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$30M HUD Grant Aims to Revitalize Woodlawn

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City and state officials Wednesday gathered at 62nd and Cottage Grove, blocks from a Tuesday night drive-by shooting, to announce a $30.5 million grant to help revitalize Woodlawn.

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City and state officials Wednesday gathered at 62nd and Cottage Grove, blocks from a Tuesday night drive-by shooting, to announce a $30.5 million grant to help revitalize Woodlawn.

A large police presence was felt as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Bobby Rush joined Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan to spread the news.

"It's all part of an investing strategy," Emanuel said of the money awarded by HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, "to turn a neighborhood around."

The grant will be used to redevelop distressed housing at Grove Parc Plaza, as well as provide a range of services and neighborhood investments, Emanuel said.

"This is one of five communities to be models for rest of the country," Donovan added. Chicago was picked along with Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle to receive a combined $122 million.

Tuesday night, four teenagers were injured in a shooting near the planned meeting. The teens were sitting on a porch on the 400 block of East 62nd Street around 9:40 p.m., police said, when someone inside a sliver vehicle pulled up and opened fire on the group.

"It's not right in America," Donovan said of the incident. He said he hopes it "doesn't continue to play out."

The morning event was packed with neighborhood residents, many holding signs from The Woodlawn Organization.

Donovan told them the grant would help bring grocery stores to food deserts but, more importantly, cut crime in half. "We must turn around the future," Donovan said.  

Durbin, referring to the ongoing budget debate in Washington, criticized those who want to make cuts to HUD. "I invite them to Woodlawn," Durbin said. "It's more than a place to live, but a community."

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