Wednesday, May 31, 2006

News from Harvey...

A couple of articles about this struggling south suburb. I remember that the Sun-Times within about the last year did a series about the filming of The Blues Brothers in Harvey. They filmed at a now shuttered shopping mall which still stands on Dixie Highway. The lot now has a government office (DCFS I believe) and a police station. Dixie Square Mall as I've known it was host to a chase scene right in the mall.

As I understand it they had major retailers come in with merchandise and security guards were apparently finding ways to steal the merchandise (this was in the article). John Belushi was able to crash at a home nearby the set slept on the couch and was a guest at a dinner. He must have been lucky enough to find some good people out there especially if Harvey is as rough as a lot of people believe it is today.

In redeveloping Harvey there have been numerous false starts like for instance Dixie Square Mall would have been razed and a new housing development in its place. I don't know what exactly happened but that never went forward. DePaul University was supposed to build another campus there and apparently that plan never went forward either.

Now there are plans for some new condominiums in downtown Harvey according to the Chicago Defender.

Local and county politicians touted “A New Harvey Rising” as the new slogan for the south suburban municipality as they unveiled plans Tuesday for the first ever condominiums development in the city’s downtown area.

The three-building, $1.5 million project, located at 153rd Street and Broadway, is the first move in attracting back young middle-class professionals to the predominately African American community, once a thriving suburb for upper-mobile Blacks many decades ago. The 13,500-square feet, nine-unit development will be completed in approximately six months.

Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg told the Defender yesterday that this has been dream of his since being elected two years ago to help change the image of a city suffering from perceived corruption, high crime and violence.
Here's another good story about some double dipping into some Harvey Park District funds...
Three Harvey Park District leaders dipped into taxpayer funds to pay for a vacation, home improvements and even a child's college tuition, federal records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times indicate.

Talk of an investigation into the park district's finances has swirled around the south suburb since the FBI paid a visit to its offices two years ago.

Now, a federal affidavit alleges that the park district director, board chairman and assistant director used credit cards for thousands of dollars in personal expenditures. The board chairman used "dummy companies" as a way to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in park funds, according to the recently unsealed affidavit.
If Harvey is to ever gentrify then there is no doubt a long process and a lot of work to do there. And here's another story in which Harvey's park leaders have been urged to resign.

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