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Town Hall Meeting to Focus on Grocery Store Shortage in South Shore

Special from Val Free

South Shore has been a solidly middle class enclave for decades. It has recently been challenged with increasing unemployment rates and an influx of former public housing residents. The partnering neighborhood, South East Chicago, has been challenged with the closing of the U.S. Steel and no alternative major employer for two decades.

The Planning Coalition is hosting a Town Hall meeting Saturday, November 8th at 1 PM at the St. Phillip Neri School at 2110 East 72nd Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649.

The Planning Coalition, once known as the South Shore Planning & Preservation Coalition before being revived by current Executive Director, Val Free, is an organization of community activists, business people, cultural icons, educators and non-profit partners. It is the leading organization, drawing hundreds of south and South East residents from the 5th, 7th and 8th Wards who are directly affected with no full-service grocer for miles.

With a combination of three Town Hall Meeting and numerous Reports to the People since December 2013, the month Dominick’s grocery at Jeffery Plaza closed as part of a city-wide departure of supermarkets from Chicago by the Canadian-based Safeway chain, The Planning Coalition will address the recently announced plans by City Hall to begin the process to “take” the entire Jeffery Plaza at 71st & Jeffery Boulevard, from the current owners, the Los Angeles based Cannon/Unimat Commercial company.

The intent based on an Community Development Commission Hearing last month where nearly 100 residents who claimed association with The Planning Coalition attended and many voiced their concerns and ideas, is to avoid further attempts of negotiation with what the city and the 5thWard Alderman, Leslie Hairston, believe are unreasonable rental rates.

“Saturday we plan to provide an opportunity for the residents to hear more about the eminent domain process from experts. This will allow everyone to understand first-hand what might be expected should the city take over the property. The property owner has also been asked to attend the meeting or have their property managers in attendance,” says Val Free. It is critical to The Planning Coalition that residents are a part of the conversation about the community’s needs and interests, as the city and elected officials work to bring an acceptable grocer to the table.

After the meeting experts on Eminent Domain, community residents and The Planning Coalition’s executive committee and coalition leaders will be available for interviews.