AIDSCare hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of its $14.5 million West Side AIDS care campus Feb. 14.
The 2.7-acre project, in the economically depressed North Lawndale community, will provide healthcare services to low-income and homeless individuals and families. The developers also hope it will spark economic development, improved housing and other needed services in the area around Kedzie and Roosevelt roads on the Southwest Side.
The Chicago Department of Planning and Development sold 27 vacant parcels for $1 a lot to AIDSCare. The Chicago Department of Public Health provided $1.2 million in Federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) funds for construction. The facility also has financial commitments from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Illinois FIRST and the Daniel Ruscitti Charitable Trust.
At the groundbreaking, several current AIDSCare residents and staff studied the plans for the development, which will be completed in three phases. The first phase will be a three-story, 18-unit independent family living residence. Next is a 30-unit supportive SRO facility. And the final phase, expected to be done in 2005, is a wellness center and multi-purpose community center.
This project is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.
Three disgruntled ward residents shouted at Ald. Michael Chandler (24th), saying the community was not invited to OK the project. Asked if this was because the facility was for people with AIDS, one of the men said no, that it was because the community was not participating. The threesome was also clear in their support of an opponent running against Chandler Feb. 25.
AIDSCare President and Founder Jim Flosi countered that AIDSCare held dozens of meetings with leaders and community groups in the area.
Also attending were: State Rep. Art Turner; Ed Hinsberger of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; Alicia Berg, Commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Planning & Development; Darlena Williams-Burnett, State Central Committeewoman and AIDSCare board member; and her husband, Ald. Walter Burnett.
See www.aidscarechicago.org .