Logan Square: “Small Town Neighborhood Feel + Affordable Rent”

La Boulangerie (Milwaukee and Logan)

La Boulangerie (Milwaukee and Logan)

During the last couple of weeks I’ve been in touch with a couple of residents of the Logan Square neighborhood and in gathering my list of sources, I wanted to get a diverse group of voices which could speak to the ever changing landscape of the neighborhood. In order to gain a better sense of the good and the bad that comes with gentrification.

One of these voices is Caitlin Berg, a 33 year-old recent college grad who moved to Logan Square just a little over a year ago after having lived 5 years in the Lincoln Square neighborrhood.

Berg originally from Minnesota says she moved to Logan Square because of “how affordable rent is compared to other neighborhoods in the city.”

“After my lease ended in March 2012, I needed to find an apartment that allowed me to both live comfortably while at the same time leave a little extra money in my pocket to start paying off my college loans.”

“I love that Logan Square has that small town neighborhood feel right in the middle of the city, with cute little shops and bars such as ‘La Boulangerie’ which offers fresh baked French bread and Azucar Tapas a small little Tapas bar on Kedzie which is always full of locals.”

Berg says, that after her lease ended in March of 2012, she searched and searched in the Lincoln Square neighborhood and could not find anything within her price range.

She mentions, she had never imagined rent prices would be so high for a one bedroom apartment given she’d previously shared an apartment with three of her friends.

Berg says, she had heard a million different opinions as to whether or not she should move to Logan Square. However, she decided to take the plunge and experience things on her own after she set her eyes on a vintage 1 bedroom apartment on Schubert and Richmond.

“I love every minute so far that I’ve spent here. Location is great, the ‘El’ is near by. There are a ton of restaurants along Milwaukee and best of I am saving at least $300 per month on rent.”

It seems that for newly established residents of Logan Square such Berg, gentrification has actually made it much easier for them to make the decision to live in Logan Square. Offering new residents an array of new businesses that only keep growing and growing.

Now, I am looking to hear what it’s like for long time residents of the area. How have these changes and new businesses affected their way of live?

Stay tuned,as we explore the two side of gentrification within the Logan Square neighborhood.

Gentrification: Changing the Face of Logan Square and Wicker Park

Wicker Park

Wicker Park

For my final story I’m looking to take a dive into the topic of gentrification and the impact its had on the Wicker Park and Logan Square communities during the last decade.

This topic is particularly interesting to me, given that I’ve grown up around these areas and have seen them transform before my eyes in a matter of years.

Logan Square is a neighborhood that I grew up in and in a matter of 5 or 6 years it has been slowly experiencing change evident through the new faces in the neighborhood, new restaurants, boutiques, and demographics in general.

There are a couple of streets which clearly reflect the changes taking place in Logan Square, such as the intersection of Kedzie and Milwaukee. At this intersection, Kedzie has become populated with small trendy restaurants, including a tapas bar/lounge whose atmosphere and look is reminiscent of those in Wicker Park.

As far as Wicker Park goes, the neighborhood has become inhabited with a ton of trendy and many times pricy boutiques which reflect the income levels and changing demographics of the area. Wicker Park has transformed from a high crime neighborhood into a neighborhood full of pricy shops, real-estate, and an abundant amount of restaurants and bars.

However, although all may seem great from the outside, in conducting my research and interviews for this story I am looking to see what the impact of these changes are on the longtime residents of the area and am looking to figure out how these communities deal with these changes.

Ryerson Elementary School Closing: Violence and Student Safety Concerns

Ryerson Elementary School C/O L.A. Times

Ryerson Elementary School Photo/ L.A. Times

As the date approaches for the 54 schools on the list of CPS schools closing this upcoming 2013-2014 school year, parents, teachers, students and communities at large prepare to take on the many changes that come with the closing of these schools.

Parents like those of Ryerson Elementary School, located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the northwest side of the city, who are fighting to try and keep their children’s schools open.

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CPS School Closings: City’s West Side

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Yesterday, I took the opportunity to attend an open hearing at the CPS offices for the Ryerson Elementary School, which is on the list of possible school closings to take place during the Fall of 2013. Ryerson a school located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the west side of the city, is 1of 4 schools on the infamous list of school closings.

The hearing discussed the city’s rational behind the closing of Ryerson, putting forth that the reason the school was to be closes was that it didn’t meet “enrollment efficiency”, meaning that the school was “under utilized” given it has a capacity of “900 students and 30 classrooms” and is only enrolling to date “399 students”.

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CPS School Closings: Student Safety Concerns

CPS

CPS

A common theme I noticed came across most stories discussing the CPS school closings is that of parents concern for their children’s safety. DNAinfo wrote a piece called CPS School Closings: ‘I Am Completely Disgusted’ which really caught my attention given it speaks to outrage that exists in the communities affected by these closings. Many of the parents quoted in this story claim a main concern for them in regards to the closing of their children’s schools is that of how far they’ll have to walk  to get to school. Particularly, in neighborhoods with high crime rates in which gangs and violence are just around the corner.

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Humboldt Park School Closings and Wicker Park Gentrification and Parking

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In conducting my research on the news coverage of the northwest Chicago neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown/ Wicker Park and Humboldt Park, there are a couple of story ideas that came to mind.

One of these story ideas is that of the public school closings taking place in Humboldt Park. This story idea came to me after reading a couple of the articles published by DNAinfo on the subject. The first news story that caught my eye was a story called “CPS Closings: Public Meetings Set for Humboldt Park Schools”, this story discussed public meetings being held by the city which aim to give members of Humboldt Park neighborhood a second chance at trying to save their neighborhood schools.

This story immediately caught my attention given that one of the schools listed in the story Ana Roque de Duprey, is a school to which I attended during my first years of school. I remember the school very vividly and can definitely attest that it played a huge role in the development of my Spanish language skills my overall interest in my education.

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