Central Avenue the key for community organizers looking to revitalize the Austin area in Chicago

alt text By Maia McDonald, Environmental Health and Wellness Reporter, The Real Chi

In December 2018, the organization Austin Coming Together hosted a summit introducing its Austin Quality of Life Plan to the west-side Chicago community. During the last 20 months over 400 community residents and stakeholders as well as more than 50 organizations discussed ways to improve Austin, one of the largest communities in Chicago, culminating in the Quality of Life Plan.

The 70-page document details how ACT hopes to change the narrative about Austin and enact a number of changes it hopes will improve the lives of those who call Austin home. Beginning in March and continuing over the next five years ACT hopes work with residents and community organizations to create change and increase invest in Austin, a community ACT organizers feel lacks invest and support and is plagued with a image of crime and violence.

Central Avenue in Austin is a street that the plan focuses in multiple aspects. Several of the proposed changes in the plan are placed along Central Avenue or just off it. ACT Executive Director Darnell Shields went into detail about what makes Austin special, what the plan hopes to accomplish  and how in particular Central Avenue is key to shaping a new future for Austin.