Ordinance aims to ensure Woodlawn affordable after construction of Obama Center in Jackson Pk.
After more than a year of negotiations, setbacks and compromises, a new ordinance will be introduced to Chicago’s City Council on Wednesday that aims to protect Woodlawn residents from displacement with the impending construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.
“There’s a unique history and future in Woodlawn,” Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said Tuesday. “We see the importance of this community in the future of Chicago and we want to make sure that we are being a partner to this community in shaping what happens here going forward.”
The city currently owns 208 vacant residential lots in Woodlawn. The ordinance stipulates that 30% of any future housing developments on 52 of those lots — 25% — must be affordable to people who make 30% to 50% of the area’s median income. Novara said that, for a family of four, 30% of the area’s median income is about $25,000.
The 30% benchmark will not be in effect after 20 years, she added.
Alds. Jeanette Taylor (20th) and
Leslie Hairston (5th), whose wards encompass the neighborhood, could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but the Daily Line reported that both support the measure and will co-sponsor the ordinance.
Maintaining affordable housing and ensuring residents won’t be forced out of the neighborhood have been sticking points since the center’s site was chosen.
Novara said there will be meetings between the city, aldermanic offices and developers to ensure that locals get a bite at the apple when it comes time for construction.