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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

You Can Help Shape South Shore’s Future At Saturday’s Neighborhood Summit

Residents can join local politicians, developers and other community leaders Saturday morning to plan a path forward for the lakefront neighborhood.

From left: Broadcaster Richard Steele, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative president Ghian Foreman, artist Theaster Gates, DL3 Realty managing partner Leon Walker and Avalon Regal Theater owner Jerald Gary chat during a panel discussion at the 2019 South Shore Works annual summit.
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SOUTH SHORE — South Shore residents can discuss the issues facing their community at a neighborhood summit this weekend.

The fifth South Shore community summit is 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday at Adam Clayton Powell Paideia Academy, 7511 S. South Shore Drive. Click here to register.

The summit, held under the tagline “Shore, You’re Right,” will feature breakout sessions and discussions on economic development, public safety, housing, culture and health in the neighborhood.

“We like to be the people who define the things going on in our own community,” said Carol Adams, founder of event organizer South Shore Works.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, state Sen. Robert Peters, state Reps. Curtis Tarver and Kam Buckner and Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th), Greg Mitchell (7th) and Michelle Harris (8th) will be on hand.

Attendees will present demands and concerns to the elected officials, giving them “a chance to respond to the things we’re asking for,” Adams said.

Representatives for the South Shore Chamber, the Obama Presidential Center, the Regal Mile Studios development, the Invest South/West development at 79th Street and Exchange Avenue, a proposed theater at 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard and a new 71st Street yoga studio will participate in a panel discussion at the summit.

Historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas will give a talk on South Shore’s past and present to kick off the day, while Chicago Family Health Centers will offer on-site coronavirus vaccinations. South Shore’s ZIP Code, 60649, has the third-lowest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Chicago at 49.9 percent as of Sunday.

South Shore Works organizers will also give updates on a nearly complete neighborhood quality of life plan that’s expected to be released next month, Adams said.

This year’s South Shore summit is the first held in person since 2019, after it was canceled the last two years due to the pandemic.

South Shore is a complex neighborhood, said Don Rashid, South Shore Works member. Its lakefront location and wealth of attractions, including golf courses and beaches, coincide with high eviction rates, economic inequality and decades of disinvestment, he said.

The summit gives residents an opportunity to share their perspectives with local leaders as they work to tackle those contradictions, Rashid said.

“We’re trying to address those disparities [and] work for solutions to make it a viable, progressive, vital community for all its residents,” he said. “We want to address the things that plague it like the commercial disinvestment, … destructive public policy and a lack of development in the community.”

Neighborhood improvement is “a collective effort — we can’t do it alone,” Rashid said. The summit “ferrets out ideas and concepts; it brings them to our government leaders, and we bring them all together in a big stew to work the problems out.”

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