Smart Urban Planning and Placemaking
Argyle Shared Street
Argyle Street between Broadway and Sheridan is being converted into Chicago’s first “shared street” under an innovative project of Uptown United and the Chicago Department of Transportation. The plan calls for raising the level of the street and eliminating curbs to create the feel of a plaza that can be filled with street fairs and sidewalk cafes.
Stewart School Community Development Initiative
Stewart School, a former elementary school in Uptown that was one of the 50 closed in 2013; but, as a result of Uptown United’s work with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and its Corridor Development Initiative, the community had an opportunity to come together and help retail the school as an anchor for the revitalization of the Broadway/Wilson corridor. The Corridor Development Initiative involved a three-part meeting process where residents proposed their ideas for what they wanted to see on the site through a block exercise and online survey and then worked with MPC and volunteer developers to test whether their proposals were financially feasible. MPC compiled and analyzed the wide-ranging ideas for re-use of the school.
Chicago Public Schools chose Morningside Group’s proposal for the re-use of the Stewart School. Their proposal included community input that suggested:
- Converting the Stewart School building into residential units with enhanced community amenities and public spaces on the western plaza,
- Adding retail, café or restaurant space on the ground floor, and
- Constructing a building on the former parking lot to provide additional rental housing.
Maryville Site Plan
Wilson CTA Station Public Space
Uptown United is thrilled that the long-awaited renovation of the Wilson El Station has been funded by the CTA, and are committed to ensuring that the station and attendant retail is a centerpiece of the revitalized Broadway commercial corridor. Strong public transit is key to our development as an entertainment destination, and we are looking forward to closely integrating the station renovation with entertainment district planning. The historic Gerber building also provides a unique opportunity for creative transit-oriented development, including a public market that would serve and celebrate Uptown’s rich diversity as well as providing a key outlet for local producers.
Winthrop Family Community Garden
The Uptown neighborhood is known for its rich, dynamic history and its mingling of cultures and customs. In the pre-World War II days of restrictive land covenants and legal segregation, the 4600 block of Winthrop Avenue was the only Uptown block available to African Americans to live. With the formal dedication of the Winthrop Avenue Family Garden in Fall 2009, these residents’ stories will continue as we work together to plant and harvest the offerings of this community project. Gardeners include a diverse mix of community residents, businesses and organizations. Follow all of the community action at The Winthrop Avenue Family Historical Garden Facebook Page! Or, just stop by to see what’s growing!
Affordable Housing Preservation
Uptown United is committed to ensuring that our economic development efforts support the entire Uptown community. In partnership with ONE and Ezra Multi-Service Center, we are exploring the best tools to preserve, maintain and upgrade our affordable housing stock by leveraging private investment and not-for-profit partners.
Uptown United is proud of the neighborhood’s history which includes a century of immigration, a wealth of world class architecture and a long-lived theatrical district. We also recognize its challenges. We retain many historical buildings and honor that architecture by establishing three National Historic Districts.
In 1985, the Sheridan Park Historic District (a National Landmark District) was established to protect the unique single family and smaller multi-family architecture of the area. Some structures of Uptown Square were also added as contributing structures. In 2007, the Sheridan Park area along Dover Street was also registered as an historic district. Many of the homes along Dover are large single family homes from the early 1900s.
At the core of the Buena Park neighborhood is the Hutchinson Street Historic District, a tree-lined stretch several blocks long featuring mansions that make up “one of the best collections of Prairie-style architecture in the city.” Buena Park pre-dates the remainder of Uptown by a number of years.