AP, August 4, 2019: Obama library brings elation but also fear of displacement
When word spread that the Obama Presidential Center was coming to the lakefront park Tara Madison has watched through her apartment windows for a decade, she was elated at the idea of a gleaming facility honoring the president she supported and reviving rough sections of her neighborhood.
Then the 52-year-old social services worker and daughter of civil rights activists began to worry luxury condos might replace subsidized housing, including where she lives with her two children and two grandchildren, and she’d be forced to move.
Fear of gentrification — and the racial disparities that often come with it — has existed for decades in Woodlawn and other South Side Chicago neighborhoods slow to recover from the recession. Woodlawn, 10 miles from downtown and just steps from Jackson Park, is over 80% black, with nearly 40% of its 25,000 residents living below the poverty line, according to Chicago demographer Rob Paral.
Chicago ranks third among the nation’s largest cities, after New York and Los Angeles, for most neighborhoods that have gentrified, though it hasn’t seen as intense of a wave as other places, according to a National Community Reinvestment Coalition study this year.