A Pullman progress report

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This has been a very busy year so far for Pullman, with ceremonies, celebrations, tours, national competitions, and approval of and arrangements for new business developments and new construction.

By the end of 2018, the largest building in the Pullman National Monument Park will be the Whole Foods Retail Distribution Center building, at 140,000 square feet. As with many new projects in Pullman, the efforts of the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives have once again proven productive.

The building will be located just north of the Methods products planet-friendly soap factory, which is situated across from the Police Station on 111th Street. The new Whole Foods facility will replace a warehouse located in Munster. The Pullman warehouse will employ 150 people, and once those working in Munster decide to work in Pullman, as with Walmart a good percentage of the employees will come from the 60628 zip code.

Pullman Artspace Lofts, a mixed-use affordable live/work space for artists and their families, is being developed in partnership with Artspace Projects, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and PullmanArts. The lofts will be built on the unsightly vacant land on the east side of Langley from 111th to 112th Street.

All of the city approvals have been received, allowing the project to move forward toward the construction stage. The buildings will house 38 one- to three-bedroom units with rent specifically scaled for low-income artists and their families. The rents will range from $404 to $1,039 per unit.

The project is a $15 million investment for ArtSpace is a national organization based in Minneapolis. Artspace is a non-profit real estate developer for the arts with 39 projects in 17 different states. Its mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations.

There will be at least two new restaurants in Pullman by the spring of 2017, adding to the food choice of the outstanding Pullman Café, which opened in October of 2015. Construction on Chipotle and Potbelly outlets is expected to begin by the end of 2016.

Numerous other businesses are considering opening in Pullman, including a pizza restaurant and a hotel. The Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives is working hard to secure established companies to add to the economic growth and stability of the Pullman community and the other communities of the South Side.

In honor of the National Park’s 100th anniversary, a contest was held to determine which five national parks would be eligible to receive a grant of $250,000 for park improvements. Sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the contest was based on votes garnered from each park’s supporters. It ended on July 5 and was announced after this column went to press. Supporters of the Pullman National Monument have come through before, but we are the youngest and the smallest of the National Parks. I’ll be certain to post the information as soon as the voting is over and the results are printed.

If Pullman were to receive the $250,000 grant money, it would be used toward the development of the Administration Clock Tower National Monument’s development as a new visitor’s center.

The month of August will start with the 8th Annual Pullman Family Reunion in Arcade Park on Saturday, Aug. 6, from noon to 8 p.m. I’ve been attending since the first reunion and can genuinely attest to the fact that each year there are more people seeking their roots. Anything to do with Pullman, Roseland or Kensington isn’t just an event to attend. It’s always good to see who else will show up to help us relive the great experiences of our younger days.

There will be games and food and drink available for those that don’t want to pack a picnic meal. I always have Roseland memorabilia on display and there are others who bring their possessions to share.

Like most events involving Roselandites, conversation could easily begin with where did you go to school, or where did you live, or what was your parish. If you find a school in common but weren’t in the same class — a cousin or brother or sister will suffice to get the ball rolling.

After that, the conversation heads to all parts of Roseland, from sports, to hanging out, to cruising “The Ave” (Michigan Avenue), to the preferred pizza place — take your pick.

You might not know anyone when you arrive. But like any of the hundreds of other Roseland related events I’ve attended, never once has someone come to these events not knowing anyone — by the time they left!

I’d like to suggest you drive down to Pullman National Monument, park around the neighborhood and check out who’s there by walking the circle around Arcade Park. Ever since the second reunion picnic, people have showed up early and set up tables with food and drink and waited for friends to show up. They know they’re going to show up because they’ve spent the whole year talking about what a great time they’ve had and all the friends they were able to reconnect with. Show up! You all know me, so you can’t say you don’t anyone!

To contact me, write to 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com


About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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One comment

  1. Hi Jimmy. Just a short note. First of all hi and I hope all is well. I see that Tootsie passed. I don’t know when but I’m very sorry. What I want to ask you, if you ever get that book on Roseland written will you let this column know so I can order it. I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

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