The Chicago Park District and Dowell are proposing a $1.2 million expansion of the small park at 4347 S. Calumet Ave.
Erika Sellke, a Park District project manager, said the city would transfer nearly 2 acres on Calumet just south of the 43rd Street Green Line station. She said the community could decide what amenities it would like to see at the park, including adding an area for dogs, a spray pool for children and a walking path.
“It’s supposed to be a place of fun and gathering and being a kid,” said Cowley-Pendleton, who lives close to the park. Hadiya was killed about a mile and a half east of the site, at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park.
Dowell said she had held off on expanding the park until nuisances around the now-shuttered Calumet Food and Liquors, 315 E. 43rd St., were under control.
Calumet Food and Liquors was closed in late 2012 for building code violations, and the city is in negotiations to purchase the property, according to Essie Banks, a project manager for the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development.
According to Banks, the city is preparing to solicit developers to bring new commercial and residential projects to six lots adjacent to the 43rd Street Green Line station.
“A lot of the economic energy right now is around 22nd Street, Michigan Avenue and State Street,” Dowell said. “We’re trying to connect to that activity in the South Loop.”
The city is still in the process of purchasing the former liquor store and another vacant lot and will issue a request for proposals in about six months, according to Banks.
“I expect this will be the largest redevelopment in Bronzeville in my lifetime,” said Bernard Loyd, the owner of the Forum, a historic social hall in the middle of the proposed project site. “We are looking to work with this process.”
Loyd said he was in favor of the push by the city and that it could help his own plans to renovate the Forum building, which will start with a coffee shop.
“You’ve got a train, what is more natural than a coffee shop right next to it?” Loyd said.
Banks said there are no guidelines yet for what the city will solicit from developers, but said it will likely search for projects that are a mix of retail and residential that can take advantage of the location near the Green Line station.