On Friday, May 12, at 1pm the Englewood community will welcome its first documented “Welcome to Englewood” landmark sign at the corner of 63rd and Yale. The public and media are invited to attend the unveiling. Residents, faith based leaders, elected officials, community partners and stake holders will gather as the community comes together to celebrate this momentous event. The installation of the “Welcome to Englewood” sign marks efforts made by the community to improve the quality of life, safety and beautification of the community.
“As the public drives and walks by this busy intersection of 63rd and Yale, they will now be forever reminded that Englewood is a community worth valuing,” said Jennipher Adkins, Chief Operating Officer of Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation (GECDC).
“In bringing this sign into fruition, the community hopes to restore pride, ownership and safety,” said Rashanah Baldwin, Englewood leader and neighborhood coordinator for Neighborhood Housing Service of Chicago (NHS). “We are committed to making Englewood a community where residents enjoy calling Englewood home.”
In 2016, Baldwin led the process with community partners on gathering input from longtime residents, conducting research and gaining valuable insight on what the sign would look like and where the sign would be placed. In a voting process of different renderings presented by several local artists, the community selected a graphic they felt reflected the history of Greater Englewood. The selected graphic was created by Leonard “GLC” Harris, two-time Grammy Award Winning artist/writer, Chicago native and community leader.
“We deserve to have permanent signs throughout the community which reflect the history of Englewood and welcomes Chicagoan’s to our community,” said Kimberly White, Englewood homeowner.
The “Welcome to Englewood” landmark sign is funded through a generous “Innovation Grant” on behalf of Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC). Working in partnership with the GECDC and Teamwork Englewood, the sign has been one of many ways the community is organizing together; the GECDC currently has site control over the lot in the 20th Ward granted by Alderman Willie Cochran to maintain its upkeep.
The Englewood Quality of Life Plan II, led by Teamwork Englewood and funded by LISC Chicago identifies the landmark sign as an early action project in their “Housing and Public Space Task Force” as well the “Jobs and Economic Development Task Force.” Members of these taskforces identified this as a key strategy to bring gateways and signage to the community in order to restore positive narratives and imagery in Englewood. The goal is to have more of these landmark signs sponsored by community organizations at the boundaries of Englewood.