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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Woodlawn Residents Push For Anti-Displacement Ordinance Amid Fears Over Obama Library

The proposed ordinance would provide a property tax freeze for longtime residents of the area around the library, among other things.

Members of the Obama Library Southside CBA Coalition protest in front of Ald. Joe Moore’s 49th Ward office in Rogers Park in April.
Lee Edwards/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Woodlawn residents are pushing for an ordinance they hope can protect their homes as the Obama Presidential Center comes to town.

The effort is being led by the Obama Library Southside CBA Coalition, which has expressed concerns that residents living near the center could be pushed out of the area due to gentrification stemming from the library. Now, they’re asking residents to sign a petition that, if it gets enough signatures, would put a referendum on the February ballot asking if 5th and 20th Ward residents would support an anti-displacement ordinance.

The suggested ordinance would have five provisions:

• 30 percent of new housing would be affordable housing
• There would be a property tax freeze for longtime residents
• Independent monitoring and local hires
• Support for neighborhood schools
• A community trust fund would be established to support the ordinance’s initiatives

“We have a window of opportunity before the next election to protect the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Paru Brown, a member of the coalition. “We’re putting the Obama CBA Anti-Displacement Ordinance on the ballot to pressure the mayoral and aldermanic candidates to do the right thing.”

The Obama Foundation supports policies that help residents stay on the South Side if they wish to and that ensure there is affordable housing in the community, a spokeswoman said.

Residents will gathering 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at 6230 S. Cottage Grove Ave. to rally in support of the proposed ordinance. Afterward, they’ll canvass the area to get signatures for the petition.