January 30, 2020

Draft ‘Woodlawn Report’ Highlights 15 Years of Community Planning Goals

Consolidated report would serve, protect existing community stakeholders

To help ensure the impact of the planned Obama Presidential Center benefits existing community residents, the Department of Planning & Development (DPD) today issued a draft “Woodlawn Plan Consolidation Report” to reinforce the priorities of nine existing community-driven plans and to recommend strategies for their implementation. Consolidating these community-driven plans into one place will provide a roadmap for City officials to work alongside community groups with a vested interest to ensure that future development decisions prioritize sustainable, long term growth and the needs of the Woodlawn community area.

“This report highlights the substantial planning work in Woodlawn over the last 15 years by multiple community organizations and civic agencies that identified local priorities,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “The report’s purpose is to consolidate local goals and ensure they’re implemented. This is specifically intended to benefit existing stakeholders and long-time residents as the Obama Presidential Center starts to take shape later this year.”

The draft report will be made available for review and public comment at an open house presented by DPD and the Department of Housing (DOH) from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, Jan. 30, at Hyde Park Academy, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave. The report is also available on the DPD website at www.chicago.gov/woodlawn. Comments on the report will be accepted by email at DPD@cityofchicago.org.

The consolidated report is based on priorities and recommendations of the following community plans and commissioning agencies:

  • “Woodlawn 2025,” Network of Woodlawn, 2017
  • “Getting Ahead of Gentrification,” Network of Woodlawn, 2018
  • “Rebuilding the Village,” Woodlawn Preservation & Investment Corp. and LISC, 2005
  • “63rd Street Transit Oriented Development Study,” DPD, 2014
  • “63rd/Cottage Grove Retail Analysis,” DPD, 2015
  • “Woodlawn Master Plan,” Network of Woodlawn, 2016
  • “2017 Sprint: Central Area to Jackson Park,” Chicago Central Area Committee, 2017
  • “Restitching Woodlawn,” Chicago Central Area Committee, 2017
  • “Woodlawn Corridor Development Initiative,” Cook County Land Bank Authority, 2018

While each individual plan has a specific focus, collectively they support various planning priorities, including expanded local ownership and neighborhood retail options; reestablishment of 63rd street as a neighborhood center; redevelopment of vacant buildings and lots; improved conditions of the public realm; increased connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users; and public safety enhancements, among other goals. The draft report’s implementation strategies will be refined through meetings, surveys and workshops that DPD, its sister agencies, elected officials and private partners can initiate in the months ahead.

Implementation will occur in conjunction with the DOH’s proposed Woodlawn Affordable Housing Ordinance, which is designed to protect existing residents from displacement and ensure continued availability of affordable housing in the Woodlawn area. The Woodlawn Consolidation Report would support the goal of inclusive development and economic growth for the entire community through related strategies.

Implementation opportunities in the draft consolidated report include:

  • Engaging the community to exercise its vision for future density and the form of development
  • Beginning work towards a zoning overlay district with a form-based code and design guidelines to direct future development in alignment with community character
  • Marketing City-owned land for redevelopment to achieve community vision and housing goals
  • Maintaining meaningful, long-term community engagement to guide ongoing development

Additionally, the report includes data, information, and related analysis that identifies where the individual reports overlap, share goals, and serve common, community-based objectives.

A final version of the report is expected to be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., City Council Chambers. If adopted, the report would help guide select land use decisions, public investments, and community-based improvement initiatives in Woodlawn.

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