Quality-of-Life Plan Seeks Stronger Future for Pilsen
Did you know there is a comprehensive community plan for Pilsen?
The Pilsen Planning Committee was convened in 2005 by the leaders of four long-standing organizations (The Resurrection Project, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Eighteenth Street Development Corporation and Alivio Medical Center) to bring the community together for a discussion about what should be done to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.
The PPC began meeting monthly on November 22, 2005 and continues meeting today, with a primary focus on maintaining Pilsen's culture and improving economic, social, educational and recreational opportunities for residents.
Titled "Pilsen: A Center of Mexican Life," the plan (download it) was developed with participation of all major community organizations.
From the introduction:
Since the 1950s, our neighborhood has been a center of Mexican life. With its old brick houses and two-flats, its flower gardens and playing children, the community called Pilsen has been home to generations of Mexican families and businesses. 18th Street is lined with shops where Spanish is the first language spoken, and on every street there are signs of our culture, from murals and music to churches and community organizations whose mission is to make life better for local families.
Pilsen today is under pressure. Just three miles from Chicago’s booming downtown and well-served by rail transit and highways, our community of 44,000 residents is experiencing the strongest wave of new investment since it was built in the late 19th Century. Thanks to decades of effort by our residents and more than a dozen strong community organizations, our neighborhood is no longer a place of vacant lots and empty factories. Instead, it is a thriving urban community with a growing job base and a strong housing market. This is good news. But change can also mean that our cultural heritage could be at risk.
We have a great deal of orgullo, or pride, in what we have built in Pilsen, and we believe that the best future for this community is one that incorporates and celebrates our Mexican culture. Many of our older residents came here in the 1960s and 1970s to raise their families. Today they hope their grown children and other Mexicans will start the cycle again on these same streets.
Though our community has many strengths, it has weaknesses, too, areas that must be addressed to ensure the healthy future that we envision. As others discover the beauty of our housing stock and the vitality of our local economy, it is up to us to protect and nurture the culture that has made Pilsen what it is.
Download the plan to read more.