HYDE PARK — South Shore is in the running for neighborhood of the year.
The south lakefront neighborhood, more often in the news for its long slog in finding a replacement for Dominick’s, is competing against three other communities for the best neighborhood program for a garden at 75th and Coles.
“The reason I did this is just for positive recognition of South Shore,” said Mary Steenson, who entered the neighborhood in the Neighborhoods USA competition. “There is just so much positive stuff going on, but it is under the radar.”
Neighborhoods USA is a national group advocating for community-based projects to help neighborhoods. Its annual conference honors the top three projects of the year.
South Shore is competing with a garden started in 2010 that has now grown to occupy all four corners of 75th and Coles.
“We started with plastic bags picking up trash and realized it really wasn’t enough,” Steenson said.
The garden started on one vacant lot as a joint project with the Grand Crossing Police District and has grown to four lots that include murals, a peace pole and a large communal table made from materials salvaged from the former South Shore High School.
“After I saw the entrants for Neighborhood of the Year last year, I thought we were doing something just as interesting, so I applied,” Steenson said.
Steenson said she is competing against her sister’s neighborhood in Tacoma, Wash., though the competition appeared friendly as the two enjoyed a drink together Tuesday at Navy Pier for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
The winner will be announced at the Neighborhoods USA annual conference in Eugene, Ore., in May.