CHICAGO — In an initiative to bring communities back to life on the South and West sides, a revitalization project began Saturday in the city’s South Chicago neighborhood.
Residents and business owners have been waiting decades for this day.
“A lot of promises over the past 35 years. Nothing but promises really,” Davis Shoes owner Bill Davis said.
Davis Shoes has been on Commercial Avenue for 43 years. Davis said during the beginning of the business’ existence, the surrounding area was thriving.
“Probably just six to seven blocks of beautiful stores. Anything you wanted,” Davis said.
There is now a push to get new businesses in place while providing assistance to existing ones. It begins with the ‘Sweet Home South Chicago’ project, funded with TIF money, private corporations and individual businesses.
The project is a collaborative effort to make Commercial Avenue a more pedestrian friendly street.
A street festival commemorated the beginning of the project on Saturday. The Bessemer Park Advisory Council handed out backpacks filled with school supplies as part of the event.
Empty buildings such as one at 89th Street and Commercial Avenue will be torn down. One corner will have a multi-purpose apartment building, rewarding residents and business owners for their tenacity and hard work.