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Dunning Is One of Most Walkable, Affordable Areas in U.S.: Analysis

By Heather Cherone | January 28, 2016 5:32am
 Dunning includes one of the the most walkable and affordable neighborhoods — with access to top-notch schools — in the nation, according to an analysis by real estate data firm Redfin.
Dunning includes one of the the most walkable and affordable neighborhoods — with access to top-notch schools — in the nation, according to an analysis by real estate data firm Redfin.
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Redfin

DUNNING — Dunning includes one of the most walkable and affordable neighborhoods — with access to top-notch schools — in the nation, according to an analysis by real estate data firm Redfin.

Schorsch Village, bounded by Harlem Avenue on the west, Narragansett Avenue on the east, Addison Street to the north and Belmont Avenue to the south, is among just 14 percent of neighborhoods nationwide that manage to be at once affordably priced, walkable and near decent schools, according to according to the analysis.

The analysis examined 170 neighborhoods in 20 cities, comparing home sales and income data with rankings from the organizations Walk Score and GreatSchools, Redfin said.

The area's desirability is no shock to Realtor Rose Dante, who grew up in the area and is now raising her family there, like many of her neighbors.

"People definitely want to live where they can get a good deal, send their kids to a good school and walk to shops and restaurants," Dante said. "Dunning — and Schorsch Village has all that."

Ranked 24th in the nation, Schorsch Village is an example of why the most attractive neighborhoods to home buyers have a mix of housing at different prices, according to the analysis.

One other Chicago neighborhood made the list — the Fulton River District on the Near West Side.

Seven of the neighborhoods were in Seattle, including the top-ranked University District area around the University of Washington.

More people in recent years are looking for homes that are close to shops, restaurants — and public transportation, Dante said.

"That has definitely been a shift I have seen over the years," Dante said.

Younger homebuyers prefer walking to driving, according to a survey released in July by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.

Dunning not only offers a commercial district along Harlem Avenue that is full of shops and restaurants but also top-rated — although crowded — schools as well as recreation programs at Shabbona and Hiawatha parks, Dante said.

The area is also among the safest in the city, according to data complied by the Chicago Police Department.

"People are looking for a little bit more from our neighborhood, and they are working to bring it here," Dante said. "They aren't moving away."

However, the one thing the neighborhood lacks is a high school, Dante said.

While Taft High School is rated among the best neighborhood high schools in the city, it is also the most crowded in the city. Steinmetz College Prep High School in Belmont Cragin, not rated as highly as Taft, is not considered an option by many Dunning parents, Dante said.

Last year, the Chicago City Council extended the Dunning Tax Increment Financing district, which could help pay for a proposed new high school near Oak Park Avenue and Irving Park Road in the heart of Dunning that would relieve overcrowding at Taft.

But that proposal — which has been floating around for years without concrete plans — could be stymied by concerns that construction could disturb a long-forgotten cemetery that holds the remains of Chicago's poorest and sickest residents who died between 1890 and 1912.

"A high school is the one thing we really need," Dante said.

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