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In The Washington Park Neighborhood

Targeted Investments, Proactive City Inspections Bring Positive Changes To Area Near Washington Park

A Targeted Investment Neighborhood (TIN) program is helping to bring about substantial housing improvements to a busy west side area, Ald. Murphy said.

The new Washington Park West TIN runs from W. North Avenue to W. Lloyd Street, from the Stadium Freeway (Hwy. 41 spur) to N. 51st St.

Ald. Murphy – working cooperatively with Common Council President and 15th District Ald. Willie L. Hines, Jr. – encouraged the city to create the TIN in an effort to help make improvements to owner-occupied and rental properties in the area. A study of the area showed that the densely populated residential blocks are home to a mostly young (43% of residents are 17 or under), mostly low-income (59% of households have income of $25,000 or less), unemployed (48.5% are unemployed) and renter (only 36% of homes are owner-occupied) population, said Ald. Murphy.

"Our TIN program has proven to be very effective in helping people make substantive and noticeable improvements to their properties, and that, in turn, has helped to boost property values and restore a sense of vitality to many neighborhoods in the city," said Ald. Murphy. "This TIN is already bringing valuable resources to a neighborhood that includes many beautiful homes that are in need of some attention and work."

So far the TIN's 15 funded projects include:

  • A large mixed-use development at W. North Ave. and W. Lisbon Ave. The partially-funded project includes commercial space on the building's ground floor and residential units on the second floor.
  • Rehabbing and refurbishing apartments in the 4700 block of W. Lisbon Ave.
  • Working with the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association on building a new home on a lot the association owns at the intersection of N. 51st and W. Garfield.

TINs are comprehensive three-year revitalization strategies that cluster home improvement resources and other city services in a small, concentrated target area. TINs provide homeowners and owners of rental properties with funds – in the form of combined low interest (0-3%) and forgivable loans – to update and repair their properties and abate code violations. TINs help neighborhoods reduce crime and blight not only through physical improvements, but also through encouraging block watches and addressing problem properties.

Resident Tim McElhatton of the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, who has played an active role in the development of the new TIN, is optimistic that the project will bear fruit in encouraging more rehabilitation of housing stock. "The Washington Heights Neighborhood Association is energetically working with the city and owners of the properties in the targeted area to make the Washington Park West TIN as successful as our joint effort on a previous TIN," McElhatton said.

The Washington Park West TIN includes a proactive inspection regimen from the Department of Neighborhood Services and the involvement of many other city departments to ensure its success, said Ald. Murphy. "We are making sure that the money is being well-spent and that the neighbors know that the city is an active and involved partner with them in helping to improve the neighborhood," Ald. Murphy said.

For more information on how to participate, call the city Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation at 286-5618.