Historical District

Pilsen National Historic District: The Key to Pilsen’s Future


In 2005, the United States government found that Pilsen’s historic significance to the country merited a National Historic District designation.  Taking this distinction to the next level holds the key to the future of Pilsen as place where immigrants and workers will always find a home.

Gentrification, Pilsen’s Main Threat


For more than 50 years, gentrification has stalked Pilsen, a community only 15 minutes from Downtown Chicago.  Free-reign speculation, the disappearance of living wage jobs and affordable housing, coupled with restrictive immigration laws and lack of leadership, are threatening to discard Pilsen as a continuous first home to generations of new Americans.  
 
For at least as long, residents have relied on hard work and solidarity to resist removal.  Despite setbacks, their effort has managed to keep Pilsen open for workers, no matter their skill, income or language.  Their reward has been to inherit Pilsen, a neighborhood whose growth mirrors that of Chicago, and whose history holds a treasure to those who continue to make it a real community.  

Pilsen National Historic District: Jobs and Investment

 
The 2005 National Historic District designation makes a strong case for Pilsen as an immigrant, working class neighborhood relevant to the social and economic development of the United States.  However, the benefit is only symbolic is left on paper.

Our proposal expands on this designation by:

Developing a true historic district for economic development anchored on a Pilsen Museum and Cultural Center.  This space will be dedicated to the history of the community and to the contribution of immigrant workers to the building of Chicago and the of United States

Nurturing the creation of business opportunities dedicated to the further development of the Pilsen Historic District, including building preservation, heritage tourism and other initiatives

Would this help or hurt current neighbors and businesses?


Our plan encourages all Pilsen residents and their allies, not Downtown corporations, to participate directly in the planning and in the development.  It promotes the leveraging of public and private funds for concrete jobs for residents and a revenue stream for reinvestment on the present plan and affordable housing initiatives. Our proposal will:

  • Seek and incorporate the interests of immigrant, working class residents
  • Create Living Wage jobs 
  • Allocate resources to supporting affordable housing and caps on property tax assessments
  • Create consciousness about the contribution of immigrant workers to the building of the United States

How do we pay for this?  


The Pilsen TIF should pay for the Pilsen Historic District project.  TIF means that increases in property taxes (in Pilsen since 1998) go into a fund separate from the city’s budget to create jobs and promote community improvement.  Instead, Pilsen residents’ tax increases have subsidized wealthy corporations…

Chicago International Produce Market (2001).................. $9.5 million. 
The Steiner Corporation (2002)................................... $3.5 million.  
Target (2005)........................................................ $5.3 million. 

…And developers

Developers reimbursements (2008) ............................ $14.4 million 
Forgivable loans to developers (2008)......................... $22.1 million

Total to corporations and developers........................... $54.5 million

There were $47 million in the Pilsen TIF last year.  This money belongs to Pilsen.  The Pilsen Historic District is the perfect opportunity for the TIF to do what it was meant to do.

How do I get involved?  


Join the TIF Campaign for a Pilsen Historic District!

Sign the petition that will accompany our TIF proposal and help us get more supporters 

Make a contribution to the Pilsen Alliance today

Related News