A Neighborhood Finds Itself

By Julia Abrahamson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
Citizen Participation in Urban Renewal

On a spring evening in May 1957, the members of the city's Conservation Community Council for Hyde Park-Kenwood listened attentively as residents of northwest Hyde Park testified at a public hearing on the Preliminary Project Report for the renewal of their area.

Northwest Hyde Park had some of the toughest planning problems in all of Hyde Park-Kenwood: severe overcrowding; many blighted buildings; an overcrowded school; housing utilizing almost all available land; lack of open space for recreation and off-street parking; too much traffic on residential streets.

The hearing began with a description by Chief Planner Jack Meltzer of the proposals designed to meet these problems: the demolition of a concentrated section of blighted housing and deteriorated commercial area and its replacement with new housing and a small shopping center; clearance of approximately three acres for play space for Kozminski School and the eventual replacement of that school by a modern smaller school to be built on the proposed play site, at which time the demolition of the present building would provide a new site for the play area; the construction of a 600-pupil school at 54th Place and Greenwood; a campus-park development consisting of the Chicago

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