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In Chicago's South Shore, transforming a neighborhood block-by-block

Transforming Chicago's South Shore neighborhood block by block
Transforming Chicago's South Shore neighborhood block by block 02:54

Tonya Trice has a lot of love for South Shore; she's lived here for 25 years and counting.

She likes to note that South Shore is one of the country's last African American communities on a lakefront.

"Look at this beautiful backdrop," Trice said. "Lake Michigan, right here."

Trice took the job as the executive director of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, tasked with breathing life back into the area. 

She views it as an opportunity to transform challenges into opportunities, focusing on changing South Shore block by block.

One example is the revitalization efforts on 71st Street, including the opening of a yoga studio next to several empty office spaces. Trice collaborates with the City of Chicago to fill those vacancies, securing training programs, grants, and other resources available for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

She helps them learn the business acumen necessary to start or grow their business, matching them with vacant retail spaces.

The point is to ensure money from the community is spent in the community, and she urges residents to spend their dollars locally.

"It helps to stabilize housing and employment in the community," Trice said.

Trice showcased the Jackson Park Highlands, a prominent and affluent South Shore subdivision designated a Chicago landmark. 

"It's about nine blocks of beautiful mini-mansions with great architectural distinctions," she said. 

She hopes that much of South Shore will become a lively neighborhood with opportunities and resources.

 "Will it take time? Yes. Has the work begun? Are we making progress? Absolutely."

Trice said the chamber plans on moving into an office in October to continue its work on the community. 

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