WBEZ | Highland Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/highland-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rents may be going up, but residents say they're not going anywhere http://www.wbez.org/news/rents-may-be-going-residents-say-theyre-not-going-anywhere-111269 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Land-trust-2.png" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="(from right) Arturo Chavez and his roommate, Jorge Herrera, share an apartment for $700 a month in Albany Park. A new building owner is evicting them to convert the units into upscale rentals." />There&rsquo;s a fight brewing in Albany Park over who gets to live there.</p><p>Arturo Chavez would like to stay in the North Side neighborhood, where he&rsquo;s lived for roughly three years &mdash; but that seems increasingly unlikely.</p><p>&ldquo;I go around in a car, looking for places,&rdquo; he says, speaking in Spanish. &ldquo;I see ads, and I call the numbers. Some places were being remodeled. I was told they were going to rent it, but later they told me they had already leased it to family members.&rdquo;</p><p>Chavez is one of the few remaining tenants of 3001 W Lawrence Avenue, a courtyard apartment building with 32 units. In August, new owners bought the building and notified its tenants that they were all to be evicted. The plan is to gut rehab the units and turn them into upscale rentals.</p><p>Inside, ceiling pipes have started to leak and parts of the walls are falling off. Chavez, a car mechanic who has been fighting for workers compensation since he was injured last year on the job, knows he&rsquo;ll have to leave soon. But he says he hasn&rsquo;t been able to find another place nearby that comes close to the $700 monthly rent he pays now.</p><p>&ldquo;The rents are too high and that means people are being separated and they&rsquo;re moving to areas farther away,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Antonio Gutierrez, an organizer with the community group Centro Autonomo in Albany Park, says scores of low-income Albany Park residents have been pushed out in recent years. Just like Chavez, they&rsquo;ve been unable to keep up with the rising rents and property values in some areas.</p><p>&ldquo;I would say about 40 percent of them, they ended up having to leave Albany Park and having to move outside the city to suburbs,&rdquo; said Gutierrez.</p><p>Between 2011 and 2013, the median home price in Albany Park rose almost 40 percent. Gutierrez says after the recession, speculators flocked back to the neighborhood, buying foreclosed homes and driving up property values.</p><p>So last year, Centro Autonomo decided to try a creative idea to bolster affordable properties in the neighborhood: it created a &ldquo;community land trust&rdquo; called Casas del Pueblo. The land trust is a non-profit entity that will acquire properties in the neighborhood, then rent them out.</p><p>&ldquo;(The rent) would just be the taxes for the property, the insurance for the property and a maintenance fee,&rdquo; Gutierrez explained. &ldquo;And they can stay there for as long as they want.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Albany-Park-Median-Home-Sales-Price-Median-Sales-Price_chartbuilder.png" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>The concept of community land trusts is not new to the Chicago area. Gutierrez&rsquo;s variety is a slight twist on something that&rsquo;s been tried before, just a few miles south, in West Humboldt Park.</p><p>There, three, red brick single family homes sit on a residential street next to the noisy Union Pacific rail line.</p><p>&ldquo;The homeowners say the walls were built in a way it&rsquo;s not really bothersome,&rdquo; said William Howard, former Executive Director of the West Humboldt Park Development Council.</p><p>Under Howard, the Council created the First Community Land Trust of Chicago, also a non-profit, in 2003. He said residents at that time were worried their neighborhood might become unaffordable. With the alderman&rsquo;s support, the land trust bought city property for $1 and built the 3-bedroom homes.</p><p>&ldquo;Were it not for these spots, the gentrification would have just swamped everybody,&rdquo; said Howard. &ldquo;A lot of people would have moved out.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Land-trust.png" title="William Howard led the establishment of the first community land trust in Chicago in 2003. It built three, single-family homes that remain affordable, though the recession halted its expansion. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p>Howard&rsquo;s land trust follows a more conventional model than the one in Albany Park.</p><p>Instead of renting the homes, it offered them for sale.</p><p>&ldquo;The land trust owns this land in perpetuity,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;And then we get the homeowners, and the homeowners own the house.