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JulieGianni View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Cabrini-Green 1942-2010
    Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 11:59am
Originally posted by www.onlinewsj.com www.onlinewsj.com wrote:

Housing Project Goes Dark

Final Resident Found Stability at Troubled Cabrini-Green; 'We Knew Everybody'

CHICAGO—Annie Ricks and seven of her children moved into the notorious Cabrini-Green Housing Project in 1990 and found things even worse than she feared. "Gunshots all over the place," she said. "Fights, noise."

Residents of the last tower of Chicago's Cabrini Green housing project have been relocated and the building is being torn down. Until recently a few holdouts remained.

Thursday morning, she is scheduled to be the last of 15,000 residents to move out, marking the end of one of the most troubled chapters in U.S. public-housing history.

The crumbling 15-story building Ms. Ricks is leaving is one of just three of the original 23 high rises still standing on the 70-acre site, a mile from the city's upscale Magnificent Mile. Private developers along with the Chicago Housing Authority have already built about 2,000 of the more than 5,000 units of mixed-income housing planned for the site.

Built in 1942 to house mostly poor Italian-Americans, Cabrini deteriorated by the 1970s into a slum housing the city's poorest African-Americans. Its proximity to the city's most opulent nightclubs and shopping district fueled a thriving illegal drug market.

The Cobras, Vice Lords and other gangs warred amid the warren of green, red and white high-rises. In one three-month stretch of 1981, 11 residents were killed.

The sprawling development provided the setting for the hit 1970s television series "Good Times," helping to place Cabrini-Green in the American consciousness, said Keith Magee, executive director of the National Housing Museum in Chicago.

Leaving Cabrini Green

Clayton Hauck for The Wall Street Journal

On Thursday, Annie Ricks is scheduled to be the last of 15,000 residents to move out of the Cabrini Green Housing Project.

In 1994, the federal government took control of the city's massive housing authority and began demolishing buildings. In 1999, the city launched a plan aimed at reintegrating public-housing residents back into the city through mixed-income developments, said Lewis Jordan, chief executive of the Chicago Public Housing Authority.

Ms. Ricks delayed her move by declining several offers to move to different projects before she finally accepted an apartment on Chicago's South Side.

"I'm not from the South Side," said Ms. Ricks as she packed 20 years of basketball trophies and clothing belonging to her 13 children into cardboard boxes. The Los Angeles Gospel Messengers sang "We Haven't Forgotten You," on the stereo. "For me, Cabrini is home."

Ms. Ricks, 52 years old, was born in Alabama and raised in Chicago. A rented house she lived in burned down in 1988, leaving her and her children homeless.

For two weeks, they lived in the waiting room of the Cook County Hospital, then floated between homes of friends and relatives.

After two years, the family landed a four-bedroom apartment in Cabrini on the fifth floor of a building with a view of the skyline. Ms. Ricks worked in a nearby school. Over the next two decades, her rent ranged between $3 and $300 a month.

Around her, the violence escalated. In 1992, a 7-year-old boy was shot dead as he walked to school. Five years later, a 9-year-old girl was blinded and brain-damaged in an attack, and left in a stairwell.

Ms. Ricks said her fear of homelessness outweighed her fear of the violence and she never considered moving. Raymond Ricks, her 19-year-old son, said the danger associated with the projects was exaggerated.

"Yeah, people got murdered," he said Wednesday. "But people get murdered everywhere."

Meanwhile, the neighborhoods around Cabrini gentrified. The grimy industrial yards along the Chicago River were rechristened with names like River North. Expensive retail shops opened.

And as the old high rises emptied, Cabrini-Green became more livable. "Now, it's quiet," Ms. Ricks said. "Real peaceful."

Six of her children still live with her and go to school; seven others are out on their own—none in public housing, said Latasha Ricks, a 29-year-old daughter who does drywall finishing. Annie Ricks said one of her sons was incarcerated. She said she didn't know why or for how long.

Over the years, she recalled days when she wouldn't let her children play outside at Cabrini-Green. But after a few early fights, they stayed safe.

"We knew everybody," she said. "And everybody knew us."

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glamrock View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:01pm
I am glad that that Cabrini-Green era is over. I hope that the murder rate on Chicago begins to go down as a result.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:02pm
RIP Cabrini.

Gone but never forgotten.   Smoking
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:02pm
I thought it was torn down a long time ago Confused. I hope the residents are in a better place.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:03pm
that was a terrible place to live.... whew.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:07pm
"Six of her children still live with her and go to school; seven others are out on their own—none in public housing"

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:08pm
Originally posted by Yardgirl Yardgirl wrote:

"Six of her children still live with her and go to school; seven others are out on their own—none in public housing"

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Although one is in jail.  Doesn't that count as some sort of "public housing"?  It's not like he's paying rent. Ermm
 
I'm not going to comment on the 13 kids though.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:10pm
Originally posted by Yardgirl Yardgirl wrote:

"Six of her children still live with her and go to school; seven others are out on their own—none in public housing"

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:11pm
Originally posted by ladymzlee ladymzlee wrote:

Originally posted by Yardgirl Yardgirl wrote:

"Six of her children still live with her and go to school; seven others are out on their own—none in public housing"

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2010 at 12:11pm
Originally posted by Nisha Nisha wrote:

RIP Cabrini.

Gone but never forgotten.   Smoking


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