Back when the “606” Bloomingdale Trail was still in development, the Trust for Public Land deemed that the new public space and walking trail would “bring economic development” to the surrounding communities. And that has definitely happened.
1750 N. Western Ave, the new 127-unit apartment building, is set to open next year and will connect directly to the 606 trail. Along with shops or restaurants moving into the building’s retail space, the new property is likely to bring higher rent costs to the area.
Further, Bernadette Ray and RedCo Realty bought a 100-year old bungalow in Logan Square in February of 2016. The building was nice; old and cramped, but still had plenty of potential. Ray and her company paid just $130,000 for the home. Just eight months later, they flipped it for $350,000.
While stories like these are common in Logan Square, they are even more apparent for those living along the walking trail.
“The market here is extremely hot since the 606 was built and I think we need to slow it down so we can allow for economic diversity,” Alderman Roberto Maldanado (26th Ward) said in a press release.
To combat this, Maldanado and 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno co-sponsored a program from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help long-time residents stay in their homes.
The 606 Bloomingdale Trail Neighborhood Home Improvement Program awards up to $25,000 to longtime homeowners in the area to help cover upkeep and repair costs to properties. The reason the grant specifically covers repairs and upkeep? To ward of vulturing real estate groups.
Rather than take cash the realtors throw at them, “Replacing the roof or porch makes the home less of a target for low-ball buyers who will tear them down,” said Maldanado.
Masonry repair, porch and roof improvements, tuck-pointing, door and window repairs, and other exterior upgrades are all covered under the grant. Further, 30 percent of each grant can be used to repair interior health and safety hazards including plumbing or electrical systems.
To qualify for the grant, applicants’ properties must be located within an area bounded by Pulaski, California, LeMoyne and Dickens Avenues. Those applicants must have been residents of the properties for at least three years, and earn up to 120 percent of the area median income, or approximately $94,800 for a family of four.
The program is a two-year pilot, using $1 million from the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund.
“Long-time residents have been part of making the ward a better place to live,” Maldanado said. They have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor instead of being forced out now.”
Applications are currently available at each ward office. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.