As a resident of Chatham , what I heard this past evening made me mad and I was thoroughly disappointed. The much ballyhooed "Greater Chatham Initiative" was a regurgitation of past programs and promises made. The executive director Nedra Sims-Fears made the worst presentation that I have heard in a long time. I and others felt disrespected as she attempted to spew a bunch of numbers and make correlations that made no sense. When residents asked how could they participate they were blown off and when questioned where the initial money came from and other monies would be coming from., questions were glossed over with a generic "private money" answer. I and others residents who attended the Park Manor Neighbors Community Council meeting were left with a "WTF was that" feeling.
The Greater Chatham Initiative was suppose to be an economic development initiative but is turning out to be a hodgepodge of ideas and proposals. It's not surprising as the so called "leadership committee" is made up of individuals who are not stakeholders in Chatham. The few stakeholders who are there were part of the reason our business strips look bad. They also played politics and personal agendas in selecting an executive director versus placing the needs of the community first. So its not surprising to seeing the "pimping" agencies outside of Chatham are attempting through their contacts on the leadership committee.
The $1,5 million could have been better spent but will be wasted on unnecessary and duplicate efforts. We see how important it was to Representative Bobby Rush as he immediately relocated his office outside the community right after the announcement stating his employees did not feel safe.
So thanks Mayor Emmanuel for the effort, but do us a favor and take your cronies back downtown with you. As far as my neighbors lets hold this organization's feet to the fire and ask "leadership committee members" who "supposedly" live in our community how do they sleep at night.
#greaterchathaminiative #chatham #cityofchicago