Englewood

Englewood residents have long said that theirs is a forgotten community. For at least a decade, redevelopment has lingered at this South Side community’s doorstep, with an occasional nonprofit developer giving the neighborhood a look. All along, residents and developers agreed that the neighborhood has many of the necessary assets for revival.

It is favorably located, amply convenient to downtown Chicago. Its borders are roughly Wentworth, 55th Street, the Belt Railway near Halsted Street, and 76th Street. Racine divides Englewood from West Englewood at Racine, and that western community ends at the Penn Central Railroad, sharing the same north-south borders as Englewood.

While no two blocks are exactly alike, at least half of Englewood’s abandoned or dilapidated houses have rehab potential, and there are ample vacant lots waiting for construction of new housing. Most of the neighborhood’s houses are brick or frame bungalows. Amid them an occasional grand old relic still stands with wraparound porch, turrets, and massive windows. Inspired by federal Community Reinvestment Act requirements, lenders have revisited the neighborhood in recent years. Increased lending from banks and financing by nonprofit groups have begun to spark what residents now hope is a long-awaited resurgence.

For years Lindblom Technical High School’s less than 4 percent dropout rate remained lower then other schools in the area. But only in recent years did the Board of Education decide to preserve the school at 62nd and Wolcott in West Englewood with a $500,000 budget renew much of its structure. A new science lab is being built, and the school’s wiring is being updated to afford contemporary technical equipment. Half of the money will buy new learning resources, almost entirely replacing its books. A new curriculum will include pre-medicine, pre-law, business finance and engineering, and Lindblom will no longer accept students from the lower two-thirds of their class. Englewood is a neighborhood on the mend; it has a long road ahead, but with the strength and determination of its residents, it is certain to prevail and return itself to its once-great status.