Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Carlos Nelson and Greater Auburn/Gresham Development Corp. Getting Things Done on 79th Street

My pal Carlos Nelson, long-time director of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation invited me over to the offices at 79th and Racine to discuss a planned tour of the Auburn/ Gresham neighborhood. we are working with writer Chris Vogel to develop some historical context to the tour. Much fun!

Along with Cheryl Johnson, Linda Johnson Herb Newkirk and my buddy Ernest Sanders, Carlos Nelson has had his shoulders set to a huge wheel. This neighborhood is an architectural dream scape with fine examples of the Chicago bungalow and commercial Art Deco properties abounding.

The history and the fabric of these neighborhoods is rich soil indeed.

Carlos and his staff have worked very hard to bring about some positive changes on the landscape and in the hearts of people. The landscape part is easy its the work on the human pump that is trouble.

There is no denying that 79th Street between the Dan Ryan and Ashland Ave. has undergone dramatic changes some which Leo High School has had a big part.

Most significantly, Carlos Nelson and GAGDC has eliminated much of the blighted properties and attracted new businesses to the neighborhood. Stores and services that were nowhere to be found in 1995 - gas stations and drug stores were no existent. Now 79th Street has stores and social service providers including Catholic Charities.

Leo High School has remained as an institutional anchor and source of inspiration to our neighbors. Our partnership with Carlos Nelson is a great one.

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