Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=214792
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Robyn Murray/MEDILL

Since 2006, 1,323 apartments have been renovated at Altgeld Gardens, and today, the community appears well-maintained with neatly paved streets and tidy yards.


Altgeld Gardens: Saved from demolition, for now

by Robyn Murray
Jan 30, 2013


ALTGELD1_Busstop

Robyn Murray/MEDILL

Many of the buildings in Altgeld Gardens date back to their original 1940s architecture. Altgeld was originally constructed specifically for African American war industry workers during World War II.

ALTGELD1_Bus

Robyn Murray/MEDILL

Altgeld Gardens is linked to the city of Chicago by a single bus route that transports residents to the El train's southernmost stop at 95th Street, about 30 minutes away.

 


Robyn Murray/MEDILL

Altgeld Gardens: Saved from demolition, for now    


As President Obama begins his second term, we’re looking back at the place his journey to the presidency began: Altgeld Gardens. That’s where Obama spent time as a community organizer in the 1980s. A sprawling public housing complex, Altgeld Gardens has a rich history, a troubled past and an uncertain future.

Located on Chicago’s Far South Side, Altgeld is one of the poorest communities in Chicago. But it recently got a facelift. When the Chicago Housing Authority tore down hundreds of high-rise buildings notoriously plagued by poverty and crime, Altgeld was spared. And rehabilitated.  Over 1,300 Altgeld apartments have been renovated in the past six years. And the remaining 600 or so were recently saved from demolition after a public outcry. But Altgeld is also one of the most isolated Chicago communities – an island of poverty surrounded by abandoned industries. So is it possible for Altgeld to survive --- and thrive?