WBEZ | demolition http://www.wbez.org/tags/demolition Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Gov. Quinn organizes transit task force to take on scandals at agencies http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-22/morning-shift-gov-quinn-organizes-transit-task-force <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Red Line - Flickr- Buddahbless.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With an eye on improving service and eliminating corruption, Gov. Quinn has organized a transit task force. We discuss what&#39;s ahead for the panel. Also, the history and future of The Purple Hotel.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-49/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-49.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-49" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Gov. Quinn organizes transit task force to take on scandals at agencies" on Storify</a>]</div></noscript></div></p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-22/morning-shift-gov-quinn-organizes-transit-task-force Chicago Vocational renovation project moves forward http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-07/chicago-vocational-renovation-project-moves-forward-108055 <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/223903_10150992922331011_1407405589_n.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A significant portion of Chicago Vocational Career Academy, an architecturally-important building that is the city&#39;s second-largest public school, would be demolished as part of a $42 million bid to turn the structure into a tech academy.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">According to Chicago Public Building Commission documents, the school&#39;s block-and-a-half long, 150,000 square foot wing along Anthony Avenue &mdash; the portion of the school seen by scores of Chicago Skyway drivers each day &mdash; would be razed. A hangar that once housed the school&#39;s aviation shop would also be demolished. The remainder of the school and its exterior would be rehabilitated.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The PBC on Monday&nbsp;<a href="http://pbcchicago.com/content/working/opening_display.asp?BID_ID=434">issued a request for qualifications</a>&nbsp;seeking contractors who can handle the three-phase overhaul of the former Chicago Vocational High School at 2100 E. 87th St. &nbsp;When the dust clears, the school would become a <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/10936381-418/new-six-year-tech-high-schools-in-chicago-to-offer-associate-degrees.html">six-year school</a> with a curriculum focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The school was designed for 6,000 students so downsizing is in order. Still, seeing more than a third of the delta-shaped late Art Deco-designed school vanish would be a bit startling. Built in 1940 for $3.5 million, the 27-acre school is a big, beautiful complex rendered in a blocky, WPA-modern esthetic.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Its sheer massiveness is one of the things that most impressed me,&quot; said Lisa DiChiera, advocacy director for the preservation organization Landmarks Illinois. Here&#39;s a section of the 87th Street portion of the school. This wing will be preserved:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/398785_10150992922211011_219395152_n.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And the main entrance:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/550732_10150992922151011_1958899631_n.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Contractor submittals are due by July 31, according to the PBC.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-07/chicago-vocational-renovation-project-moves-forward-108055 Parishioners watch as demolition of historic Chicago church begins http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/130626_St. James demolition_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About a dozen parishioners stood outside in the rain Wednesday and watched as crews with sledgehammers started tearing down the roof of St. James Catholic Church in Chicago.</p><p>Parishioners have been<a href="http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/"> trying for months</a> to save the historic Bronzeville church designed by architect Patrick Keely in 1875.</p><p>At one point during the demolition, the small group of parishioners and preservationists broke out in a chorus of &ldquo;We Shall Overcome.&rdquo;</p><p>As pieces of the roof crashed down, author Mary Pat Kelly could be heard repeatedly crying, &ldquo;No.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly wrote a book based on the life of her great-great-grandmother, who worshipped at St. James. The church is significant to the city&rsquo;s Irish history, Kelly said.</p><p>&ldquo;For the Irish community, this is an icon, this is a shrine. To knock it down is beyond belief, especially because since then, the African-American community has maintained it, and it has become a symbol of their triumph over adversity.&rdquo;</p><p>Another spectator, 10-year-old Evelyn Wright, was there with her mom, who went to school there. Evelyn said she was sad because her mom was sad.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody&rsquo;s heartbroken,&rdquo; the girl said. &ldquo;You would never think that a place like this would - it would be tore down.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservationists said the church didn&rsquo;t need to be demolished. Ward Miller, board president of Preservation Chicago, said some developers were interested in restoring or reusing it.</p><p>A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago declined to comment.</p><p><br />Katie Kather is an Arts and Culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/ktkather">@ktkather</a>.