PULLMAN — A recently reconstructed road in Pullman is expected to help create 1,700 jobs on the South Side by creating access to new commercial space for private development, officials said Monday.
Gov. Pat Quinn and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) unveiled a reconstructed stretch of Doty Avenue just north of 111th Street and west of the Bishop Ford Expy. The road was partially destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike and has since made access to Pullman Park, a 180-acre development site, extremely difficult, as the road is full of potholes and frequently floods, officials said.
The Doty Avenue reconstruction was funded with $4.6 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, as part of the federal “Ike” Disaster Recovery Program. Doty was raised about 4 feet, and new street lights and sewer and water infrastructure were added. Bike lanes and a bus stop outside the Wal-Mart were installed.
Those government-funded improvements will help Pullman Park thrive, officials said.
“This is the largest tract for redevelopment in the city of Chicago,” Quinn said of Pullman Park. “This is big. This isn’t piddly diddly.”
Construction is under way on the Wal-Mart Super Center, which is slated to open in the summer at 10900 S. Doty Ave. A Ross, Planet Fitness and several small businesses are expected to open at the site in the fall.
Officials estimate Pullman Park development will create 700 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent retail jobs — numbers Beale said could help “decrease the crime in our community.”
“It’s important that folks have an opportunity to work in their community,” Quinn said. “If you’re able-bodied and you’re breathing, we want you working.”
The Pullman Park Wal-Mart Super Center, the city’s first, will feature a grocery store, officials said.
“Unfortunately, right now, this [Pullman] is a food desert, and we’re not going to tolerate that,” Quinn said. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to good food, fresh food.”
New development will also augment the quality of life in Pullman, Beale said.
“Where do we go for lunch? Where do we go for dinner? Just to have a nice night out?” Beale asked. “We have to go outside our community. When you spend a dollar inside our community, it circulates for three to four hours, and it’s gone. Now, when you spend a dollar inside our community, that dollar circulates three to four weeks.”
Local business owner Winfred Walker, who has lived in the area for 13 years, said he couldn’t be happier about the construction.
“Operating a business in this area sometimes can be tough,” Walker said. “I’m excited about the businesses that will develop here … [and] my automobile, my struts, my shocks are thrilled about the reconstruction of Doty Road.”