Logan Square is changing at hyper-speed and everyone from aldermen to residents, bartenders to businessmen have an idea of what it will become.
What It Has Been
Hipster enclave. Latino community. Eastern European refuge. Chicago Fire escape. German and Scandinavian haven. Ex-New Yorker Martin Kimbell’s 1836 farm.
Logan Square has been all of these things.
Diversity in this neighborhood is as old as the soil. But you only have to look around to see the changes that are happening at a rapid pace. At LoganSquarist, we know how much can happen in a short amount of time; this year we celebrated turning five years young.
So what will Logan Square look like in five years? I asked area leaders, businesses and citizens what they think it will become.
What It Will Be
“We can hardly remember what Logan Square looked like 10 years ago, when we first opened our doors here at Wolfbait & B-girls. It’s like an old sepia tone photo; we didn’t have cell phones, or anything to lose.
Now, looking ahead, anything seems possible.”Jenny Stadler & Shirley Kienitz, co-owners of Wolfbait & B-girls
“It’ll be like Wicker Park 10 years ago. People have done a good job campaigning around here for grassroots projects – going door to door, definitely a more tightly knit community. I don’t know if it’s staying like that …”Jonathan, muralist at 2160 N. Milwaukee Ave.
“In five years … I hope it doesn’t become Wicker Park, there’s so much individuality in this neighborhood I would hate to see go away.”Sabrina Heart, G-Mart Comics
We Are Idealists
“Logan Square will be a dynamic neighborhood and creative hub that embraces a hyper-local, community-centered lifestyle with a population of mixed ages/occupations/cultures.”Whitney Richardson, Logan Square Farmers Market Manager
“I want to answer this as someone who has lived in the same apartment in Logan Square for almost nine years.
My hope is to see this community continue to grow and be shaped by it’s already strong and beautiful foundations … with neighbors who support one another, maintenance of its natural beauty, events that are inspired by important topics, and preserving its originality from becoming too ‘corporate.'”Rhiannon Kirby, yoga instructor/studio manager at Tula Yoga
“We’re really excited about the Bicentennial Improvements Project and hope that in five years, we’re all enjoying a beautiful green space in the heart of the neighborhood.”Jason Normann, co-owner, Reno
“I think one of the things we’ll be investing in in the next five years is schools, open spaces and development. But …”32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack
Ald. Waguespack, continued
“… we want to make sure this is done in collaboration with the community. That all changes to places are open and the cultural aspects that make Logan unique and diverse—art and music—are preserved and the ‘character and diversity is not lost.'”32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack
“I would hope that development will enhance the experience of living here and not drive out local businesses. Andersonville is a great model. Local businesses there worked to minimize the number of chains in the neighborhood.”Teresa, owner of City Lit Books, 25-year Logan Square resident
“My fear is that the crazy train of socioeconomic homogenization will continue, and Logan Square will be a place of cultural anemia.
My hope is that some key interventions will take place to prove that this city of neighborhoods needn’t be defined by barriers but by preservation and inclusion.”Christy Prahl, board director, Dill Pickle Food Co-op
“I hope to still be able to afford to live in Logan Square in five years.”Sean Shatto, secretary and board director, Dill Pickle Food Co-op
“Since I’m a new business here, I’m kind of lonely right now so I’m looking forward to seeing other businesses come into these locations. But I’m also worried about the price of living—I got kicked out of my apartment [because] rent got so high. Even with my business, I’m hoping that the rent won’t go up so I can stay here.”Jaime Knight, owner, Blue Jay Way
“You can’t have it all. You can’t have a really cheap rent and all those awesome places. We’ve got a find a happy medium.”Katelyn, Shop 1021
We Are Stronger Together
“What do we want? Affordable housing! When do we want it? Right now! Fight! Fight! Fight! Housing is a human right!”We Are/Somos Logan Square protest from Palmer Square Park to the Logan Theatre
“As both a business owner and resident, I know that the neighborhood community has a long-flowering activist spirit … But I know also that gentrification and transit-oriented development will have a huge impact on the neighborhood’s density.