</p></p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 City wrecks an 1890s apartment house http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/city-wrecks-1890s-apartment-house-107117 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/usethis.jpg" title="" /></p><p>The Sheridan apartments at 71st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue&mdash;across from Oak Woods Cemetery&mdash;had been an unofficial landmark of the Greater Grand Crossing community since Benjamin Harrison was president.</p><p>But after more than 120 years, the long-vacant dilapidated three-story brick building with prominent bay windows is now being wrecked by the city under court order. Demolition equipment has ripped away the west side of the Sheridan as of today, exposing its interior.</p><p>The Sheridan&#39;s demolition had been under an automatic 90-day review because the building is listed in the city&#39;s Historic Resources Survey as having potential landmark qualities, but the hold was released April 25. A city spokesman had no information on site&#39;s future, but here&#39;s hoping something gets in the works soon. Too much of the South Side is vanishing under the wrecker&#39;s ball, leaving large tracts of undeveloped land in neighborhoods like Greater Grand Crossing returning to prairie. And less than 10 miles from downtown Chicago.</p><p>Add the senseless and ongoing violence to the mix and the symbolism of the Sheridan&#39;s demolition is jarring. Once the building is razed, its intersection will be marked by a vacant lot, a police station and a cemetery.</p><p>Built between 1890 and 1891 on the six-corner intersection of 71st, Cottage Grove and South Chicago avenues, the 16-unit structure is a remnant of the residential building boom in the years surrounding the 1893 World&#39;s Columbian Exposition held in nearby Jackson Park.</p><p>Here&#39;s a photo I took of the Sheridan last year when the building was relatively intact:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago-20120609-00224.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>The Sheridan has been vacant since the mid-1990s. The city filed suit in 2008 to get the owners--who had attempted to convert the place into condominiums--to repair the property after inspectors found fire damage, rotting wood porches, crumbling brickwork, holes in floors, shifting exterior walls and evidence of squatters in the building. Heating, plumbing and electrical systems were also stripped out, a city building inspector testified. The demolition case made it all the way to the Illinois Appellate Court. The court ruled in favor of the city this year and you can <a href="http://www.state.il.us/court/R23_Orders/AppellateCourt/2012/1stDistrict/1102837_R23.pdf">read the file here</a>.&nbsp;</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/P5113225.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">South Shore resident Maurice Rabb has watched the building for years.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;I remember eyeing the building as a kid in the &#39;70s and &#39;80s every time I came up South Chicago Avenue with my mom,&quot; Rabb said. &quot;It was an odd, yet handsome building [and] I always wondered whom might have lived there.&quot;</div></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/city-wrecks-1890s-apartment-house-107117 Tear down that wall? Not so fast: Permit to raze Reagan's Hyde Park boyhood home under review http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/tear-down-wall-not-so-fast-permit-raze-reagans-hyde-park-boyhood-home-under <p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="429" scrolling="no" src="http://www.voanews.com/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&amp;id=1573488&amp;w=640&amp;h=429&amp;skin=embeded" width="640"></iframe></p><p>A permit to demolish a boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan has been placed on hold as city officials decide whether the vacant Hyde Park six-flat is worthy of preservation, WBEZ has learned.</p><p>Heneghan Wrecking and Excavating Co., on behalf the University of Chicago, last Thursday applied for a permit to raze the three-story brick building, 832-834 E. 57th St. The move triggered an automatic maxium 90-day review by landmark officials because the structure is among a class of buildings with &quot;potentially significant architectural or historical features,&quot; as listed in the city&#39;s Historic Resources Survey.</p><p>(The above news story from Voice of America last month shows the building&#39;s exterior and efforts to preserve the structure.)</p><p>The demolition permit is one of three currently under such review by the city. The list, which includes St. Boniface Church, 1352 W. Chestnut &mdash; the subject of a preservation battle for more than a decade &mdash; <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/demolition_delayholdlist2012.html">can be viewed here.</a></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/40rr_header_sm.jpg" style="height: 141px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="Former president Ronald Reagan. (File/WhiteHouse.gov)" />Reagan, a former California governor who served in the White House from 1981 to 1989, lived in the Hyde Park building with his family for about 10 months <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605">when he was four years old</a>. It is one of several Illinois places Reagan lived as a youth. The best-known is the Dixon, IL home where Reagan moved when he was nine years old that has been restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.</div><p>Located on the northeastern edge of the expanding University of Chicago Medical Center, the building has been eyed for demolition since the university purchased it in 2004, angering some preservationists and Reaganphiles.