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Around Chicago’s Transit Stations, Equitable Communities Take Root

Building EL stops into hubs for racial equity, health + sustainability w/$400K in grants #catalystCHI Tweet This

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What if we could transform our city’s public transit stations into hubs of opportunity and equity?

That’s the commitment of Elevated Chicago, a partnership to create community-based transformations in areas around the city’s train system.

This week Elevated Chicago, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, awarded its first grants to fourteen nonprofit organizations using transit-oriented development as a catalyst for progress and change.

Watch: Joanna Trotter of The Chicago Community Trust and Rosa Ortiz of Enterprise Community Partners introduce the Elevated Chicago partnership.

Elevated Chicago views the half-mile radius around a transit station as an optimal location where arts and culture, urban design, social programs and development can converge to address deeply rooted disparities in racial equity, with a focus on public health and climate resiliency. Seven CTA stations have been identified as priorities for investment and opportunity:

Green Line: Cottage Grove; 55th/Garfield; 51st; Kedzie
Blue Line: Logan Square; Kedzie/Homan
Pink Line: California

Activation Grants: A total of $100,000 in funding has been awarded to nonprofit organizations for projects that will create awareness, public interest and community participation in the Elevated Chicago mission of promoting more equitable, healthy, sustainable and culturally vibrant communities.

  • Beyond This Point Performing Arts Association will present percussion performances and interactive percussive games in and around the Blue Line’s Logan Square station.
  • Black Girls Break Bread will create focused, nuanced programming to promote the social and emotional wellness of black women and girls at all seven transit stations.
  • Latinos Progresando will launch ACTivate Marshall Square: a collaborative, multi-faceted community engagement strategy that includes beautification, movement and creative, conservation-focused activities for children and families that live and work around the Pink Line California station.
  • Openlands will encourage residents to improve their community’s health and climate resiliency by hosting a tree planting within a half mile of the Pink Link California station, and will also provide technical assistance to community-based partners.
  • Safer Foundation will implement a program to train participants as cultural docents and create custom woodworking designs culturally specific to communities near the Blue and Green Lines’ Kedzie stations.
  • University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life will partner with the KLEO Center on two program series that will build a strategic community coalition to activate Garfield Boulevard between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Michigan Avenue, near the Green Line 55th Street station.
  • Urban Juncture Foundation will present a series of planning dinners and unique celebrations to promote equity and wellness among residents who live near the Green Line 51st Street station.

The half-mile radius around a transit station is an optimal location where arts and culture, urban design, social programs and development can converge to address deeply rooted disparities in racial equity.

Capacity-Building Grants: A total of $330,000 has been awarded by Enterprise Community Partners to help community development organizations build their capacity, advance transit-oriented development and carry out affordable housing activities that address the needs of low-income households. These grants are specifically targeted to support the goals of Elevated Chicago.

  • Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and LUCHA will advance affordable housing developments and community engagement around the Blue Line Logan Square station.
  • Garfield Park Community Council and IFF will lead real estate efforts and community engagement activities around the Blue Line Kedzie-Homan Square station and the Green Line Kedzie station.
  • Latinos Progresando will lead community engagement and stakeholder collaboration around the Pink Line California station, and will advance the development of a community center along Cermak Road.
  • Urban Juncture, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Housing Services and BIG: Blacks in Green will advance stakeholder collaboration, housing initiatives and business incubation efforts around the Green Line’s 51st Street, 55th Street and Cottage Grove stations.

Housed at The Chicago Community Trust, the Elevated Chicago partnership is funded by the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), a national initiative calling for cities and regions to find creative solutions in the built environment that produce positive outcomes for racial equity, human health and climate resilience.

With support from SPARCC, Elevated Chicago will work to transform decision-making structures so that low-income residents and people of color strengthen their power and influence, and so that equity values are embedded in the urban development process and in its outcomes.