Collaboration bring new jobs and businesses to South Side


Gordon Walek

Collaboration bring new jobs and businesses to South Side

By Metro Reporter

A new partnership will use multimillion-dollar donations to stimulate economic development and bring jobs and businesses to South Side neighborhoods according to a Nov. 3 city press release. 

The Southwest Corridor Collaborative benefits the Auburn Gresham, Englewood and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods, the press release added.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago are partnering with the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Southwest Organizing Project and Teamwork Englewood to reestablish key sections of the corridor and create cross-community commercial centers, according to the press release. 

Ashleigh Wayland, communications officer at LISC, said the partnership will produce community-driven strategies by creating new businesses jobs to South Side residents and community members throughout the area.

A lot of these corridors were once very vibrant, and they will be again,” Wayland said. “We will bring transit and employment opportunities to the neighborhoods.”

She added the partnership will make South Side neighborhoods accessible communities, which will help leverage investments in real estate, housing and local small businesses.

“It’s about quality of life in the neighborhoods and ensuring these neighborhoods are seeing what [people in the community] want there,” Wayland added. 

LISC is the organization responsible for funding the partnership. Its commitment to the SWCC includes supporting the partnership with $500,000 to help pay for the building and support for the neighborhood partner organizations. LISC will also be funding an additional $50 million over the next 10 years for investments in real estate and local neighborhood businesses, according to the press release. 

Carlos Nelson, CEO and executive director of The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, said the partnership will create jobs in fields such as health services, education, and provisions of healthy living in the neighborhoods. 

Nelson said that the initiative will catalyze development on three commercial corridors on the South Side, which are located on West 63rd, West 79th, and Halsted streets. 

“This is all about community development and getting outside resources to implement strategies that the residents in the community have asked for,” Nelson said.

Jasmine Serrano, youth organizer at the The Southwest Organizing Project who has lived on the South Side her entire life, said the partnership is an opportunity to humanize the community, and she’s excited to see this collaborative take action to better the neighborhoods.

“There’s real people here, who have real interest and really want to do things,” she said. “This is a long time coming.”

Serrano said that the partnership will give hope to the residents and members of the community.

“Success doesn’t have to mean you leave your community and then you go on to something better,” she said. “Your ‘something better’ can be your community. It’s a really beautiful and inspiring thing seeing people putting their best effort into making that a reality for the families that live in this area.”