Advocating for historic places in Chicago’s disinvested communities can be an extraordinary tool to strengthen community and save places!
In some of Chicago’s historically disinvested communities, the preservation of historic places and the history of community that surrounds them have not been equitable. Preservation Chicago initiated a Neighborhood Outreach Program in 2019 to contribute to the turning of the tide. Driven by community members and facilitated by Preservation Chicago, we work collaboratively to identify historic assets in targeted community areas and develop strategies to preserve the more vulnerable of those buildings.
As the preservation community advocates for the City of Chicago to commit resources for an updated Chicago Historic Resource Survey, Preservation Chicago has embarked with community residents on parcel surveys in targeted areas defined by the community. Current CHRS data will be imported into the web-based system, and new information can be exported and shared with the City of Chicago.
The program strategies are to:
1. Raise awareness of preservation as a strategy to strengthen healthy communities
2. Develop strategies to protect the most vulnerable historic assets
3. Develop network of community-based preservation and community development advocates
4. Advance policies to expand tools for preservation
5. Increase capacity of neighborhood preservation partners
6. Connect people to resources
Stories will be collected and shared to remind people of the glory of these places and their importance to connect people to their history. Work in the Bronzeville and Roseland neighborhoods is well underway. We have begun the same outreach South Chicago. While the program will expand to neighborhoods across Chicago, the program’s first two years will focus predominantly on neighborhoods with historic resources that are sometimes overlooked and at great risk of being lost. Greater focus needs to be invested in implementing and developing tools and resources to protect and honor all of Chicago’s historic assets. Historic preservation is an effective tool to contribute to healthier communities with stable housing, pride of place and buildings that tell the story of who the community is and where it has been.
The format of this event will be a panel presentation and discussion, including:
1. Mary Lu Seidel, Director of Community Engagement for Preservation Chicago
2. Bernard Loyd, Preservation Bronzeville representative
3. Andrea Reed, Preservation Roseland representative
4. Awaiting confirmation on an Alderperson to participate.Ms. Seidel will give a brief program overview. Each of the community representatives will share the story of their work done to date. Then we will open up questions from the moderator and the audience.