A long-disinvested Chicago neighborhood is getting a financial boost.
A $20-million investment from Fifth Third Bank is intended to advance work already started by community groups, like building affordable housing and revamping an old YMCA building.
The investment from Fifth Third is part of an initiative to accelerate racial equity, equality and inclusion, according to Rob McGhee, senior vice president and community and economic development market manager at Fifth Third Bank. Eight other cities will be getting money from the initiative.
The infusion comes on the heels of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South-West Initiative, a three-year program aimed at investing $750 million in developments across 10 neighborhoods, including South Chicago.
Angela Hurlock, executive director at Claretian Associates, pitched the neighborhood projects to Fifth Third to receive the funding. The plan includes nine different projects, including some that already have work being done, like the Salud Center in the old YMCA building at 3039 E. 91st St. Other projects include an affordable housing building with a grocery store and a soccer arena.
The projects are called “We’re Steel Here,” to reflect the history of South Chicago that’s steeped in the steel industry, Hurlock said.
“When [U.S. Steel] closed in the latter part of last century, that really had an effect on our community,” Hurlock said. “And so, a lot of times we feel like we’re the forgotten community. But we’re here, we’re thriving and we’re continuing to grow.”