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As Gentrification Moves West, Hermosa And Logan Square Leaders Launch Plan To Fight Displacement

Mina Bloom

 Ideas include establishing a "welcoming corridor" along Armitage west of Pulaski for immigrants.

LOGAN SQUARE — In an effort to “get ahead of” gentrification-fueled displacement encroaching on West Logan Square and Hermosa, community leaders have launched a five-year plan.

Logan Square Neighborhood Association partnered with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, on the 56-page plan, which doubles as a report on the state of the neighborhoods. 

In the plan, called “Hermosa and Logan Square West: Here To Stay,” leaders outline a number of strategies aimed at combating displacement and the deterioration of community institutions like public schools and immigrant-owned businesses in the face of gentrification.

“We refuse to concede that our future and fate should be determined by markets, systems and structures unwilling to consider what benefits the community or even the city as a whole,” leaders wrote in the plan.

“We assert that community control and the will of the people who live here, centering those most affected by displacement
and divestment, should dictate what happens in
our community.”

Leaders point to the redevelopment of The Fields warehouse and the Metra Healy station, as well as the entry of big box stores at Belmont and Pulaski avenues, as signs gentrification is moving west.

Right now the area is 71 percent Hispanic or Latino and 29 percent non-Hispanic or Latino, but the Latino and Hispanic population could plummet if nothing is done to combat gentrification, leaders argue in the plan.

Already, the Latino population has dwindled in Logan Square as white residents move in

“We see gentrification moving west, and yet there are still opportunities to get ahead of it and be really thoughtful and do really comprehensive community-led planning to address some of the challenges that come along with displacement,” said Susan Yanun, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association staffer overseeing the plan.

Over the last year and a half, a few hundred community leaders and residents have done just that.

One of the ideas they came up with is a community land trust in which local groups committed to creating and maintaining affordable housing would form a legal body and then acquire and fix up properties.

Right now, community leaders are coming up with an organizational structure and pitching the idea to residents at local housing workshops, according to Yanun.

Another idea is to establish a “welcoming corridor” for immigrants and immigrant-owned businesses along Armitage Avenue west of Pulaski Road. In addition to putting up banners and murals, leaders want to create opportunities for affordable housing developers and immigrant business owners to invest in the stretch.

Only one of the ideas is already in motion and that’s the mental health clinic. Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale voted overwhelmingly to fund a mental health clinic in the area in the November election. In the plan, leaders said they’re committed to seeing this project through and strengthening existing programs in the area.

By this fall, LISC will have helped create 27 quality-of-life plans in neighborhoods across the city since 2001, according to Jake Ament, director of the organization’s neighborhood network.

Both Ament and Yanun said it’s the right time to be talking about the future of Logan Square West and Hermosa given how much home prices in the area have gone up since the plan was conceived.

“This is a point in time where we can really make a difference,” Ament said. “In many neighborhoods you find yourself wishing you had [done the plan] 10 years before.”

Read the full plan here: 

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