</p><p>&quot;[W]hile the university is more-or-less ignoring the Reagan home preservation effort, it is actively lobbying for an Obama Presidential Library,&quot;&nbsp; Former Reagan aide Peter Hannaford wrote in<em> American Spectator</em> last month:&nbsp; &quot;Chicago politics being what they are, the betting is on that project and not saving the cold-water flat apartment building in which the only U.S. president born and bred in Illinois lived during his boyhood.&quot;</p><p>According to ordinance, the city&#39;s Department of Housing and Economic Development can look at a range of preservation options &mdash; or none at all &mdash; during the review period, including a landmark designation.</p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/tear-down-wall-not-so-fast-permit-raze-reagans-hyde-park-boyhood-home-under Chicago demolishes more than 250 vacant buildings http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-demolishes-more-250-vacant-buildings-104595 <p><p>The city of Chicago has demolished more than 250 vacant buildings this year in an effort to eliminate potential gang hangouts in high-crime neighborhoods.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Thursday the demolitions are part of a joint initiative between Chicago police and the city&#39;s Department of Buildings.</p><p>The city has focused on vacant and dangerous buildings that could become havens for illegal activity such as drug use and prostitution. Buildings are targeted for demolition based on recommendations from the community and the number of calls for service received.</p></p> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 09:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-demolishes-more-250-vacant-buildings-104595 Redevelopment plans put jazzy 1950s ex-hospital on the terminal list http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/redevelopment-plans-put-jazzy-1950s-ex-hospital-terminal-list-104575 <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/_C263570.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The former Cuneo Hospital building reminds me of jazz. Moreso than any other structure in the city.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Like jazz, the elliptically-shaped building has a free-form energy. Curves, rectangles, solids and voids meet each other at will. The front of the building, which faces Montrose and Clarendon, looks nothing like the rear or the north sides of the structure. Yet a visual rhythm--a beat, if you will--keeps it all together.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Built in 1957, the shuttered modernist hospital might soon face music of a different sort, however. Developers seek to raze the building and its otherworldly 1970s addition to build a $220 million high rise and retail development on the site. The proposed development--replacing a previous developer&#39;s unpopular three-tower $350 million 2011 proposal--is making its way through community meetings in the area.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The renderings of the new project designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture look pretty good--but more on that later. For now, let&#39;s walk around the old complex as <em>Take Five </em>by the Dave Brubeck Quartet<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmDDOFXSgAs"> plays in your other browser window:</a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263673.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 473px;" title="" /><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">Originally a hospital for women and children, Cuneo Memorial Hospital is the work of architect Edo J. Belli of the firm Belli &amp; Belli, an outfit that designed a range of modernist schools and hospitals for the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the 1950s and 1960s. Cuneo was built for $2 million by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart order.</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263637.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 576px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Dig that roof line!</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263527_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 562px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The rear of the hospital opens up to provide views of Clarendon Park in the foreground.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263666.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 360px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263606.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 646px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263689.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 619px;" title="" /><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">And the later addition, linked to the older building by a skybridge over Clarendon:<br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/_C263696.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 401px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The hospital closed in 1988 and was later the home of Columbus Maryville Academy children&#39;s shelter which, in turn, shut its doors in 2005, leaving the three acre site vacant.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here&#39;s a view of the new project:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/image640x480.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Cuneo&#39;s fate has prompted some chatter in the preservation community, but not much. The organization Preservation Chicago put the 1957 building on its &quot;Chicago 7&quot; <a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/userfiles/file/2012_C7_Cuneo%20Hospital_Final.pdf">most-endangered list</a> for 2012 and urged the structure&#39;s reuse.