According to DNAInfo, a Chicago conservation group has been working with the city on securing land on the South Side’s Washington Park for a park that would be anchored by one of Chicago’s oldest landmarked buildings.
Data from the city's Green Healthy Neighborhoods report cited in the DNAInfo report says Washington Park and nearby Englewood lost nearly 150,000 residents in 2010, resulting in 11,000 vacant lots, or more than 800 acres of vacant land. Openlands sees an opportunity to repurpose this land into productive spaces.
The park would be set around the Raber House, an Italianate home built in 1870 by Chicago businessman, real-estate developer, and politician John Raber. It was designated a Chicago landmark in 1996 and according to Landmarks Illinois, it’s the eighth oldest landmarked building in Chicago. The city owns the house, and it has fallen into disrepair over the years. Landmarks Illinois even included the Raber House on its 2007/08 Chicagoland Watchlist to call attention to the historic property.
Openlands is working with the city to secure 60 parcels for a park that would be set around the house at 5760 S. Lafayette Ave. There’s no timeline for the eight-acre park just yet.