Barack Obama, Tiger Woods and a poor South Side Chicago neighborhood about to go boom.

Ever heard of Woodlawn?

Between 1960 and 2017, its population fell from roughly 81,000 to its current 23,700. 85% of the residents are African American.

The median age is 34. Household median income is $24,700. Just one-third of the population has a higher degree.

Although crime has receded, it’s 78% higher than the national avg. The unemployment rate is 14%.

It’s 2 sq. miles surrounded by Lake Michigan, an Ivy League university and murderous gangs like the Black Disciples, Mickey Cobras and the Almighty Black P Stones.

Woodlawn’s cycled in an out of disrepair for decades. It really wasn’t on any significant course for transformation until a few years ago.

That’s when the University of Chicago started buying vacant land in Woodlawn and extending its campus and associated schools into the area.

Then on July 29, 2016 the spark of all sparks was ignited.

Barrack Obama announced he’d be building his presidential library in Jackson Park on the east side of Woodlawn.

“I want you to recognize the degree to which that, once we get this thing done, this will be an international focal point. People from around the world will see this and it will be a symbol of excellence,” said Obama.

The Obama library is projected to generate $2.1 billion for the area.

Tiger Woods is building a golf course just down the street from the Obama library.

Intentions are for it to host a PGA tour event upon completion as well as business groups, players and tourists from around the world.

And while there’s been debate among the community about project specifics, to many the opportunity to bring much needed funding into the area is too hard to pass up.

Obama’s library and Wood’s golf course are both expected to be completed by 2020–2021.

Various developers have also initiated real estate projects in Woodlawn. These range from affordable, market-rate apartments to $500,000-plus single-family homes.

Redfin recently reported that between February and July of 2017, “Woodlawn had the third-highest increase in estimated home values compared to that of its metro area in the ENTIRE COUNTRY.”

Businesses are being encouraged back into the community with the help from groups like the Network of Woodlawn and its ‘1Woodlawn’ initiative. The network consists of more than 500 residents and community stakeholders.

It’s led by Dr. Byron Brazier, Pastor of the south side mega church, Apostolic Church of God.

African American families are moving back to Woodlawn. It’s growing for the first time in more than 15 years.

Woodlawn is getting its next chance at a lasting revival.

And it could potentially be one of the greatest transformations of any African American community in the history of our country.

Interested in being a part of Woodlawn’s growth? Contact Pastor Corey Brooks and see how you can donate to the Project H.O.OD. Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center. @CoreyBBrooks

Citizen Journalist

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