&rdquo;</p><p>Howard said three things keep land trust homes affordable. First, homeowners don&rsquo;t buy the land; they only buy the house itself. That means the house sells for much less than its market value.</p><p>Second, homeowners have to agree to resale restrictions.</p><p>&ldquo;Even if the homeowners decides later on they want to sell the home, they must sell it to someone of a like economic profile,&rdquo; said Howard. &ldquo;Otherwise the land trust goes bust.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, homeowners have to sell the home to someone that qualifies as low-income. That keeps the resale price of the house low.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="320" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/gentrification/widget/14/" style="float: right; clear: right;" width="400"></iframe></p><p>Finally, homeowners only pay property taxes on the value of the house, not including the land.</p><p>Howard originally wanted to build ten homes, but the timing didn&rsquo;t work out.</p><p>&ldquo;We only got three up,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think anyone at that point had any idea that the recession would last as long as it did or be as deep as it was.&rdquo;</p><p>During the recession concerns about gentrification in West Humboldt Park fizzled out.</p><p>The First Community Land Trust of Chicago still exists, but only to collect the nominal monthly ground lease from the three homeowners in those homes. Property values in the neighborhood dropped so much after the housing bubble burst that it doesn&rsquo;t make sense for the land trust to build additional homes.</p><p>But there is another Chicago-area land trust that&rsquo;s flourishing. It&rsquo;s north of the city, in Highland Park. Luisa Espinosa-Lara and her family once struggled just to rent in this wealthy suburb.</p><p>&ldquo;We thought OK, one day (when) we are able to buy a house, it&rsquo;s not going to be here,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Houses here are so expensive.&rdquo;</p><p>But thanks to Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Illinois&rsquo;s oldest and largest community land trust, Espinosa-Lara and her husband were able to buy a three-bedroom house in Highland Park. They paid $175,000 for it, roughly half of its market value.</p><p>&ldquo;It was like when you feel that you win the lottery, but like you get millions,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;because you don&rsquo;t have to go. And I think it&rsquo;s so painful when you have to leave.&rdquo;</p><p>In Highland Park, the community land trust isn&rsquo;t really about gentrification. Instead, it&rsquo;s about creating inclusive, mixed-income neighborhoods.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what Antonio Gutierrez hopes to do back in Chicago&rsquo;s Albany Park neighborhood. But he&rsquo;s taking on a big challenge. Community land trusts typically need hundreds of thousands of dollars in startup costs, to buy, renovate or build homes. Most of them rely on a mix of public grants and private donations.</p><p>Casas del Pueblo doesn&rsquo;t have that kind of money, so Gutierrez hopes to persuade banks to donate foreclosed homes to the community land trust. So far, this strategy has yet to bear fruit.</p><p>&ldquo;Every single time I get to a meeting with a bank, the first thing they ask is how many houses do you have now? How many houses are you managing? And when we say zero, they close the door,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Still, Gutierrez remains undeterred.</p><p>He believes once they have a couple of homes, others will look to his community land trust as a model for how gentrification can benefit even those it would normally displace.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 08:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/rents-may-be-going-residents-say-theyre-not-going-anywhere-111269 Highland Park bans assault weapons http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP040908020437.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; The northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park has banned assault weapons.</p><p>The Highland Park City Council enacted the ban Monday night after nearly two hours of public comments in a standing-room only chamber. One councilman, David Naftzger, voted against the ban. He said it could cost Highland Park thousands of dollars in litigation. Councilman Paul Frank voted for the ban, <a href="http://bit.ly/1477z9K" target="_blank">telling The News-Sun</a> he&#39;s &quot;proud we will not permit assault weapons.&quot;</p><p>Illinois Rifle Association second vice president Mike Weisman promised a lawsuit, saying one would &quot;be filed without a doubt.