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The Lawndale Christian Development Corporation is using a $166,000 grant from the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to open a new restaurant that will be built on the ground floor of one of the six commercial areas in the MLK Legacy Apartments. Considering that North Lawndale is largely a food desert, this would give community members healthier eating options and open the door to more businesses.
The restaurant will sit along the 16th Street business district, which is historically a commercial center. Reviving the district will bring in more business that will benefit the local community.
The kitchen is being led by chef Quentin Love, who is well-known for cooking meals that nurture people’s bodies and minds. Community members seem excited about the restaurant’s arrival as it means that more money for the area, which can help fund community gardens, affordable housing, and other resources.
North Lawndale has an incredibly interesting history. The west side community features the MLK Legacy Apartments which were built by Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. The apartments were built at the exact place where Martin Luther King once lived in 1966 while he was fighting against redlining. Inside the building is a museum that fights against housing inequality. Numerous Chicago communities have a similar background, but due to being underfunded, the area’s history is often buried under stories about crime.
Furthermore, any communities similar to North Lawndale have lacked funding for essential community programs. This is why it is so important that the North Lawndale community coordinating council is fighting for street cleanups and public art installations. The progress made could even potentially help other underfunded communities in Chicago.
By restoring underfunded communities, more community members would be able to have access to essential resources including healthy food and jobs. Often, the problem is when investments are made in these communities that the area residents are pushed out to welcome white residents, this is especially true in poor and largely Black Indigenous People of Color communities Considering that North Lawndale’s rebuilding efforts seem to be community-oriented, hopefully, gentrification will not overtake the process.
Written by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Block Club Chicago: Healthy Restaurant Coming To MLK Legacy Apartments In North Lawndale To Boost 16th Street Business District
Featured Image Courtesy of UIC Library Digital Collections’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of nasemeers’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License