One more hurdle jumped for Logan Square affordable housing and one to go.

Logan Square community meeting last May endorsed the Emmett Street affordable housing project.

The project to create 100 units of affordable housing on a rarely used city parking lot next to the Logan Square CTA station got over another hurdle this afternoon.

The Chicago city council’s Community Development Committee okayed the use of TIF money for the project.

Now there is only the council’s zoning committee left to give their okay.

Christian called last week to see if I could attend today’s meeting and testify.

Of course I said yes.

My testimony:

My name is Fred Klonsky

I live on North Spaulding in Logan Square. Five blocks from the Emmett Street project.

I am a retired school teacher.

I am here today to speak in support of the Emmett Street affordable housing project.

My family has lived in Logan Square since 1975 and it is where my wife and I purchased a small brick workingman’s cottage in 1991.

We wanted a house, but we were investing in a community

We bought with hope for different a kind of return on investment than some of Logan Square’s current developers.

It was a neighborhood we loved and which we considered already rich, not in dollars perhaps, but in culture and a sense of community.

While our home has gained dollar value – I know this only because of our assessed market valuation from the county assessor and our property taxes say so – the neighborhood has decreased in the value and richness that were important for our family.

As older, poorer, immigrant, black and brown and working class families have been priced out, the neighborhood has faced a decline in what made it the community we chose 45 years ago.

Because so many working class families have been priced out, gone are the sounds of the kids on the street in the summer.

Gone is our neighbor, an old Polish widow whose mortgage was paid but whose house is now too expensive for her to live in.

No more sounds of kids playing hoops off a milk crate in the alley.

No sign of the Paleta cart.

The elote horn.

Gone is the diner on the square, owned by a Greek immigrant, where my order of eggs and hash browns would come with a bowl of escabeche on the side all for five bucks.

A Greek diner with Mexican pickled vegetables always sitting on the counter.

Where in the freezing Chicago winter a homeless man could stop in that same diner for some hot coffee and eggs for free.

Replaced by cocktail bars with hand crafted ice cubes and destination restaurants, some of which I can even afford once in a while for a special event.

They’re welcome but I hope for a neighborhood where there is room for escabeche and hand crafted ice cubes.

Emmett Street is a relatively small project with only 100 affordable units. Thousands of affordable units are needed.

I’m asking you to move forward the plan that would do a little to give us a return on our family’s 45 year investment in community.

It’s just 100 small steps.

Thousands are needed.

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