Community building can be engineered in a variety of different ways. Some involve the actual construction of buildings, renovations, enhancements and others are more connected to development of tradition or creation of events. In this article we look at two recent efforts in the region to build, maintain and strengthen Chicago community.
The first example is what is happening in Vernon Hills with the Hawthorn Mall property. Centennial Real Estate is preparing to begin its $6.2 million revamp of the center court. The goal is to construct a multi-use “central park” environment. This will involve a complete transformation of the area, hopefully in time for the holiday shopping season.
It is hoped that this space will feature: coffee store/wine bar; two treelike sculptures; lounges on upper level and more, resulting in a “sophisticated parklike experience,” that is “interactive, engaging [and suitable] for all ages.”
Uplifting a neighborhood and providing new experiences for the youth and other demographics is another way of building community. A recent example of this is the partnership between the 8000 Euclid block club and My Block My Hood My City. According to 8000 Euclid Block Club Founder and President, Pam Bilal, these organizations can really result in a bolstering of a city. She said:
“In a diverse city like Chicago with a lot of segregation, often times people like to stay in their own little pocket and just take care of themselves. And we want people to understand that it’s not about the little man, it’s about the community. And we want to have a vibrant, exciting, financially stable community. So that’s why we start block clubs.”