</div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 05:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/redevelopment-plans-put-jazzy-1950s-ex-hospital-terminal-list-104575 Demolishing foreclosed homes: Does it make sense? http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-26/demolishing-foreclosed-homes-does-it-make-sense-97615 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-26/4949365018_1cd0dda610_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-26/4949365018_1cd0dda610_z.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="A building in Garfield Park in 2010. Would it have been better off demolished? (Flickr/Jeff Zoline)"></p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to this conversation</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333162143-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/120326 demolishing vacant properties.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Is demolition a solution to the housing crisis in some of the Chicago area's most depressed communities?</p><p>Nowadays, many foreclosed homes end up in states of disrepair. Left vacant, they’re stripped of all valuable materials. Instead of attracting potential buyers, these homes often attract crime and end up sinking property values. That’s why some communities are tearing them down.</p><p>Former City of Chicago buildings commissioner Richard Monocchio estimates that between 6,000-9,000 homes should come down in Chicago alone. We'll talk with Monocchio and Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez Monday on&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>&nbsp;to learn about their expereinces using demolition as a tool to rebuild communities hit hardest by foreclosures.</p></p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-26/demolishing-foreclosed-homes-does-it-make-sense-97615 After Shepherd's demise, what's next for the city's other sacred ruins? http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-03-19/after-shepherds-demise-whats-next-citys-other-sacred-ruins-97450 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-20/temple demolitions_bey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-19/untitled shoot-029-2.jpg" style="width: 596px; height: 640px;" title=""></p><p>The bulldozers finally began rolling yesterday on Shepherd's Temple Baptist Church--nee Anshe Kenesseth Israel synagogue--in the city's North Lawndale community.</p><p>An emergency demolition order issued for the vacant and dilapidated structure last December finally claimed the building, 3411 W. Douglas Blvd. Built in 1913, the old temple survived almost a century, housing three different congregations and two separate religions. The Rev. Martin Luther King spoke on its now-crumbled front steps when the building was home to the influential Friendship Baptist Church in the 1960s. A young Golda Meir, who lived at 1306 S. Lawndale, either worshipped at the temple or attended early Zionist movement meetings there during her brief stay in Chicago after coming here in 1917, according to some reports.</p><p>But in the end--and despite all that history and architecture--Shepherd's Temple was a big, neglected and deteriorating building located across the street from a school, no less. The admirable effort by preservationists bought the building a little time and a lot of attention--but ultimately no cash.</p><p>In truth, efforts to preserve this structure and pass it into capable, capitalized hands should have begun at least a decade ago. So what should rise from the rubble Shepherd's Temple? How about some kind of early-warning system developed by the city and faith leaders to get current and future Shepherd's Temples on the radar of thriving congregations looking for more space? If the city can market old retail and industrial areas in order to entice businesses, why not old churches?</p><p>The city can't force sales, of course, but it could identify and catalog these historic structures--much as it does for non-religious buildings. Maybe the information and the partnership with faith leaders could create marketplace and a grapevine for those who are looking to buy and sell.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/untitled shoot-037.jpg" style="width: 531px; height: 419px;" title=""></p><p>For instance, Nefrette Halim, an Egyptian American and a preservationist who does battle on the North Shore, believes the old churches could be marketed to new immigrant Christian communities before falling into peril.</p><p>"There are Christian communities that are thriving and growing at break neck speeds," she said. "Obviously, the example I know well is the Coptic church. I do know, however, all the Middle Eastern churches are the same case: Iraqi churches, Syrian, Assyrian, Ethiopian, as well as many Asian Christian communities. The advantage is that many of these communities have built in networks [such as] preschools, English lessons, daycare, and are socially active and can immediately stimulate struggling areas if given the proper opportunity and introduction to a community."</p><p>That's one idea. What's yours? Feel free to comment below.</p><p><strong>ALSO</strong>: In circumstances that mirror that of Shepherd's Temple, a housing court judge in December issued an order to demolish an historic, but ragged, synagogue-turned-Baptist church in a once-predominantly Jewish area of Buffalo, New York. The 109-year-old structure--the oldest synagogue building in the city--hangs on, though, and the great fixBuffalo <a href="http://fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/2012/02/citys-oldest-synagogue-threatened-with.html">blog has the story.</a></p></p> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 02:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-03-19/after-shepherds-demise-whats-next-citys-other-sacred-ruins-97450 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0