It’s up to all of us to continue to care and contribute, do the hard work, and make sure our opinions and voices are heard.”Peter Toalson, co-owner of Longman & Eagle, Lost Lake and Parson’s
“I would love LS to become the mecca for young budding artists since I see so many young people in the neighborhood. I have lived here since 1989 and the changes I have seen are amazing.”Bonnie L. Braverman, Everyblock
“I’ve lived in a DIY space for eight years—my friends owned Wally’s World. Now everything’s changing and I’m just waiting for our house to be bought out and people to come knocking at our door.”Christina, bartender at The Owl
“In the next five years, I see Logan Square, in particular Milwaukee Avenue, being known as one of the premiere entertainment districts in the country.”David Halpern, managing partner at Four Entertainment Group (aliveOne, Estelle’s, Easy Bar and The Owl)
“I’d most like to see business development expand out from the core of Milwaukee Avenue to some of the other streets such as Fullerton and Western.”James R. Conley, Everyblock
“The many, many new bars and restaurants opening on Milwaukee seem to indicate it will become an area of heavy drinking and partying.”Fuarain, Everyblock
“We’ve seen a lot of development. Especially being one of the first independent businesses that is not a bar. Sometimes after you drink you want to … see art or shop?”Billy Craven, co-owner Galerie F
“I hope that current and future Logan Square residents will create environment of community, respect and connection. Just like Logan Square’s diverse and exciting restaurant scene, the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives will create a neighborhood that anyone would want to visit or call home.”26th Ward Ald. Roberto Maldonado
Let’s Not Forget
“Neighborhoods go in cycles. Uptown in the ’30s and ’40s used to be as hot as Wicker. Wrigleyville used to be like Logan back in the ’80s. Logan looks to be heading the way of Wicker circa 1998. Old Town was the Logan of the early ’60s.
But eventually, everyone ends up getting married, then pregnant and then moving to Naperville. Then their kids move back.”Jerry Cargill, Everyblock
Photographer, Teacher, Milwaukee Avenue resident
“In my opinion, it’s getting a lot better. When I was a kid, I couldn’t just walk down the street. I grew up on Kedzie and Lyndale. My dad still lives there and owns his house. Logan Square will always be Logan Square.”
James:Monica Gonzalez & James Meurer, Your Pets Wellness
“When I moved here, there was never any, ‘He’s a white guy from the suburbs.’ I had a relationship with the Casa Puertorriqueña. There is a community here.”
“Will we be a creative hub or a drinking hub?
I think we are late to the party on the conversation.
My perspective living in Logan Square since 2003, raising my family here, being an artist, being a female business owner. People aren’t talking about the fact that most residents don’t have the financial capital to open their own businesses in this neighborhood. They don’t have access to being homeowners. Now outside development is at an accelerated pace. These transient, overpriced developments are for people who aren’t working in the neighborhood, who aren’t invested in the community.
There’s no real commerce in Logan Square. You can’t buy a dress that’s affordable. You can eat and get wasted. There has to be something between the dollar store and a $1,000 pair of pants.”Lindsey Meyers, artist/gallery owner/curator, Beauty and Brawn Art Gallery and Think Space
Meyers clarified that newer residents in the neighborhood were late to the conversation about the changes in Logan Square.
We Can Always Dream
“I want it to be tropical.”MillieNeon, Everyblock
LoganSquarist: How long have you been here?
Raul: 25 years.
LS: What do you think it will be like in the next five?Raul, owner and manager of El Condor
R: I hope there is more parking.
At the End of the Day
“It’s a great neighborhood. It doesn’t matter the ethnicity, it’s a great neighborhood and will always be a great neighborhood. I have great people in my place and I can’t say what will happen in future, I can’t say what will happen tomorrow, but I love this place.”Maria Jaimes, owner of Whirlaway Lounge
Then she gave me a drink on the house.
What do you foresee for Logan Square in the next five years? Add your comment below!