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10 Reasons to Feel Good About West Humboldt Park in 2010

10 Reasons to Feel Good About West Humboldt Park in 2010

1. Free grant money for business owners

Three Chicago Avenue business owners have obtained conditional approval for grants totaling $140,000.  The grant money offered through the City’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program will allow one business to obtain a vacant city-owned lot, expand his business, and position his business for the future.

SBIF helps owners of commercial properties and/or tenants to repair or remodel their facilities.  Program participants can receive reimbursing grants to cover from 25-75% of the project cost with a maximum grant amount of $150,000.  This grant does not have to be repaid.

Funds are still available. If you are a business-owner or commercial property owner and would like to make capital improvements to your space please contact Tom Otto tom@whpdevelopmentcouncil.net or 773-342-0036 to obtain more information.

2. New help for business owners and entrepreneurs

  • Do you need help obtaining your MBE/WBE certifications
  • Would you like help developing a social networking strategy?
  • Do you need help writing a business plan?

Free expert help is available through the West Humboldt Park Development Council’s new one-on-one mentoring program for area business owners.  How does the program work?  The initial meeting is a discussion of your business and what kind of help you need.  We can then schedule a series of meetings to help you to achieve your goals, grow your business, and succeed.  For more information contact Tom Otto tom@whpdevelopmentcouncil.net or 773-342-0036.

3. A new Chicago Avenue street & streetscape

What is 2.77 miles long, has 536 new trees and 258 new light poles?  The Chicago Avenue Improvement Project.  Chicago Avenue will be completely repaved starting this spring. The project will also include new utilities, pavement widening, and a new streetscape. This is a great opportunity to revitalize west Humboldt Park’s main commercial corridor.  Commercial pioneers are now needed to rehab and renovate existing structures on Chicago Avenue and open new shops and restaurants.

4. More new single-family affordable homes

The First Community Land Trust of Chicago is building more single-family homes for first-time homebuyers on the 400 block of N Hamlin.  These homes would be valued at $225,000 if market rate but are offered to families earning <60% of area median income.  Subsidies of up to $70,000 are available for qualified buyers.  Buyers typically have a mortgage of only $89,000 -106,000 after subsidies.  For more information on these 3 bedroom 1 3/4 bath homes please see www.whpdevelopmentcouncil.net/CLT/

An artist’s drawing of what our new library will look like.

5. A new West Humboldt Park Library

A new 16,000 sq ft full service library will be built at 733 N Kedzie. The building will be designed to achieve LEED ‘silver’ certification and will incorporate a green roof. The location is just east of Kells Park and south of Chicago Avenue.  The library will have 2 community reading rooms and an outdoor reading garden.  The project is scheduled for completion in December 2010.

6. More and better block clubs

Block Clubs empower residents so that they might realize their potential when it comes to their affect on the character of their neighborhood.  In January 2004, the West Humboldt Park Block Club network (WHPBCN) was created as a way for individual block clubs to get to know one another, share ideas and success stories, and expand their resources and their range of focus. Today there are dozens of block clubs working together to make west Humboldt Park a better place.  A Best Practices Manual is now out to help new and existing block clubs better achieve their goals.

7. A new Garfield Park Hospital

Hartgrove Hospital will renovate the vacant facility at 520 N Ridgeway into an 88 bed  acute care hospital. The $14 million renovation will return high quality behavioral health care to an underserved community. The facility will have a total of 200 positions and will hire from the community.

8. New opportunities for kid and family-focused activities

The new Kelly Hall YMCA is hosting a variety of kid and family-focused programming to get kids off the street and into positive activities.

9. More healthy living options

The Healthy Community Initiative is a grassroots coalition promoting healthy lifestyle changes, events and options. Look for Ujima Community Garden, an edible garden, opening up at Central Park & Ohio this spring.

10. More opportunities for jobs and local hiring

The Building Employment and Entrepreneurial Partnerships (BEEP) committee is working as a liaison between in-coming developers and businesses and the community to create jobs for local residents.  BEEP also works to promote small business and entrepreneurship in the community.