By ANDREW HOLZMAN
Houses in Pullman that more than 100 years ago were starting strikes over high rents are now very affordable. According to one source, the neighborhood is friendlier than ever. Rev. Patricia Bethany Bolton, who lives in one of the homes refurbished by the Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative, described her experience living in Pullman.
Bolton noticed repairs going on in the neighborhood and eventually found out about the CHI renovations.
“The process [to rent an apartment] was very difficult,” she said, “because you had to go through a screening process.” Bolton called the screening “uncomfortable,” but certainly worth it-she was ecstatic about the quality and the affordability of the home she now lives in.
“I’m very pleased that I live here,” she said. “I’ve come to realize the economical benefits.” Bolton explained that the recent renovation means a lower heat bill and fewer utilities problems, along with the lower rent.
“I know I don’t have to worry about a pipe bursting or clogging up,” Bolton said. “All of those things you don’t have to worry about later on … it’s much more affordable. You need everything-heating, lighting-to be affordable.”
She was also impressed with the quality of appliances and amenities in the homes. “Some of the houses have Jacuzzis. How many people can afford a Jacuzzi?” Bolton said.
Bolton has also noticed a marked improvement in the safety and overall tenor of the neighborhood since the CHI renovations.
“I go out of town, and I just tell my neighbors and I don’t worry,” she said, explaining that she used to notice more drug-related problems in the neighborhood. “I’ve become closer with the neighbors. CHI helps us implement block parties, whatever it is that we want to do … For people to find a place-it’s almost like living in Hyde Park,” Bolton said.
That safety makes a big difference in the lives of Pullman residents.
“Sometimes I forget to lock my car-I don’t worry about it,” Bolton said. “When you’re in a place that feels a little better, you feel comfortable having your kids and grandkids over more.”