Hyde Park Kenwood Coalition for Equitable Community Development discuss how development in Woodlawn will affect Hyde Park at annual meeting

Staff Writer

The Hyde Park Kenwood Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD) hosted its annual meeting entitled “What is Happening in Woodlawn? How Will It Affect Hyde Park?” on Saturday, Feb. 3.

The meeting was held at the Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park, 5550 S. Woodlawn Ave., as guest speaker Calvin Holmes, president of the Chicago Community Loan Fund, shared his mission with attendees on the importance of helping stabilize developing communities with an emphasis on preserving affordable housing.

Holmes, president of the fund, discussed his four-point equitable framework platform for Hyde Park and Woodlawn residents.

He said that community residents must first, work with their elected officials of the city to declare the submarket to have a conservationist area, second, Inclusionary Zoning (massive redevelopment plan), third, Property Tax Stabilization Mechanism, and fourth, a Shared Equity Housing platform, which allows the community to work with land banks.

During the meeting, Holmes discussed the impact the Obama Presidential Center could have on the neighborhood and the future of Woodlawn gentrification and population.

Holmes discussed that the proposed Obama Presidential Center Library will help create local jobs in Woodlawn.

Holmes said. “What I heard from key players [from the project] is that the intention is to try and hire local or procure local, or vendor local with a diverse group of business owners, workers and contributors as much as possible.”

Holmes explained the future of Woodlawn’s population and gentrification status.

“We do know today that the Woodlawn population sits at 26,000 people,” said Holmes about the community’s current population growth. “Five years ago it set at about only 24,000 people, so the good news is that the population is increasing in Woodlawn over a five year period at about 12 percent.”

Holmes said in spite of Woodlawn’s population increase, the bad news is that it’s still far below of its peak of 81,000 people populating the community back in 1960. Holmes said that there is much room for additional people and additional growth.

The Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) is a nonprofit, certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides flexible, affordable and responsible financing and technical assistance for community stabilization and development efforts and initiatives that benefit low- to moderate-income neighborhoods, families and individuals throughout metropolitan Chicago.

According to his bio, Holmes served as a President Obama appointee to the Community Development Advisory Board and a board member of the Community and Economic Development Organization in Woodlawn, Washington Park and South Shore.