The holidays, in general, are a time for family. For community. For memories. Caroling around the neighborhood bringing good cheer to others (or as Buddy the Elf would say, “singing loud for all to hear”). Sharing a meal with those we love. Baking cookies, playing in the snow, telling stories, and engaging in a whole host of traditions. Throughout the generations, this time of year has always had a way of bringing the generations together.
A fitting sentiment as we approach the New Year here at NEAR. Our vision for our Near Eastside community is that of intergenerational diversity, strength, and wealth. Like a mature forest with old growth trees to tiny saplings, a strong neighborhood must respect, honor, and protect those who have spent their whole lives here. It must also provide opportunities to harmoniously welcome new life and support new growth.
Opportunities for Generations
We believe diverse generations can learn from and support each other. To that end, we are re-developing the vacant Minnie Hartmann School 78 into the state’s first ever full-spectrum community life center. The new Minnie Hartmann will offer affordable housing for the elders of our community, while also providing full-day child care services. After closing nearly a decade ago, this special center will open in 2019 and provide new life to the building, while providing interactive programs engaging children with seniors.
Just north of Minnie Hartmann lies another parcel of land set for its next generation. For the last couple years, NEAR has led the community planning efforts for the 50-acre Sherman Park site. In 2019, we are moving forward on implementation of the comprehensive plan for the former RCA plant. In its heyday, the plan employed over 8,000 people in and around our community. Its closing left a gaping employment void in the area. At the new Sherman Park, we are attracting new industrial employers, like RecycleForce, in addition to multi-use buildings and green space. Our goal is to bring jobs back to the Near Eastside and help create a stronger workforce in our area.
Housing for Generations
While we strengthen our existing resident base, we remain committed to rehabbing and building new affordable homes (like at the Educators’ Village) to grow our base. We are also implementing our Preserving Affordable Housing strategies to ensure no residents are squeezed out. Housing is the most direct way to building intergenerational wealth. It’s important to us that all Near Eastside residents have that opportunity.
As you gather the generations this holiday, consider and celebrate the strength of those bonds. The richness that they bring to your life. In 2019, our focus will be on celebrating and strengthening the many generations, new and old, on the Near Eastside.