Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Farewell for Now

Well, dear readers, it's no secret I haven't been able to keep up with this blog since my son was born. At this point, I think it's best to call a halt to the Tattler and start up again when he's older.

Interestingly, we're at a narrative stopping point, too. It's a sad ending. The house next door where Dawn and Joey used to live is now for sale. Their parents lost it to foreclosure back in June. Dawn and her baby, and her boyfriend are all living with her father in Little Village. Joey was bouncing back and forth between his mom and dad, mostly with his mom through the school year. The good news for Joey is he did graduate from 8th grade at Chavez. I was able to see him at the Reading Fair where he had a presentation on Al Capone, and at graduation. I don't know what he is going to do for high school. I advised him to try to get into the Multicultral Arts School at Little Village High School if he is living in the attendance area.

Their mom was here in the house until the bitter end. At first I heard she was renting from School Lady but Peter Pan's mom told me she isn't. I don't know where she is now. I have Dawn's number but honestly I have enough on my own plate at the moment and have not been tempted to call. Dawn and her mother gave us a bunch of Angel's old toys--they are in a stack in the basement, waiting for me to wash them off (they're pretty dusty).

For years, Dawn's father had been promising to put up a fence on the border between their house and ours. He never got around to it. When it became clear the bank would take the house, he took down the lovely wrought-iron fence in front he had welded himself. So we were right back to people sitting on the underlying bricks, hanging out and drinking. (I think nobody was dealing drugs this time, but probably that was going on too, and I just missed it.) Dawn tried to get me to hire her dad to fence between the two houses, but I hired through Isabel's brother-in-law instead. I wanted to be sure the job got done. Now there's a tall, black, iron fence where Angel used to play. But now I feel safer.

Back of the Yards Retail Study--Food Oasis, Growing Middle Income Families

The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council and LISC/Metro Edge recently released a retail scan of the neighborhood, highlights of which you can see here.

Some info that jumped out at me:
Our neighborhood attracts folks from other nearby communities, who come here to shop for groceries and furniture. I've seen that on the Ashland bus--people come up from Englewood to shop here, so the southbound bus gets fuller at 47th Street. (The study says general merchandise but I would say more specifically clothing is also popular, thanks to the Burlington Coat Factory outlet at 47th and Damen.)

Swap-O-Rama is a big retail draw. No duh, but still, it's important to point that out as an asset to the neighborhood. The flea market also employs neighborhood residents, many of whom would have trouble getting traditional jobs.

Our neighborhood has held on to its population, has more young people than the city average, and has seen its share of households earning more than $50,000/yr. rise by over 20 percent since 2000. Today, nearly a quarter of neighborhood households are bringing home that much money annually. This is all good news that might surprise some people.

We don't have enough appliance and electronics stores to meet demand. Famsa made a smart choice by putting a store in the old Goldblatt's building. Although Famsa is primarily a furniture store, they also sell appliances and electronics. According to the data, a Best Buy or Abt would do well to set up shop here.

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