Implementing Neighborhood Plans: Big Things Happen If You Just Step Forward

APA Illinois Chapter


Wednesday, September 13, 2017
3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

Add to My Log


Implementing Neighborhood Plans:  Big Things Happen If You Just Step Forward



Randall Blakey, Executive Director, Near North Unity Program

James Rudyk, Executive Director, Northwest Side Housing Center

Jessica Wobbekind, Program Director, Wicker Park Chamber of Commerce SSA #33


Scott Goldstein, Principal, Teska Associates, Inc.


With so many good ideas and excitement that built up during a neighborhood planning process, where does one start?  How do you prioritize, seek funding, and manage the day-to-day all at the same time, especially when the issues that drove the need for the plan in the first place are becoming more front and center each day?


Leaders from three recent neighborhood plans on Chicago’s North Side will share their insights.  While all three neighborhoods – Belmont Cragin, Near North and Wicker Park/Bucktown are facing issues such as rampant development pressure, a loss of affordable housing, and a need to support and attract local businesses, they each going about implementation based on the strategies that work best in their area.


Belmont Cragin is a northwest side neighborhood that is now 79% Latino and one of the few area where families can still buy a home, be close to jobs and have access to quality public elementary schools.  Recent successes have included securing a health care center and new fields at Steinmetz High School, attracting the first neighborhood location outside of Downtown for After School Matters and completing a housing study with UIC to focus in on meeting the need for affordable housing.  (see and


Near North Neighborhood is experiencing rapid growth of residential and mixed-use buildings in the midst of revitalization of the area surrounding the former Cabrini Green.  One of the top priorities in the plan was supporting Jenner Academy of the Arts.  After more than a year of facilitating community input, Chicago Public Schools recently approved the merger of Jenner and Ogden Elementary School, an overcrowded school serving the Gold Coast.  (See


Wicker Park Bucktown is experiencing rapid growth and working to retain and strengthen the arts scene and local entrepreneurs.  Within months of the plan’s release, the Chicago Department of Transportation embraced one of the major recommendations to undertake a pilot project to improve the Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection at the center of the neighborhoods. (See and


Learning Objectives:

1) How to prioritize projects and focus on getting smaller achievable projects completed while building support for larger projects;

2) Manage complex relationships between local organizations, the municipality and government agencies;

3) How to seek resources and partnerships to implement projects; and

4) How to keep community participation active during implementation.


Randall Blakey

Confirmed Speaker

Randall K. Blakey Executive Pastor, LaSalle Street Church - Executive Director, Near North Unity Program (NNUP) LaSalle Street Church Northwestern University Read More

Scott Goldstein, FAICP

Confirmed Speaker

Scott Goldstein, AICP is a principal with Teska Assocaites, Inc. Scott's work focuses on neighborhood planning, community and economic development and fiscal analysis. He has facilitated neighborhood plans in all areas of the City of Chicago from Belmont Cragin to Pullman and from Near North to Englewood. He has ... Read More

Jessica Wobbekind

Confirmed Speaker

Managing Director at Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce University of Illinois at Chicago Read More

James Rudyk

Confirmed Speaker

Experienced non-profit director responsible for growing and developing emerging non-profit organizations. As the Executive Director at the Northwest Side Housing Center, a 25 person organization with an annual operating budget of one million dollars, James is responsible for conducting annual strategic planning sessions, leading staff training and development, providing individual ... Read More

Contact Info

Trevor Dick,