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 Swartz's father blames 'government' at son's funeral http://www.wbez.org/news/swartzs-father-blames-government-sons-funeral-104938 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Aaron Swartz_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. &mdash; Internet activist <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-born-internet-activist-aaron-swartz-dies-26-104883" target="_blank">Aaron Swartz</a>&#39;s father told his son&#39;s suburban Chicago funeral that the Reddit co-founder was &quot;killed by the government.&quot;</p><p>The 26-year-old was found dead of an apparent suicide in his New York apartment Friday. His funeral was Tuesday morning at a Highland Park synagogue. Swartz was facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence after being indicted in Boston in 2011 for allegedly gaining access to academic articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The charges carried a maximum penalty of decades in prison.</p><p>The Chicago Sun-Times <a href="http://bit.ly/V2s8zv" target="_blank">reports</a> that his father, Robert Swartz, echoed the family&#39;s previous statements during the service, saying his son was &quot;hounded&quot; by the government.</p><p>Spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling in Boston says U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz has no comment about Robert Swartz&#39;s remarks.</p></p> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 16:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/swartzs-father-blames-government-sons-funeral-104938 Nine bedrooms, full-size court: Michael Jordan's home for sale http://www.wbez.org/story/nine-bedrooms-full-size-court-michael-jordans-home-sale-96832 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-29/AP110922145609.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Michael Jordan's longtime personal residence in suburban Chicago is for sale for $29 million.</p><p>The sprawling estate is in Highland Park, along Lake Michigan, and has more than 56,000 square feet of living space.</p><p>That includes nine bedrooms, 15 baths and five fireplaces.</p><p>There's also a three-bedroom guesthouse, pool area, outdoor tennis court and three climate-controlled multi-car garages.</p><p>An indoor basketball complex features a full-size regulation court with specially cushioned hardwood flooring and competition-quality high intensity lighting. It's also got a sound system set up to provide perfect acoustics within the court space.</p><p>The property was put on the market Wednesday by Katherine Chez-Malkin of Baird &amp; Warner Real Estate.</p></p> Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/nine-bedrooms-full-size-court-michael-jordans-home-sale-96832 North suburbs call ComEd to account for power outages http://www.wbez.org/story/north-suburbs-call-comed-account-power-outages-89232 <p><p>Officials in Chicago’s northern suburbs are calling power provider ComEd to account for frequent and long-lasting blackouts. A storm last Monday left many customers without electricity, some for the entire week.</p><div><div>In Evanston, strong winds toppled dozens of trees, taking down lines to more than 12,000 thousand customers. But Evanston Alderman Jane Grover says that during other outages this summer, electricity was unavailable even when the lines remained up.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>“Evanston is still very much concerned about the ComEd infrastructure issues,” said Grover, ”as well as their response time for restoration of power, and their ability to pump information out into the community about preparing for a longer outage.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Grover and her fellow aldermen will grill ComEd representatives at a city council meeting Monday night. The power company faced Park Ridge officials and residents at a meeting last Thursday. Highland Park has invited the company to answer questions at its July 25 council meeting.</div></div></p> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/north-suburbs-call-comed-account-power-outages-89232 Touring a hidden Frank Lloyd Wright gem in Highland Park http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-22/touring-hidden-frank-lloyd-wright-gem-highland-park-88185 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/_DSC0136.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago is a city famous for its architecture, but the suburbs deserve some credit, too. Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Prairie Style architecture can be found in towns all over the Prairie State. Real estate guru <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Radar/Deal-Estate/" target="_blank">Dennis Rodkin</a> gave <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> a behind-the-scenes tour of a restored Wright home up for sale in Highland Park.<br> <br> Also, <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>hit the streets of downtown Chicago to ask Chicagoans what buildings catch their eye.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-22/touring-hidden-frank-lloyd-wright-gem-highland-park-88185