process.