Apart from the obvious attraction of the acres of green recreational space offered by the parks, West Humboldt Park is also bordered by Garfield Conservatory and the coming Bloomingdale Trail – a proposed two mile elevated, multi-use, linear park and trail. New educational institutions include Rowe Clark Math and Science Academy, the newly renovated state of the art Westinghouse High School and the Richard M. Daley Library. Hargrove Hospital recently completed a $25 million renovation of Garfield Hospital, providing both jobs for community residents and mental health services for troubled youth. Iconic local businesses include: Roeser’s Bakery, Jimmy’s Red Hots, Rosa’s Lounge blues club on Armitage, and Headlines Barbershop, along with newcomers on Chicago Avenue – Brother-In-Law Ribs and Turkey Chop Gourmet Grill – and Inspiration Kitchen on Lake Street. Residents also enjoy local festivals such as the yearly African Cultural Fest in Kells Park, now in its sixth year, and the Saturday West Humboldt Park Farmers Markets in the NHS parking lot at the corner of Chicago and Central Park, now in its fourth year.
NHS has had significant success rebuilding confidence in the northern section of the West Humboldt Park neighborhood (north of Division) through new homes and block organizing, leading to marked increases in property maintenance standards and homeownership rates. NHS has also created dramatic change in expanded “Super Blocks” in the neighborhood by integrating vacant building acquisition/rehab with a concentrated partnership with police and residents, resulting in highly visible block improvements. The City of Chicago Micro-Market Recovery Program (MMRP) is bringing additional resources to the table for transforming abandoned properties. Homeowners participate in the progress of their community through active involvement in CAPS meetings, Block Club Network meetings and block clubs, while also volunteering as NHS Block Ambassadors sharing information on housing-related resources with their neighbors. The new NHS “Sweep and Greet” initiative encourages neighbors to build interpersonal connections while beautifying their community during weekly block clean-ups. While even its most committed residents will admit that the West Humboldt Community has not yet overcome all of its challenges, it is still an affordable, diverse community with an eclectic mix of amenities.