Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Infant Welfare Society Falls to the Wrecking Ball

So many worthy social services are leaving our neighborhood as property values rise and those in need move or have been displaced. This Infant Welfare Society facility at 1931 N. Halsted is coming down as I type. These photos were taken this past weekend.

Based on information at IWS's website, their clientele will be served by a new facility in Logan Square at 3600 West Fullerton. IWS-Chicago reports that their clientele overwhelmingly supported the new facility's location. It will also be a state of the art facility designed to serve them better.

On the one hand, I'm sorry to see this facility go as I truly value economic diversity and would much prefer a heterogenous neighborhood than not.

On the other, if I were in charge of the Infant Welfare Society, I'd want to be operating it in the best interests of my clients, and clearly this facility was beginning to wane in its ability to do that. Not to mention, the selling price of this property must have been enormously profitable for this non-profit. I can easily see how it was the right decision for them to sell, re-build and re-locate.

As some of you might recall, a little over a year ago, the YMCA sold a building on the southeast corner of Halsted and North Avenue that housed some of their administration and a daycare center for economically disadvantaged families. That building was sold and demolished, for reasons similar to the disappearance of the Infant Welfare Society.

Now, it's a Borders, Sur La Table, Carter's children's wear store, a fitness equipment store, and a parking garage. (See posts here and here.) It's hard for me to see this as an improvement in our neighborhood, despite how ugly the Y's blue brick admin building was.

Also, just for your reference, below is a photo of the homes across the street from the second IWS-Chicago photo above. These houses are on Burling, which the above facility's east side backs up against.

This street, along with Orchard and Howe to the east have been mansionizing, which is a word used among my neighbors to describe the jaw-dropping homes unfolding there. Multi-million dollar, four-lot mansions on steroids. I'll be sure to blog more about that in the future so you can see what I'm talking about. In the meantime, I'm sorry to see IWS-Chicago go. I'd much prefer them in the neighborhood than a stretch of overpriced condos or some other deadening thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

IFW was my first internship that I loved (and got paid). The PR dept was really nice and did a lot of good work. It was a wonderful facility. Sorry to see it move but glad to hear that it's still going strong.