Monday, December 16, 2013

Vacant Schools in Englewood.....Is there a solution?

For the last 10 months I've been working with a core planning team looking at ways that this school closing problem can possibly be shifted to an economic break through in Englewood. Back in September, this discussion was in the hands of the school district which was recently shifted to the city who created an Advisory Committee for School Repurposing and Community Development. This council is charged with developing the process for interested parties looking to purchase or reuse a vacant school building. Englewood was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Chicago and although it was devastating to have so many schools shuttered, this could serve as an opportunity to put Englewood back on the map economically if it is a community driven process.... Below is an excerpt from my white paper, please read and send me your feedback!

 Vacant Schools in Englewood Open Doors for Economic Growth Opportunities - White Paper
"The Englewood community is currently on the losing end of an economic war. Outside of having the highest unemployment rates in Chicago and 40% of the population is living below the poverty level, this community was recently hit with over 5 neighborhood schools being shuttered due to the school’s district under-utilization factors. Due to the demographic makeup of the community, Greater Englewood is unfortunately made up of many failing schools, high crime, rapid foreclosures and increasingly high unemployment rates.
Yale Elementary - 70th & Princeton - Shuttered in 2013
With these social ills plaguing the area it is essential for residents to organize in order to work towards positive change and economic vitality. This white paper will examine how a community like Englewood can leverage institutional assets and human capital in order to repurpose a closed school building to meet the immediate and long term economic needs of the community."  

To download the entire white paper link here.