Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) CEO Eugene Jones joined 200 senior citizens and me this week in celebrating the grand opening of the new community room in the Caroline Hedger Apartments at Sheridan and Devon.
The new 5,000-square-foot community room replaces a 50-year-old community room that was torn down last year to make way for the Concord on Sheridan development, which will bring to the neighborhood a new “flexible format” Target store and 111 units of residential housing, including 65 units of affordable housing. The new community room is slightly larger than the old room and contains a fully equipped exercise room.
The new room will be outfitted with brand new tables and chairs and the seniors will be given the opportunity to choose other features and decide how the room will be configured. The seniors will also enjoy a private outdoor rooftop terrace garden, which is scheduled to open in the spring.
The grand opening was particularly joyous for the Hedger building residents, as organizers from an activist organization had convinced a few of the residents they were going to lose their community room permanently. Despite repeated assurances that a new community room would be built, a small group of Hedger residents refused to believe the assurances and vocally opposed the Concord development. These seniors now realize they were simply victims of scare tactics and are looking forward to the new Target.
Target has pledged to hire neighborhood residents and soon will begin accepting job applications. The CHA also will begin accepting applications for the affordable housing units in the next few weeks.
I will let you know when both application periods begin.