Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meeting with Hank Webber--5/23

On Wednesday, May 23, eight representatives from the Grove Parc Tenants Association (GPTA) and the Southside Solidarity Network (SSN) met with Vice President of the Office of Community and Government Affairs, Hank Webber, and Associate Dean of Students and Director of the University Community Service Center, Wallace Goode. During the meeting GPTA and SSN went through four proposed agreements they hoped to get from Vice President Webber.

1. That Hank Webber issue a written public statement on behalf of the University of Chicago saying that the University will not support displacement of current Grove Parc residents and will not support any redevelopment plan unless it is endorsed by the GPTA.

2. That Hank Webber, as a board member of the Woodlawn Preservation Investment Corporation (WPIC), state that he wants to make GPTA's development vision happen, including preserving as project based section 8: 300 units on the property and 200 in Woodlawn.

3. That Hank Webber, as a board member of WPIC not support any redevelopment plan unless it is endorsed by the GPTA.

4. That Hank Webber meet with the GPTA and SSN at Grove Parc to discuss the progress of the GPTA vision within one month.

Hank Webber responded that he did not feel comfortable agreeing to give the GPTA veto power over any WPIC plan. However, he will meet with tenants and SSN members at the Bessie Coleman Library the week of June 11th to discuss the viability of the GPTA plan.

Furthermore, Hank Webber specified that he could not make any statement on behalf of the University. Such a statement, he said, would have to come from President Robert Zimmer and from the Head of the Board of Trustees of the University, James Crown.

After the meeting, tenants and students held a press conference outside of the Administration building. Following the conference, the tenants struggle was covered by The Chicago Defender, NPR, and The Chicago Maroon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How can you help?

The campaign to Save Grove Parc will be ongoing until tenants have been given a voice in determining the future of their homes and a resolution has been reached that meets the demands of the Grove Parc Tenants Association.
Until that time there is much work to be done. and we hope that you will choose to be involved in some way. To begin with, we have created a petition to send to Hank Webber. Please click on the link below to sign it and show solidarity with the Grove Parc Tenants Association.

Beyond this there are many more options for involvement. If you have any questions or are interested in getting more involved in the campaign please send us an email at

Who is Hank Webber? (or how does this involve you?)

The University of Chicago has two members on the board of WPIC, Hank Webber (Vice President of Community and Government Affairs) and Rudy Nimocks (Executive Director of the UCPD). Tenants and students have been seeking to meet with them, and Hank Webber has agreed to do so. Next week he will meet with 3 members of the Southside Solidarity Network and 3 leaders from the Grove Parc Tenants Association. In this meeting, we want to be able to show him that UC students, faculty, and staff believe their VP of Community Affairs ought to be protecting public housing, not destroying it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where is Grove Parc?

Cottage Grove between 61st and 62nd streets.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Check out the recent Chicago Maroon article on Grove Parc at the link below:
Also you can read the Southside Solidarity Network's follow up letter to the editor:
* Note: Just scroll down the page to see the letter titled "University should work with Woodlawn."

Sunday, May 13, 2007


We are the Southside Solidarity Network, a group of students from the University of Chicago who believe that our school and its surrounding communities can at some point be friendly neighbors. Therefore we work to create mutually beneficial relations between our school and Southside communities. The history between the University and the surrounding neighborhoods, especially Woodlawn to the south, has never been easy, yet we feel that now is the time to begin to make change.
We feel that our school has consistently failed to respect community residents’ voices when making important decisions about the area. This area is home to students, faculty, and residents all of whom must be heard when shaping the future of this community. However, the University of Chicago has too often had a heavy hand in such decisions. Therefore the Southside Solidarity Network supports tenants and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods as they work towards gaining an equal voice in their communities.
This blog has been created to address the development of an immediate and serious threat to the rights of Southside tenants. It has been created to bring YOU into the struggle to SAVE GROVE PARC. But what is Grove Parc?

What is Grove Parc?

Grove Parc Plaza is a 504 unit subsidized (section 8) housing complex on Cottage Grove between 60th and 63rd, in the Woodlawn community just south of the University of Chicago. It was built as a response to the lack of affordable housing in the Woodlawn community as the University crept south in the late 1960's. Today it is owned by a group called WPIC (Woodlawn Preservation Investment Corporation) and managed by HUD. Due to chronic neglect by HUD and WPIC, the development failed two inspections and is now being threatened with redevelopment.

HUD and WPIC drew up redevelopment plans without tenant input. The tenants were not even permitted to see the plans until they had already been submitted. The redevelopment plan converts the 504 affordable units to only 150! The tenants have worked to create an alternate plan which maintains at least 350 low-income units. The campaign to Save Grove Parc is working with the Grove Parc Tenants Association as they work to have a voice in determining the future of their homes.