WOODLAWN — Residents, community members and elected officials participated Thursday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of phase two of The Grant at Woodlawn Park, an affordable housing complex.
Phase two consists of 33 newly built units at 6129 S. Cottage Grove Ave. where the Grove Parc Apartments complex once stood. Former Grove Parc tenants currently occupy 29 units while two market rate units are available, according to Kim Atkins, assistant property manager for The Grant.
Phase one — two family buildings at 6227 and 6230 S. Cottage Grove Ave. — was previously completed and consists of 67 units.
There will be six phases in total, which will include a youth center. Construction for phase three, a senior building, is expected to begin by the end of the year, said Bill Eager, vice president of the Chicago office for the Preservation of Affordable Housing.
"Across the street from The Grant is where phase three will be built, once the vacant buildings are torn down," Eager said.
Phase two has 10 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom units, Atkins said.
Low-income tenants pay 30 percent of their income toward rent, while the monthly cost for market rate units are $700 for a one-bedroom and $911 for a two-bedroom. There are no market rate three-bedroom units, which include two bathrooms at a cost $1,306 per month.
All units come with a stove, refrigerator and hardwood floors. There is also a laundry room and security guard at the three-story building.
Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), whose ward includes the building, pledged to continue working to improve housing choices for the Woodlawn neighborhood.
"Things are getting better around here and I plan to see that it stays that way," Cochran said at the event. "The redevelopment of Grove Parc is a huge victory and this development is changing the entire face of Woodlawn."
One new face at The Grant is Dawn Clark, who previously lived at Grove Parc but is happier now that her new home is ready for her.
"I love my new apartment. The neighborhood provides a good background for my family and I am so excited to be back living in Woodlawn," Clark said.
The creation of affordable housing in Woodlawn was the brainchild of the late Bishop Arthur Brazier, whose son, Rev. Byron Brazier, succeeded him as pastor of Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester Ave.
"My father would have been proud to see this day. He worked tirelessly with community stakeholders to improve housing in Woodlawn and that is part of his legacy as a community leader," Brazier said. "It is a legacy that Apostolic Church of God is continuing on his behalf."
Woodlawn Park was chosen to be one of eight redevelopment projects across the nation to receive a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Amy Anthony, president of the Preservation of Affordable Housing.
“The [$30.5 million] award has expanded and accelerated our Woodlawn plans to go beyond housing and attract other private, philanthropic and public funders eager to be part of a plan that includes upgrading and integrating every aspect of the community,” said Anthony.
“By deconcentrating poverty on the site and replacing the existing Section 8 development with mixed income housing and retail development, we are creating safe and affordable housing for the hard-working families in the Woodlawn community,” she said.