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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Icy Sidewalks Cleared At Redeveloped Part Of Lathrop Homes, But Not The Low-Income Side, Residents Say

"We're in total abject neglect over here," said James Bruce King, who protested on the site Friday.

James Bruce King, 70, resident of the CHA building on the south end of the Lathrop Homes campus, is fed up with the icy sidewalks.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — Socioeconomic inequity is playing out at Lathrop Homes, at least according to the low-income seniors who live on campus.

The north end of Lathrop Homes, a portion that was recently redeveloped, was cleared of ice and snow after the recent snowfall, but the south end, where low-income seniors live, was not — and those seniors are fed up.

Resident James Bruce King stood out on the corner of Diversey Avenue and Leavitt Street Friday morning with a handmade sign decrying the icy sidewalks.

Hours later, after Block Club Chicago made calls Friday asking about the disparity, a worker was seen clearing the snow. The CHA later said the sidewalks were cleared.

King, 70, said he’s having trouble getting to the pharmacy to get the medication he needs for his many health problems because the sidewalk surrounding the bus stop is covered in ice and snow.

“We’re in total abject neglect over here. Nobody cares about anybody over here,” King said.

Guillermina Cotto, 79, another resident of the building, said many of her neighbors are being forced to walk in the middle of the street to avoid the icy sidewalks, which can be even more dangerous.

“Everybody has the same trouble,” Cotto said.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
Seniors are being forced to walk in the middle of the street because of the icy sidewalks.
Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
The south side of Diversey Avenue.

Lathrop Homes was once the largest public housing project on the North Side but is now on its way to becoming a mixed-income community.

Much of the north end has been redeveloped. The south end, behind the boarded-up buildings that have yet to be redeveloped, is where King and Cotto live, in a CHA building that houses low-income seniors.

The building is managed by Hispanic Housing Development Corp., but it sits on Lathrop Homes’ campus.

Paul Sajovec, chief of staff for Ald. Scott Waguespack, whose 32nd Ward includes Lathrop Homes, said the property, and its sidewalks, are the responsibility of the development team redeveloping the site.

“Their lease covers the entire Lathrop property, so we have no reason to believe that they are not responsible for all of the sidewalks,” Sajovec said in an email, referring to Related Midwest, the lead developer.

Sajovec said his office was notified of the issue and has reached out to Related Midwest to fix it.

But Kiera Ellis, a spokeswoman for Related Midwest, said the sidewalks in question are the responsibility of the CHA — not Related Midwest. Ellis said Related Midwest has asked the CHA to clear the sidewalks.

The CHA said it cleared the sidewalks Friday.

“CHA takes the safety of its residents and the surrounding community very seriously, and we will remain vigilant about keeping the sidewalks clear,” CHA spokesman Matthew Aguilar said.

According to the seniors, the south side of Diversey Avenue was the biggest problem because many of them take the Diversey bus eastbound. Leavitt Street is also icy.

“It’s too slippery,” said one woman who identified herself only as Betty. “People with the walkers struggle a lot.”

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Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
The north side of Diversey Avenue, the portion that was redeveloped, was completely cleared of ice and snow.